With Hurricane Earl moving up the East Coast and expected to arrive in New England by tonight, FEMA is taking aggressive actions to coordinate with Northeastern states as they prepare for possible severe weather. Initial reports from our teams in North Carolina and Virginia indicate that the storm passed close to them without causing the level of damage that it could have, but we still don’t know what Earl’s impact will be in the Northeast United States. Earl is still a potentially dangerous storm, and it’s important for residents in the region to continue to take this storm seriously and to get ready.
Yesterday, our Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, who has 35 years of emergency management experience in Massachusetts, deployed to Boston to oversee our preparation and response efforts. FEMA teams have been on the ground since earlier this week along the East Coast, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine to work directly with and support state and local officials. We also have teams on standby in New York and New Jersey, ready to help if needed. We have pre-positioned commodities for rapid delivery in Massachusetts, including water, meals, tarps, and generators, and at the direction of President Obama we are bringing together all of our federal partners to ensure a swift and effective response if needed. Our goal throughout all of these efforts is simple – we want to do everything we can to keep our residents and communities safe, and prevent the loss of life and property.
I have been briefing President Obama regularly as we have prepared for Hurricane Earl, and last night he signed a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration for Massachusetts, making federal funds available to support Governor Patrick’s efforts to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Earl and save lives and protect property. President Obama’s message has been clear throughout our preparations—prepare for the worst.
If you live along the East Coast, especially in the Northeast, it is important that you keep yourself informed about any developments with Hurricane Earl and follow the instructions of your local officials, including any calls for evacuations. If you are a resident or visitor returning to an evacuated region in North Carolina, please be careful and watch for downed power lines, flooded roads, and other potential hazards. And no matter where you are on the eastern seaboard, please be careful in the water this weekend and follow any local guidance regarding surf conditions and water safety.
FEMA is not the team – we’re only part of the team. The most important part of the nation’s emergency management team is you, the public, and working together we can ensure that this is a safe holiday weekend. By taking steps to prepare, you’re doing more than just helping yourself and your family – you’re also helping relieve the burden on your local first responders, making your entire community more safe and secure. If you haven’t already, visit Ready.gov or m.fema.gov from your mobile device and learn how you can take these steps to get prepared now. For information and resources related to Hurricane Earl you can visit www.fema.gov/hurricanes or the website of your state or local emergency manager.
Craig Fugate is the Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency