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Multiple Red Cross Teams Driving Emergency Response Vehicles to South Carolina

Local Volunteers Joining Massive Relief Operation along East Coast

STATEWIDE (October 6th) – On Friday morning, two teams from the American Red Cross in Maine will be driving to South Carolina to assist in the massive relief effort as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the southeast coast.  Both teams are comprised of Red Cross volunteers who will be driving Maine’s Emergency Response Vehicles to South Carolina to distribute bottled water, snacks and supply kits.  

Departing from Bangor at 11:00am, Kendra Atwood (of Norridgewock) and Bill Thomas (of Woodland) will be leaving the Red Cross in Maine offices at 145 Exchange Street.

Departing from Lewiston at 10:00am, Joyce Baron (of Athens) and Todd Tisdale (of Farmington) will be leaving the Red Cross in Maine office at 475 Pleasant Street.

Kendra Atwood is a seven-year volunteer with the organization who will be traveling to South Carolina on her first deployment. She is a certified Red Cross instructor who teaches CPR, First-Aid and Automated External Defibrillator classes, as well as serving as a Disaster Action Team Leader in Somerset County.  Bill Thomas is a nine-year volunteer with the organization who has been deployed to disaster incidents, including Flint, Michigan, Superstorm Sandy and flooding in South Carolina.

Most recently, Joyce Baron drove one of Maine’s Emergency Response Vehicles to Louisiana to assist those impacted by the devastating flooding in the region.  Todd Tisdale is three-year volunteer with the organization and has previously been deployed to Texas and Louisiana.

In addition to shelters, the Red Cross has more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles ready to help in the affected states and more help is standing by. The Red Cross has also prepositioned more than 30 trailer loads of shelter supplies, ready-to-eat meals, clean-up and comfort kits. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the storm and working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to make sure people get the help they need

Currently, five Red Cross in Maine volunteers have been deployed to the affected states, Darlene Helms (of Hampden), Alyson Finn (of Portland), Ron Martel (of Biddeford), Yvette Lizotte (of Norway) and Larry Aufiero (of Cumberland).

** INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE **

WHAT: Joyce Baron & Todd Tisdale Depart in Emergency Response Vehicle from Lewiston
DATE: Friday, October 7th 
TIME: 10:00AM
LOCATION: Parking lot of 475 Pleasant Street in Lewiston, Maine

WHAT: Kendra Atwood & Bill Thomas Depart in Emergency Response Vehicle from Bangor
DATE: Friday, October 7th
TIME: 11:00AM
LOCATION: Parking lot of 145 Exchange Street in Bangor, Maine 

NOTE: Around 1:30PM, Kendra & Bill will stop at the Portland Headquarters at 2401 Congress Street to pick up a few items and are available for interviews.

BLOOD DRIVE CANCELLATIONS CLIMB: Red Cross blood drive cancellations have more than doubled in the past 24 hours as the storm nears. Already, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 30 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia and South Carolina resulting in nearly 1,200 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. Dozens of additional blood drive cancellations are possible along the southern East Coast depending on the path and impact of the storm.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in demand. If donation centers are forced to close over the next few days, the Red Cross is at risk of being unable to collect more than 100 additional platelet donations.

We strongly encourage eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to please give blood or platelets to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP: Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts, preparedness information and shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

HURRICANE SAFETY: People living in the path of the hurricane should listen to local officials and obey any evacuation orders. Other safety steps include:
• Know your evacuation route.
• Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
• Close doors, windows and hurricane shutters. If someone doesn’t have shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
• Fill the car’s gas tank.
• Avoid flooded roads and bridges. Turn around, don’t drown.

MAKE A DONATION: The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn’t maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.

Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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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. Learn more at MaineRedCross.org, on Twitter (ARC_Maine), or Facebook (American Red Cross of Maine).