Eight local American Red Cross volunteers are deploying to support Red Cross relief efforts ahead of Hurricane Dorian making landfall in the U.S.
The volunteers — Wayne Dailey, Steven Thomas, Cheryl McKenzie, Dave Llewellyn, Arthur Hopkins, Hugo Adams, Ginny Brezza and Millie Rios — are from Mystic, Danbury, Ansonia, East Haddam, Niantic, West Hartford, Woodbury and Granby. They’re expected to deploy to Florida in support of the Red Cross efforts on the ground.
In the coming days, the Red Cross will likely deploy more responders, depending on the storm track and severity.
Currently, the hurricane is expected to hit Florida on Sunday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the National Hurricane Center in Miami where he got a full briefing on the impending hurricane. The governor initially issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in 26 counties across Florida on Wednesday. On Thursday, he expanded the state of emergency.
“Due to Hurricane Dorian’s uncertain projected path, I am expanding the state of emergency to include all 67 counties throughout Florida,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.“All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts. As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.”
Expanding the state of emergency, DeSantis said, allows state and local government “ample time, resources and flexibility” to prepare for the storm to hit land.
The hurricane is expected to strengthen into a dangerous Category 4 storm during the weekend before it hits the Atlantic coast.
Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that it appears the hurricane will hit Florida late Sunday night.
“Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest,” Trump wrote.
The Red Cross said they’re preparing to help tens of thousands of people in the path of Hurricane Dorian as the storm strengthens and is aimed at the southeast coast of the United States.
Although the storm’s exact path is uncertain, 19 million people live in the areas that are expected to be impacted. And as many as 50,000 people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina might be in need of emergency shelter once the storm hits.
The Red Cross said the agency is working with community partners and emergency responders to prepare evacuation centers for thouse who might need to seek shelter during the Labor Day weekend.
“We are mobilizing hundreds of trained volunteers, emergency response vehicles and more than 30 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies to help people in the path of Hurricane Dorian,” American Red Cross said. “The Red Cross has also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many of our hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm over the upcoming days.”
Those who might be in the path of the hurricane are urged to be prepared before it makes landfall and keep an eye on local news for the latest updates, Red Cross said.
Residents in the storm’s path should check or prepare an emergency kit, fill their vehicle’s gas tank and plan an evacuation route. Those with pets should ensure they have plans to bring them along, including compiling a list of pet-friendly hotels along their evacuation route as needed.
Those in the path of the storm should also be sure their home’s windows are covered with plywood or storm shutters and any outside items are stored safely, especially in the event of high winds.
To help those who will be affected by the storm, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations allow the red cross to provide food, shelter, relief supplies and more to those impacted.