In a Friday morning statement, President Obama said that the emergency support system was in place and ready for Hurricane Irene. He confirmed that all indications pointed to the hurricane being one of historic proportions.
In a message issued at 11:38 a.m. Eastern time, the president reported that he had convened a conference call with senior members of the administration’s emergency response team. He also said he had spoken this morning with governors and mayors of major metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard to coordinate preparedness plans.
“Since last weekend, FEMA has been deploying its Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas in communities up and down the coast,” said the president, who also reported that FEMA has millions of liters of water, millions of meals, and tens of thousands of cots and blankets, along with other supplies, prepositioned along the Eastern Seaboard.
Obama said the American Red Cross has already begun preparing shelters in North Carolina and other states.
“These resources are all being coordinated with our state and local partners, and they stand ready to be deployed as necessary.”
The administration is urging residents and businesses in the path to evacuate if instructed to do so.
“It's going to take time for first responders to begin rescue operations and to get the resources we’ve prepositioned to people in need,” said the president. “So the more you can do to be prepared now – making a plan, make a supply kit, know your evacuation route, follow instructions of your local officials – the quicker we can focus our resources after the storm on those who need help the most.”