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WCNY Region Prepared for Disaster Response

Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle responding to a Tornado

The American Red Cross is supporting disasters from coast-to-coast. For three nearly three weeks, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been helping people affected by the devastating and historic flooding in Louisiana, and today, we are preparing to respond to the multiple storms threatening Florida and Hawaii. 

In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Hermine is headed toward Florida with as much as 10 inches of rain predicted. Red Cross workers and supplies are on standby to help if needed. 

Two Pacific hurricanes – Madeline and Lester – are expected to hit Hawaii over the next several days, bringing as much as 15 inches of rain and 75 mph winds to the Aloha State. The Red Cross has disaster workers and supplies on alert to respond, and 14 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters are currently open. 

In the 26-county Western and Central New York Region, all chapters are in an operational state to assure they are in a position to respond, locally if necessary as well as deploying to affected regions elsewhere if called upon. The protocol includes contacting government and community partners to coordinate responses, confirming shelter locations and capacity, and updating inventories of relief supplies such as cots, blankets comfort kits, clean-up kits and bottled water. 

The roster of staff and volunteers is being contacted to confirm availability in the days ahead. Some are just returning from Louisiana, where 44 volunteers from the region have been assisting with that effort. 


The last several weeks have kept Red Cross disaster volunteers busy. Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics Brad Kieserman says, “To date, the Red Cross has deployed more than 6,300 volunteers in less than two months, two-and-half-times the number called upon by this point in 2015. Plus, last year saw 24,000 volunteers deployed, with 2015 requiring more than triple the number of volunteers to respond to disasters than in any of the past three years.”


Those in the path of the storms should prepare now. The Red Cross has three steps people can follow - build a kit, make a plan and be informed. An emergency kit should include a gallon of water per person, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. Remember family members with special medical needs and plan how you will care for your pets. 


Another resource for download is the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of hurricanes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The app includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to 


The Red Cross needs your support to help people affected by disasters big and small. People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small. You can help by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.