WASHINGTON, DC (WWAY) — With hurricane season now underway, local and state officials met with President Obama Wednesday to brief him on emergency plans for our state.
WWAY was the only Wilmington news outlet at the Withe House to talk with the leaders who took part in the meeting.
The meeting on the first day of hurricane season focused on making sure local, state and federal officials were on the same page in case disaster strikes.
“You never know when one of these storms is actually going to make landfall, and a hurricane of course is such a major event, even compared to the horrible tornadoes we’ve already suffered,” US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
Along with the Napolitano, the hurricane preparedness briefing with President Obama at the White House included FEMA, the Red Cross and North Carolina leaders. Gov. Bev Perdue says the team from the Tar Heel State was invited to our nation’s capital because the state is ready.
“Our system works, and that’s what we talked to the president about,” Perdue said. “We are part of this federal team, but we are smart enough as a state to have a state team ready to go, and we practice, practice, practice.”
Among the governor’s team of experts was New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Warren Lee. He agrees with the governor that our state is ready. He says in our area a lot is being done to raise awareness, especially among new residents and visitors.
“We have extensive outreach efforts to make sure all of our lodging facilities are well educated and they have brochures and pamphlets about evacuation routes and what to expect during a hurricane,” Lee said.
Although the state is prepared are you?
“If you are in a hurricane prone area do you have your plan?” Napolitano said. “Are you ready? Do you know what to do?”
It was a question echoed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
“Know what to do if a hurricane warning is issued and local officials call for an evacuation,” he said.
Gov. Perdue tried to underscore the seriousness of being prepared.
“People need to take this seriously,” she said. “We live in Hurricane Alley. Hear me: this is really not a good place to live in the middle of hurricane season, although North Carolina is the best state in America. Get ready.”
The bottom line is to make sure that you and your family are prepared in case a storm hits. If you do not have a hurricane plan you find more information online at http://www.fema.gov or http://www.disasterassistance.gov.