DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Volunteers from the Miami Valley are getting ready to respond once Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida.
The American Red Cross and Ohio Task Force one are already positioned in or near Florida. They’re staged to be out of harm’s way, but are still ready to respond quickly after the hurricane hits.
“At this stage of the game, there’s a lot of flexibility that’s involved,” American Red Cross Regional Communications Director for Central & Southern Ohio Marita Salkowski said.
The Red Cross started moving in supplies and hundreds of volunteers last week, including eight from the Central and Southern Ohio region.
Right now, they’re setting up evacuation shelters, putting in preparations and waiting for the storm to hit.
“If we waited until the hurricane made landfall, how long it would take to get those people into place, so this way we have people staged,” Salkowski said. “They’re ready to go, and it’s only a matter of couple of hours before we get to that devastation zone.”
The Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team (DRT), which is based outside of Huber Heights, is preparing to help in Florida.
“We go in and set up a relief effort,” Churches of Christ DRT Executive Director Laura Cremeans said.
For weeks, DRT volunteers have been helping people rebuild after the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky. Now they’ll have to shift their attention to another disaster.
“We will still be working with the families in Kentucky as far as purchasing material for them, we just won’t be actually set up there once they’re in Florida,” Cremeans said.
So far the team’s made arrangements for a place to stay through a congregation located in Florida. Once needed, they can help distribute supplies and help with clean up and rebuilding.
Depending on the storm’s impact, the DRT may put out a call to the Miami Valley to help donate supplies.
“We’re just kind of holding on for right now until we know exactly exactly what is needed,” Cremeans said.
Ohio Task Force 1 left Saturday. Now stationed in Alabama, they’re ready to go to the area’s hardest hit by Ian.
“The team from Ohio is prepared,” OH-TF1 Task Force Leader Adam Landis said. “We’re ready to go to work and we hope there’s not too much damage, but if there is, we’re ready to assist.”
OH-TF1 anticipates they’ll move closer to the impact zone Wednesday. Right now, they’re focused on training, planning, and watching the forecast.
“Going through our equipment, checking and double checking everything,” Landis said. “There’s a lot of training and a lot of different topics in preparation for the types of issues that will run it to.”
Response is coming from other parts of the Miami Valley as well.
AES Ohio is sending 16 crews Wednesday to Georgia to support power restoration efforts.
Matthew 25: Ministries based near Cincinnati has deployed assessment team to Florida.