The American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee has joined Red Cross chapters across the eastern United States preparing for Hurricane Irene.
The regional chapter’s Emergency Response Vehicle and two local volunteers were deployed to Richmond, Va., Wednesday morning as part of the work to position response teams and equipment ahead of the storm.
With Irene expected to make landfall somewhere along the East Coast late this week, the Red Cross is positioning its feeding trucks, disaster supplies, workers and shelters near areas likely to be impacted. Glenda Bobalik, executive director of the regional Red Cross chapter based in Kingsport, said more local volunteers and staff members are preparing for possible deployment within the next few days.
The Red Cross is urging residents along Irene’s projected path to finalize their storm preparations now and to familiarize themselves with the Red Cross Safe and Well website www.redcross.org/safeandwell. The website, which allows people impacted by the storm to communicate their status to loved ones, is accessible by smart phone and can also be updated by facebook and Twitter.
Information can be relayed to the website by calling 800-733-2767. A free Red Cross shelter finder application is available at the Apple iTunes store.
Red Cross workers are already responding to areas impacted by Irene in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic Red Cross evacuated residents ahead of the storm and provided emergency shelters for those affected. The Bahamas Red Cross is coordinating with the national emergency office to initiate preparedness activities. The Turks and Caicos Red Cross has volunteers ready to assist.
And in Haiti, where many victims of last year’s earthquake are still living in camps, disaster preparedness activities are ongoing, camp committees have been notified and emergency response teams are on alert.
On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year.
To help support Red Cross disaster efforts, donations to American Red Cross Disaster Relief may be made at www.redcrossnetn.org, by calling 800-733-2767, by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or by mail to American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, 501 S. Wilcox Drive, Kingsport, TN 37660.