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Today marks only six days until the start of hurricane season. FEMA is working across the administration and with our state and local officials to be ready and earlier today I joined Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, NOAA Administrator Dr. Lubchenco, Bill Read of the National Hurricane Center and five FEMA regional administrators to brief President Obama about our continuing efforts.
FEMA has been in regular contact with Governors, congressional delegations, and emergency managers in coastal states to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any potential hurricane impacts.
FEMA, the states, and local governments all have important roles, but the bottom line is - we can only be as prepared as the public is prepared. The fact is FEMA is only part of the team. State, tribal and local offices, the private sector, faith-based groups, non-profits, and most importantly, the general public, all have a role to play as well.
Families and business in coastal communities all need to take steps now to prepare for hurricane season – but because no one is immune from emergencies, you should take these steps to increase your preparedness whether you live in a hurricane-prone area or not.
They include putting together a communications plan, getting an emergency kit, and staying informed and following the instructions of local officials. Ready.gov is a valuable source of information on preparedness, with links for business and children as well.
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FEMA also recently launched a mobile version of our website, which can be found at m.fema.gov, to give people quick access to the disaster information and tools on their smart phones.
This season there has also been a lot of questions on the BP oil spill. Our planning has certainly involved consideration of the effects that the BP oil spill could have on the response capabilities and recovery scenarios. But, the existence of the spill does not change FEMA’s initial priority during a response, which is to support the states and do everything possible to protect lives and property. And my message to the public is – whether or not we have an oil spill, if you have a major hurricane coming, you have to listen to the advice of your state and local officials, and if they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.
Hurricane season officially starts June 1st. So now’s the time to get ready – get a family communications plan, put together an emergency kit, and pay attention to announcements and instructions from local officials. Being prepared will go a long way toward keeping your family safe this summer.
For more information on how to how your family can become better prepared, visit www.ready.gov.
Craig Fugate is the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency