Locally, volunteers from the Northeast Indiana American Red Cross have made their way south to help ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Two left yesterday, and another two set out this morning for the staging area in Charleston, West Virginia.
Clayton Martin has been a Northeast Indiana American Red Cross volunteer for the past 10 years. This is his 24th deployment.
“You always expect the worst. And you always prepare yourself for the worst, because when you do get out there, there are sights that you see that take your breath away,” says Clayton.
Tuesday morning, Clayton and Pete Kos packed up the Emergency Response Vehicle, or the ERV, ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Clayton enlisted Pete 5 years ago to start volunteering at the Red Cross. This isn’t his 1st deployment, either.
“Well, I’m usually always ready. You kind of have your stuff partially packed, and when you get the call, you finish packing, and you head out,” says Pete.
Clayton and Pete are heading out to Charleston, West Virginia, known as the staging area.
This is where hundreds of ERVs from across the U.S. gather before a hurricane makes landfall.
“Then where it hits the most or where the people need us the most, they start deploying the ERVs to go there, and the kitchens to get food, and supplies, to get to the people as quickly as possible. That’s why we try to leave early, so we’re closer to the hurricane so we can get to the people quicker,” says Clayton.
The Northeast Indiana Red Cross says the next two weeks will be the highest number of volunteers deploying, about 30 volunteers. After that, the number will depend on the response needed, but they expect to help for at least the next two months.
Clayton and Pete will be deployed for at least the next 14 days, and will focus on feeding people who need help the most.
“You can be in one place on day, and then the following day they give you a call and they say “I want you 100 miles away, 200 miles away.” and you get in the ERV and go there,” says Clayton.
NewsChannel 15 also reached out to Indiana Michigan Power. They say they have 200 employees and contractors on standby from Indiana and Michigan to help when needed.