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Federal Government Prepared for Hurricane Season


Senior Officials Stress Individual Preparedness - Demonstrate Improvements.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Administrator David Paulison of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spoke at a Hurricane Awareness Day event on the federal government’s preparations for the 2008 Hurricane Season. He was joined by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff and other senior leaders from government and the private sector - all of whom spoke on the joint activities being planned this year and their efforts to improve coordination when helping communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from hurricanes.

FEMA Administrator Paulison stressed that individuals also must prepare themselves for a Hurricane. “Americans in hurricane-prone states must get serious and be prepared,” said Paulison. “Government - even with the federal, tribal, state and local governments working perfectly in sync - is not the entire answer. Everyone is part of the emergency management process. We must continue to develop a culture of preparedness in America in which every American takes personal responsibility for his or her own emergency preparedness.”

Paulison spoke during an event at FEMA’s national headquarters that featured demonstrations of reforms and improvements being implemented for this year’s hurricane season. The event highlighted FEMA’s new equipment, on-line resources and new programs.

Paulison and other FEMA officials highlighted recent reforms at FEMA. This year, FEMA has teams standing by to be on the ground within hours of a storm or other disaster striking. FEMA has worked with vulnerable states to identify where they will most need support - one size does not fit all and any response will be tailored to individual state needs. FEMA has improved its logistics to better get the supplies and resources to a disaster site more quickly than in the past. Earlier this year, FEMA released the new National Response Framework that will help coordinate activities at every level of government, as well as with the private sector.

FEMA has improved its ability to deliver assistance. FEMA is focused on providing assistance in an easily accessible and coordinated manner through simple and effective delivery mechanisms. FEMA expanded its capability to register those in need of aid and to have mobile registration centers that can be on hand to help those without access to phones or computers. FEMA continues to work with federal, state, and voluntary partners to build a robust system for evacuation, sheltering and housing, including our collaboration with the American Red Cross to implement the National Shelter System. FEMA established a National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System and a National Emergency Child Locator Center to help those displaced find their loved ones. FEMA instituted a new policy to help those with pets.

Experts at the event also demonstrated equipment used by the National Guard, DHS and a rescue boat used by the U.S. Coast Guard. Other participants in emergency management explained new and improved capabilities that will be used this year by government agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Virginia-based Urban Search & Rescue Task Force, as well as volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Humane Society.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism.


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