Martin Bashir   |  August 25, 2011

FEMA Chief: 'Take time to get ready'

FEMA Chief Craig Fugate tells msnbc's Martin Bashir his organization, along with state and local officials, are preparing for Irene's aftermath, and urges those in the hurricane's path to prepare ahead of its arrival.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and long before this storm hits, fema, the federal emergency management agency , moves into preparedness mode. the head of fema is craig fugate, and he joins us live from the headquarters. good afternoon.

>> good afternoon, sir.

>> have you spoken to the president today and if you have, what has he asked of you and fema?

>> well, we did speak to the president and secretary napolitano and what we were doing in review, and in support, and the president wants us to stay engaged and working with the governors and the teams so that this morning's briefing was to give him the situation awareness in his direction to us to continue working hard to support our states as they get ready for hurricanes.

>> and did he suggest at all that he might cut short his vacation, come back to washington sooner?

>> you know, we didn't discuss that, because we were mainly talking about the steps that the federal government is taking in supporting the governors in what bryan pointing out a wide area of of impact from the carolinas moving up through the mid-atlantic and into the new england states.

>> what kind of preparations then is fema making? because we know that you have established initial staging position along the east coast and what precisely does that mean?

>> well, based on the previous hurricanes some of the things that are needed are generators and meals and water to support areas heavily impact and tarps and other supplies so we began moving these days ago to get ready and as the storm continues to move up the coast, we will have supplies ahead of time. we are not doing it by ourselves, because the state and the local and private sector are getting ready. what we want the public sector to do is to take steps for you and your family to be safe. the carolinas are evacuating and we expect more evacuations to be required up the east coast , but take time now to get ready and go to to make sure you have the powers that you need, because if the power goes out and the roads are flooded, the best place may be to stay home and not go out to get supplies. have them already.

>> and a final question, because you know from the hurricane katrina and indeed your predecessor, didn't have the best of experience. are you satisfied and can you reassure the public that this time around fema is as ready and as prepared as it can be?

>> well, you know, i will let history deal with history, but i'm working right now to get readier for the storm, but this is a shared responsibility and those who can, prepare to best of your abilities so we can focus on the heaviest hit areas and the most vulnerable citizens and our commitment to be there to support the state and local governments , but the public has a responsibility to take the steps to get yourself and your family ready and after the storm hits, check on the neighbors, because we need everybody to work as a team, as big as this storm is going to be.

>> indeed, fema administrator craig fugate, and all of the best as you fight this storm and prepare.

>> thank you.