Transcript: Hurricane Sandy press briefing Q&A on public health concerns

Transcript: Hurricane Sandy press briefing Q&A on public health concerns on Oct. 30, 2012:

What are the public health concerns that you might have at this point in the aftermath of the storm? What are the things you’re worried about the most?

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate:
With public health, that’s pretty much a wide-range – really right now, we’re still focusing on life safety issues as well as hospitals and nursing home facilities. Our lead agency for coordinating that function is Health and Human Services.

Center for Disease Control had already – they had already moved disaster medical assistance teams and other resources into the area.

But again, we have to recognize that Governors and the locals oftentimes have rather robust capabilities so we are supporting them.

I think right now the primary thing is making sure that major health care systems are coming back online.

And then in the aftermath, probably the more important thing for the general public is to not to add to the disaster because of the risk of injuries. Unfortunately, I’ve been doing this too long and I’ve oftentimes have found that the storm itself is deadly as they can be, the recovery oftentimes results in more deaths from accidents and injuries that occur during recovery activities.

And that will again continue to stress the health care system as it tries to recover.

And again, we’re working with the states as they’re dealing with all the issues. But the public can do a lot by really being cautious during this recovery phase and understand even though the storm may be passing or may be improving in some areas the danger may still exist.


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