FEMA chief speaks to ABC News about Hurricane Florence

FEMA Administrator Brock Long talks with ABC News' Maryalice Parks as Hurricane Florence plows toward the U.S.
4:00 | 09/13/18

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Transcript for FEMA chief speaks to ABC News about Hurricane Florence
And of course. Local residents and the Red Cross not the only ones preparing for this the government has plenty of preparations underway as well are on merry Alex parks. Is at the FEMA operations and Mary outs what what's it like there right now. Yeah were at the nerve center for the federal government's response. As you said the people here in this room remind us that all of initial response begins at the local level but once local governments in cities. Ask for help but the people in this room want to make sure that help is there in particular I'm joined by the FEMA administrator Brock long. Describe for me why is going on behind as I've seen people from basically every federal agency I can think. Writes that this is the national response coordination center and morals been administrator is to bring together and coordinate the entire firepower the federal government to make sure that we can go to at a meeting governor's response and recovery needs. And ultimately narcissus won't get all the way down to the incident level at a local level. And what you see behind this is how we organize planning logistics. Masking or so for example the row behind us is right now they're totally focused on supporting the shelter mission. Once the storm passes they'll flip over and start focusing more on how we help people recover. Over a round that back corner I saw. Men and women working on naps can geospatial maps and he told me that those maps help them figure out where to pre position should re sources how have you guys tried to prepositioning resources and is that still being decided and were down. So a lot of people prepositioning is really done because what we have to do right now the the the storm is starting to encroach the waters arising. The rains starting to fall so what we have to do is everything that we pre positioned particularly are people get a ticket take care of them. But we constantly assess on where we think the grays search are going to be. We use social media trending we use real time data becomes and to be able to mobilize very quickly. And while we're gonna mobilize first is this search and rescue efforts. Particularly to the areas that have been hardest hit by the storm surge once we can get in. So that's what we're doing. How does this hurricane differ from other hurricanes and how are your response differ from last year. Well I'll take what makes it similar the the Carolina coast this is a typical tool you know Carolina. A typical. Damaging hurricane because what they're doing is wallets downgrading. That that the wind speeds downgrading its still a very dangerous storm because that was the winds are expanding as it falls apart. The problem with the winds coming down you know it's good that the winds are coming down but the storm surge forecast is still the same. So what you're gonna see is the ocean is starting to rise now not only along the coast but in the back main inland areas. And those those wind bands that are coming in are pumping and holding water back in his back pain in one area so that when the brunt of the storm pushes through you can see a lot of coastal flooding. And I would say that this storm is very similar to kind of accommodation between Hugo and in 1989 Floyd and 1990. I ask you the president creating a political storm himself he said that what the response Maria wasn't on sunk success and this morning. Treating and denying and an arguing with reports about the death told there do you think the response to Marie it was an unsung success. Look I believe that the these people worked around the clock and a 100% and a Puerto Rico and we kept Puerto Rico from complete and total collapse. No doubt about it. What we have to do now is how to we rebuild Puerto Rico they picked the conversation needs to beer how you rebuild the commonwealth. In a more economically and resilient faction. And not only that but what we have to do is build an arm of emergency managers at the local and commonwealth leveled the did not exist before the storm so. Thank you administrator rod I really appreciate you joining us this response craze in center will be up and running I imagine through the weekend. I've been noting these red jacket that all of them are wearing they have their title and agency on the backs of people even know who they're talking to Diane marry us parts from the field operations said Eric thanks for the inside look house.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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