Hundreds of American Red Cross volunteers from across the country are in Florida as the state deals with the impact of Hurricane Ian and at least five of them are from the Central Coast.
Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross Taylor Poisall told KSBY: “We sent a lot of our volunteers on Sunday when we started seeing the reports of the hurricane so that they could get there before the storm hit. And then so we have these hundreds of shelters open.”
People can donate to the American Red Cross here. Many of the volunteers will be assisting in shelters while others will be distributing emergency supplies and food.
They work 12-hour shifts and for the next few weeks, the volunteers will focus on immediate needs like food, water, shelter, and emotional support.
“In Florida, they, unfortunately, they're very experienced in hurricanes. So they are able to have that list of available shelters. And then we also have trailers and other warehouses stocked full of supplies, cots, blankets, toiletries so that we can move them all and have them stationed throughout the area,” Poisall added.
While some of the shelters in the states are supported by the government or local churches, the Red Cross provides resources and supplies to almost all of them. The Red Cross also hosts blood drives to send Type O blood to areas affected by life-threatening emergencies like Hurricane Ian.
The Red Cross said they do not typically service hospitals in Florida and they are sending those products, but it can take three days to process the blood.
The organization encourages people who are not impacted by Hurricane Ian and Fiona to donate blood now. People can find blood drive locations here.
“We will kind of learn more as the days go by. But we're as the Red Cross planning through the holidays because of how big this hurricane is going to be and thousands of people that it's going to impact,” Poisall explained.
To get involved, people can train as volunteers or donate to the Red Cross. There is no donation goal set just yet for the hurricane since the organization does not yet know how significant the aftermath will be.