Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, The Today Show, 9/1/05:
What we can do and what we have done is get ourselves to the utmost level of preparedness.
One of the things that came out of 9/11 in 2001 was an increased focus on getting ourselves ready to deal with all kinds of catastrophes. And while nobody can ever be completely prepared for an event of this horrible magnitude, I’d say we’re much better prepared than we’ve ever been.
Knight Ridder, 9/1/05:
Being prepared for a disaster is basic emergency management, disaster experts say. For example, in the 1990s, in planning for a New Orleans nightmare scenario, the federal government figured it would pre-deploy nearby ships with pumps to remove water from the below-sea-level city and have hospital ships nearby, said James Lee Witt, who was FEMA director under President Clinton.
Federal officials said a hospital ship would leave from Baltimore on Friday.
“These things need to be planned and prepared for; it just doesn’t look like it was,” said Witt, a former Arkansas disaster chief who won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill during his tenure.
FEMA said some of its response teams were prepared.