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Federal Officials Get Ready For Hurricane Season

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal disaster officials say when it comes to preparing for hurricanes, they're redoubling efforts to close gaps, but say they can't do it all.

The officials warn that any disaster preparation hinges on whether the public is ready when a storm or other natural disaster appears on the horizon.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (neh-pahl-ih-TAN'-oh) says her department and FEMA are stepping up efforts to fill gaps, and they want the public to prepare as well.

The Bush administration and FEMA were widely criticized after 2005's Hurricane Katrina when they showed up late and unprepared. The government's disaster response functions have since been strengthened and reorganized.

The 2009 hurricane season begins June 1. Forecasters say it should be less active than last year, when there were 16 named storms, including eight hurricanes.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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