Disaster relief preparedness before Hurricane Ian

The American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia and Caring 4 Others are preparing for the first one to two days after the storm makes landfall in the United States

ATLANTA — Nonprofits and disaster relief teams spent much of the weekend developing plans to help Florida, Georgia and other southeastern states once the hurricane Ian made landfall.

The American Red Cross of Georgia and Caring 4 Others, Inc. are focusing on the first 24-48 hours after the storm passes. The two organizations call that first day or two the most crucial time to provide people with shelter, food and other supplies.

president of caring about others Eslene Richmond-Shockley said they have already spent days preparing for each situation.

“Planning and gathering the products, placing them to be loaded so that wherever they arrive, we can get to that place with much-needed help that they need at that time,” Richmond-Shockley said.

American Red Cross Northwest Georgia Executive Director Carla Maton said teams across the country spent much of the weekend discussing where to pre-position volunteers and contact local governments to discuss emergency shelter and evacuation.

“For any areas that are receiving a direct impact, families can’t be in their homes, we will have emergency shelters that we can set up. And then we will also open emergency evacuation shelters, so if Georgia needs to take in Floridians who need to evacuate, we can be ready to house those families,” Maton said.

Richmond-Shockley and his team spent much of Monday readying trucks with immediate disaster relief supplies

“Shovel and rakes and cleaners and all that. It’s gloves and tarps and all that kind of stuff,” she said.

caring about others plans to deploy their convoy the first day or two after Ian lands, focusing first on Florida, then switching to Georgia support depending on the storm’s path.

Both Richmond-Shockley and Maton are seasoned professionals in leading and responding to large-scale natural disasters.

I’ve been doing this since 2005 with hurricane Katrina,” Richmond-Shockley said. .”

Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers are already pre-positioned in Florida, with Maton preparing herself to go into direct response mode.

“I’m going down to Macon. We are moving some of our staff to South Georgia just to be pre-positioned and a bit closer to our local officials there so we can be in tune with the next steps there,” Maton said.

The two nonprofit leaders said that once their organizations meet people’s basic needs in the early days, they can move into long-term assistance and other types of assistance. They may need to bring in additional volunteers and bring in more supplies.

But just as the storm’s path continues to change, so will their response efforts to reach as many people as possible.

“The storm is still so unpredictable,” Maton said.

Both organizations encourage check their websites and download their apps for real-time information on assistance, emergency shelter, volunteer opportunities, and supply information.

And some additional advice from the Red Cross. Based on his experience, Maton said the main things people forget when they have to evacuate are medications, pet food and important documents.

Maton said to take preparing an emergency kit seriously, so you won’t be without potentially life-saving supplies later.

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