Local Red Cross readies volunteers for hurricane season

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hurricane season is just a few weeks away, and it's never too early to start getting ready.

The Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross isn't wasting any time making sure volunteers are trained and ready to deploy to a disaster-struck area if needed.

"Right now our main effort is to check on availability of our volunteers," said Pat Shea, chief executive director of the local chapter. "We have a lot of experience in north Florida in regards to storm response."

"In our disaster cycle we are constantly either preparing or responding or recovering from a disaster, and right now we're in a preparing stage," Shea added.

Aside from getting volunteers ready, Shea is also reminding people what they can do to prepare, including putting together an emergency hurricane kit. It should be able to provide for three days for each family member.

Some of the recommended items are:

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Nonperishable and easy-to-prepare food
  • Medications
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Pet supplies, including food, collar, leash and any medicines needed

Shea said it's important for each family to have a plan ready before a hurricane comes.

"You have to think ahead before the crisis what your response is going to be -- in my case, what am I going to do with my family as a I respond to a hurricane?" Shea said. "Are they going to be part of a shelter group or go somewhere else."

The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers, especially during hurricane season. Shea said the Northeast Florida Chapter always wants to make sure it has plenty of ready and willing people to respond.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, go to the Red Cross' website.

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