Local Red Cross Deploys Resources to Florida Ahead of Tropical Storm Ian

“We’re looking at the storm coming up the eastern seaboard potentially. We have a strong leadership team here that is... already getting prepared for what may happen," the CEO of the Red Cross of the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region said. 

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People and resources from our area are heading south to respond to Tropical Storm Ian. Though it may be days before the storm makes landfall, it’s not too early to prepare.

The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers and blood donations, and the need for both can grow at times like this. They will also be deploying into the storm’s wake about 300 trained relief workers who will be poised to move in as soon as Ian moves out. Seven of the relief workers are from the Red Cross of the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake region.

“We wanna be just close enough to be able to get in there right away, but not too close that we’re putting our people in danger,” Dale Kunce, the CEO of the Red Cross of the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region, said. 

On Sunday, Kunce was preparing to fly out of Reagan National Airport to one of the staging areas in Florida, where he’ll meet up with the people and the material already there to respond. 

“We have lots of literally tractor-trailers, 50-foot trucks full of sheltering materials to help support folks who will be evacuating. We have blankets, and we have meals and water, all ready to go,” he said. 

They’ll also be carrying equipment to aid with recovery efforts if needed, like rakes, shovels and digging tools. And Kunce added that you don’t have to be deploying to be of vital assistance.

“You got a loved one down in Florida, start paying attention now. [Ask], what’s your plan? You need to have a kit,” he said. “You need to really stay informed.”

Loss of life, property and livelihood takes a toll on survivors, one that can’t be measured in statistics.

“So we have disaster mental health folks who are trained in trauma around disasters who are there to help you. They know how to have that conversation. They know what you’re going through. I promise you, this is not their first deployment,” Kunce said. 

For both Florida and the D.C. area, a good proactive measure would be to download the Red Cross app, which provides up-to-date information about conditions, shelters and communications. 

“We’re looking at the storm coming up the eastern seaboard potentially. We have a strong leadership team here that is ready and poised to go with shelter workers and leadership folks who are already getting prepared for what may happen,” Kunce said.

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