Contributed by Scott R. Salemme, Regional CEO, American Red Cross, Columbia Region
As most of you are aware, Tropical Storm Isaac was elevated to a hurricane status this afternoon and is expected to make landfall tomorrow on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As Isaac continues to make its way toward the U.S., the full force of the Red Cross is being put into action to prepare for a multi-state disaster response.
Nationwide, the Red Cross has been preparing for Hurricane Isaac and has been mobilizing resources and manpower to potential risk areas since last Monday. We have been doing the same in the Columbia Region and have deployed 15 local volunteers to multiple states on the Gulf Coast and Florida. We anticipate that that number will continue to grow in the coming days and have additional volunteers and five emergency response vehicles on stand-by ready to help if needed.
Each one of these volunteers was requested because they have specific expertise and training that will help in our national response to Hurricane Isaac. We train our volunteers year-round to be ready at a moment’s notice to help when disasters strike in our backyard, as well as in areas around the country. Be proud of these folks that give their time and heart in serving others.
I would like to highlight one of our volunteers, Judy DelSignore who is from our Coastal South Carolina Chapter. Judy is responsible for training volunteers; in fact, she trained 240 volunteers in just one day in Tampa. Volunteers just like Judy have left their families and friends to help the Red Cross assist those in need.
Across multiple states along the Gulf, the Red Cross has launched a large disaster response as Isaac affects millions of lives with strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and coastal surges. Last night, nearly 800 people found a safe haven in 52 shelters open in five states. In addition, the Red Cross has mobilized 2,400 disaster workers, prepositioned 290,000 ready-to-eat meals and activated 187 emergency response vehicles from across the country to help. The Red Cross is also coordinating with multiple partners including a variety of civic groups, advocacy organizations, professional organizations and houses of worship to share their expertise and volunteers.
I am sure you can imagine the financial commitment all of this activity has placed on the Red Cross. As you can tell, the Red Cross is always busy – down the street, across the country and around the world. But in order to continue to be there when help can’t wait – we need your support. Please take a moment and help us help others through your financial support. Click here to make a financial donation today to support this disaster and future disasters.
Please click here for ongoing disaster response updates.