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National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®

Emergency Preparedness - Risk-based Assessments

Post-9/11 and Post Katrina Forum

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff addressed a standing room only group of over 400 law enforcement personnel and "first-responders" gathered to hear his keynote address on disaster preparedness which was held at Hofstra's University's Monroe Lecture Center Theater.

Secretary Chertoff stressed that "…we must be ready" and that a "threat can come from anywhere. It can come from overseas or homegrown. It can come in an airplane. But it can also come from a Ryder truck." Chertoff stressed that the federal government has to be prepared for whatever disaster may come.

Secretary Chertoff shared the lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina disaster and what local governments can do to plan for hurricanes or other natural disasters. He stated that local and state governments were essential partners in preparing for disasters, calling them the "first responders" when a natural disaster strikes. A question and answer period followed.

The forum also featured a panel moderated by Executive Dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®, Richard V. Guardino, Jr., and consisting of U.S. Representative Peter T. King, Chairman of the House Committee of Homeland Security, State Sen. Michael Balboni, Chairman of the N.Y.S. Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, Assistant Chief John Colgan, Commanding Officer of the NYC Police Department Counter-Terrorism Division, and Timothy Driscoll, Deputy Nassau County Executive, Law Enforcement and Public Safety. Representative King, Senator Balboni, Assistant Chief Colgan and Deputy NC Executive Driscoll all contributed valuable information about what was being developed to prepare for disasters including investigating creating emergency shelters in the event of a Category 3 hurricane, improving communications technology, ensuring coordination among jurisdictions and agencies and identifying vulnerable populations, among other things.