Local Red Cross ready to assist in Hurricane Florence response

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Western Massachusetts volunteers are getting involved in the Hurricane Florence response.

Even though Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall hundreds of miles from the Pioneer Valley, local organizations and companies are ready to help.

While Massachusetts is expecting no direct impacts from Hurricane Florence, western Massachusetts is getting involved. The Springfield chapter of the American Red Cross is deploying nine members of its disaster response team.

Volunteers are already on their way to help with everything from setting up shelters, to providing financial assistance.

Three emergency response vehicles have been activated, filled and are ready to go wherever they’re needed once they get the call.

“They are trained to do a multitude of things,” said Jen Garutti, executive director at Red Cross of Springfield. “There could be a shelter, there could be a feeding person that works the feeding, there’s inventory because everything gets counted and provided at the shelter when the shelter opens. Cots; set up and clean cots.”

Eversource Energy is also ready to help. But the power company’s first priority is Springfield.

“We have to look and see are our customers protected, do we have enough crews to make sure our customers are going to be safe and sound?” asked Priscilla Ress of Eversource. “Then we evaluate and see how many teams are they asking for; how many teams can we safely send.”

Ress told 22News Eversource crews have dealt with every kind of weather situation, so they’re well prepared for it and when they get the call to go to the Carolinas.

Help is on the way from western Massachusetts, but where exactly it will be needed remains to be seen.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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