(Update: Adding video, comment from Crowell)
As Hurricane Dorian gains strength in the Atlantic and heads toward likely landfall in Florida, the American Red Cross Cascades Region, serving Oregon and Southwest Washington, is deploying 15 volunteers, including a Bend man, to assist in the massive response effort.
That number could increase in the days to come as the impact of the hurricane becomes clearer, officials said Friday.
While the exact path of Dorian is still uncertain,19 million people live in areas that could be impacted and as many as 50,000 people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina may need emergency shelter.
The Red Cross is mobilizing hundreds of trained volunteers, emergency response vehicles and more than 30 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies to help people in the path of Hurricane Dorian.
The Red Cross has also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm over the upcoming days.
Fifteen Red Cross disaster responders, including Jack Crowell of Bend, and other volunteers from Beaverton, Boring, Eugene, Garibaldi, Gold Beach, Grants Pass, Hillsboro, Portland and Silverton, Oregon, and Vancouver and Goldendale , Washington, are making their way to the region.
“One of the tenets of the Red Cross is to alleviate human suffering, and I’m able to do it,” Crowell said Friday before heading to the airport. ” I’m able to provide assistance and help to those who need it, and it’s a very rewarding experience. ”
In coordination with government and community partners, Red Crossers are preparing strategic shelter and warehouse locations and stocking food, cots, blankets and other relief supplies to help people affected by the hurricane.
In order to be ready to assist in the relief efforts related to disasters like this, the local Red Cross Cascades Region is always looking for volunteer disaster responders. People interested in volunteering for the Red Cross as a disaster responder are encouraged to visit redcross.org/volunteer for more information.
CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES
The Red Cross has two ways to help you reconnect with loved ones. The free Red Cross Safe and Well website allows people to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done on the website or by texting SAFE to 78876.
The Red Cross Emergency App “I’m Safe” button allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way. The Emergency App is in English and Spanish and is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
MAKE A DONATION Help people affected by Hurricane Dorian. Your donation enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Call 1-800-RED CROSS, visit RedCross.org or text ‘ REDCROSS ‘ to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Cascades or visit us on Twitter at @ RedCrossCasc .