the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President’s Briefing Ahead of the 2014 Hurricane Season

Today at FEMA Headquarters, the President convened a meeting with members of his response team to receive an update on efforts to prepare communities for extreme weather events and other climate change impacts ahead of the 2014 hurricane season. Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, led the meeting. NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan briefed the President on the upcoming hurricane season, which starts Sunday, June 1st. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reviewed progress on the federal government’s efforts to prepare for and capacity to respond to severe storms.

In particular, the conversation focused on technology innovations and mobile applications developed by Federal, State, and local agencies that will better inform and involve the public in preparedness and response activities. National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb presented NOAA’s new storm surge map, which will make public alerts of flooding threats easier to understand. The Department of Energy showcased their new “Lantern Live” app, which will help people in areas affected by severe storms identify electrical outages and locate open gas stations. Other presenters included representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Orange County, Florida, who provided overviews of their mobile apps that assist residents before, during and after emergency situations. These applications help users develop their own emergency plans, receive emergency alerts, and access critical information including evacuation routes, shelter locations, and ice and water distribution points. The President thanked the State of Virginia and Orange County, Florida for their initiative in developing tools to help prepare and engage their communities.

Earlier this month, the Administration released the third National Climate Assessment, the most comprehensive scientific report of its kind. The assessment confirms that climate change is affecting every region of the United States, with impacts including increasingly frequent extreme weather.  In anticipation of more severe weather during this summer season, the President expects his team to take all necessary steps to prepare for hurricanes, wildfires, and other catastrophes. Today’s briefing joins a series of briefings on wildfires and other extreme weather impacts. These responsibilities include developing and deploying cutting-edge technologies. Additionally, the President directed his team to maintain close coordination with our state, local, tribal and private sector partners and apply the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms.

Earlier this week, DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas and Administrator Fugate participated in calls with emergency managers and representatives from Hurricane-prone states and territories to discuss preparedness efforts, as well as to ensure coordination with federal, state, local, and tribal partners leading in to this year’s hurricane season. Disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility.  President Obama also urges the American people to talk with their families about emergencies, to study their evacuation zone, and to follow the direction of state and local officials if an evacuation is ordered for their area. To learn more about preparing for emergencies and how to protect yourself and your family during severe weather, visit Ready.gov. Please also be alert to weather updates through NOAA Weather Radio and their local news organizations.

Participants in the briefing included:
  • Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
  • John Podesta, Counselor to the President
  • Anita Decker Breckenridge, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations
  • Todd Park, Assistant to the President and Chief Technology Officer
  • Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
  • Robert Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy
  • Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President
  • Rand Beers, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security
  • Kathy Sullivan, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Rick Knabb, Director, National Hurricane Center
  • Joseph Nimmich, Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, FEMA
  • Tammy Dickinson, Principal Assistant Director for Environment and Energy, OSTP
  • Derek Frempong, Presidential Innovation Fellow, DOE
  • Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Jeff Stern, State Coordinator, Virginia Department of Emergency Management
  • Teresa Jacobs, Mayor of Orange County, Florida

Rafael Mena, Chief Information Officer, Orange County, Florida