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“Most of the Work Takes Place Before a Hurricane Hits”

As we mentioned earlier today, the administration has been working hard on a coordinated effort to prepare for hurricane season. This afternoon, the President met with FEMA at the National Response Coordination Center to discuss hurricane preparedness. The President stated that he had no greater responsibility than the safety of the American people, and emphasized the importance of planning in ensuring that safety:
Our top priority is ensuring the public safety. That means appropriate sheltering in place, or, if necessary, getting as many people as possible out of harm’s way prior to landfall. But most of the work, as you would hear from these individual agencies, most of the work takes place before a hurricane hits. True preparedness means having federal and state and local governments all coordinating effectively, and as you just heard, one of the most important things we can do is make sure the families have prepared appropriately.

The President is briefed on Hurricane Preparation(President Barack Obama confers with Homeland Security adviser John Brennan at the conclusion of a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA headquarters in Washington Friday, May 29, 2009.  At left is Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate briefed the President on preparedness efforts and the seasonal forecast for the 2009 hurricane season. Fugate echoed the President’s statements about the importance of preparation before a hurricane strikes:
Preparing before a hurricane strikes lays the groundwork for a successful response and recovery, and we urge every American living in a hurricane-prone area to take the steps necessary to keep their families safe. Today’s briefing allowed President Obama to hear firsthand our plans and preparations to support state and local governments during hurricane season.