Address on Hurricane Sandy After ERT Briefings
delivered 29 October 2012, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Hello, everybody. I just received a full briefing from our emergency response teams, including FEMA, and agencies that are going to be helpful in the response and recovery efforts -- the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Obviously, everybody is
aware at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm.
And all across the Eastern seaboard, I think everybody is taking the
So the most important message that I have for the public right now is, please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Do not delay. Donít pause; donít question the instructions that are being given, because this is a serious storm and it could potentially have fatal consequence if people havenít acted quickly.
The good news is, is that the governors and local officials I think have had a few days of preparation. There's been extraordinarily close coordination between state, federal, and local governments. And so weíre confident that the assets are prepositioned for an effective response in the aftermath of the storm.
But keep in mind that for
folks who are not following instructions, if you are not evacuating when
youíve been asked to evacuate, youíre putting first responders at
danger. Weíre going to have to have search-and-rescue teams in and
around multiple states all at the same time. And although weíve got
Coast Guard and the Department of Defense all positioned, if the public
is not following instructions, that makes it more dangerous for people
and it means that we could have fatalities that could have been avoided.
Let me summarize just by saying that Iím extraordinarily grateful for the cooperation of our state and local officials. The conversations that Iíve had with all the governors indicate that at this point there are no unmet needs. I think everybody is taking this very seriously. Weíve gotten prepositioned all the resources that we need.
But right now, the key is to make sure that the public is following instructions. For those of you who still need additional information about how to respond, you can go to Ready.gov -- thatís Ready.gov. And that website should provide you with all the information that your family needs in terms of how you can prepare for this storm.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who are potentially affected. We are extraordinarily grateful for our first responders, because theyíre going to be working 24/7 around the clock, non-stop. And I want to make sure that our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who may end up be dealing with a very difficult situation over the next several days.
Last point Iíll make, though -- this is going to be a big storm. Itís going to be a difficult storm. The great thing about America is when we go through tough times like this we all pull together. We look out for our friends. We look out for our neighbors. And we set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness. And thatís exactly what I anticipate is going to happen here.
So I want to thank all the federal teams, state and local teams that are in place. Iím confident that weíre ready. But I think the public needs to prepare for the fact that this is going to take a long time for us to clean up. The good news is we will clean up and we will get through this.
Question: What about the impact on the election, sir?
President Obama: I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. Iím worried about the impact on families, and Iím worried about the impact on our first responders. Iím worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation.
The election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency, and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.
Thank you, everybody.
Text & Audio Source:WhiteHouse.gov
Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement
Copyright Status: Text and Audio = Public domain.