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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate answer questions from members of the media as part of a tour of hurricane response and recovery centers in Florida. Photo: Greig Powers/FEMA.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit Florida with our new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator, Craig Fugate, to assess firsthand the preparations underway for the beginning of hurricane season on June 1st.

Preparing for hurricanes – or any disaster, for that matter – is one of our highest priorities at the Department of Homeland Security. Over the past few months, we have worked very closely with our state, local, and tribal partners to ensure we are in a strong position to support their efforts should a major disaster strike that requires federal assistance.

In Florida, Craig and I visited Lake Mary, just outside Orlando, where FEMA operates a response and recovery center and toured a FEMA logistics warehouse in Orlando that plays a critical role in staging and moving supplies and commodities during emergencies.

We also met with state and local leaders in Miami and toured Department of Homeland Security operations at the Port of Miami, where the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection all work together to protect port operations and prevent the entry of illegal drugs, migrants, and counterfeit goods.

Our trip to Florida follows our teleconference last week with governors from across the country to discuss hurricane season. Our message was clear and simple: we are preparing for this year’s hurricane season and we stand ready to support our state, local, and tribal partners should they need assistance. (updated 5/29/09 9:30am)

At FEMA and across the Department, we have worked hard to improve preparedness in three main areas:
  • We are better organized. We have a new National Shelter System that contains information for thousands of emergency shelter resources nationwide. This will allow us to provide temporary sheltering assistance faster and in a more orderly fashion.

  • We are better coordinated. We have coordinated regional evacuation and emergency communication plans with our state, local, tribal, and private sector partners, and have secured more options for temporary housing in the event of a disaster.

  • We are better connected. We frequently host video teleconferences among federal, state and local leaders so that we all can share new information and best practices and work together to improve preparedness and identify any gaps in our planning.
Preparedness is a shared responsibility among the Department, our federal, state and local partners, the private sectors, and individuals across the country. Thank you for doing your part to prepare for the upcoming Hurricane season and everything you do to protect our nation everyday.

Janet Napolitano

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5 Comments:

  • Being part of TSA - we all across the country are gearing up for hurricane season.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 29, 2009 10:18 AM  

  • Dear Secretary Napolitano,
    I am curious as to any mention of the First Responder Light/Structure Occupancy Signal in your discussion of Emergency Preparedness and Response with President Obama and Administrator Fugate. I would expect that by now you would be fully informed of this new product idea and plan that would provide unprecedented situational awareness in disasters of all kinds. We as a society must do everything possible to prepare for and respond to disasters. I shouldn’t have to point out recent history in order to convince you that any advantage for our citizenry and the great men and women whose job and duty it is to protect them would be well worth it. The undeniable truth is that if the FRL/SOS is not being seriously considered as a ‘first step’ measure, then efforts in terms of preparedness and response fall woefully short of optimization. In light of the amount of money being spent in this administration, it would be abhorrent to suggest that there was not enough funding to implement a plan that would save lives and create new jobs. I will continue to press forward with this plan until it is accepted; I am sending correspondence to Administrator Fugate immediately as I have with all other pertinent principals. It is my understanding that this post will be reviewed ‘prior’ to and I advise the screener to give this information directly to you; since it is unlikely to pass the test of worldwide dissemination. Please understand that I am diligently trying to advance a smarter plan as an answer to what I can do for my Country. It would be a welcome, change to have my leaders answer me.
    R S

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 31, 2009 1:20 PM  

  • This post is a good impetus for taking proactive measures against these calamities. The hurricane seasons seems to shift it time and geographical scope.

    By Anonymous equity trading, At June 3, 2009 4:33 PM  

  • Please consider the efficacy and practicality of the FRL/SOS as hurricane season quickly approaches. When installed, it could greatly enhance the ability of first responders to locate and respond to those in greatest need thus allowing them to service greater numbers in a shorter period to time. The technology is there. The price is right. It would aid all in the path of potential disaster.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 17, 2009 7:54 PM  

  • Hurricane made economic problems and security problems.And Many people damaged by hurricane.Solutions can find only with technology for hurricane.

    By Anonymous is fikirleri, At November 2, 2009 3:28 PM  

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