Central Texas Red Cross on standby as Hurricane Matthew nears Florida

American Red Cross vehicle. (KXAN Photo/Natalie Ferrari)
American Red Cross vehicle. (KXAN Photo/Natalie Ferrari)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hurricane Matthew has remained a strong, major hurricane for five consecutive days as of Wednesday evening. After impacts in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, Florida is on track for a potential impact by Hurricane Matthew.

This has prompted the American Red Cross to monitor the situation closely and have plenty of volunteers and resources on standby across the southeastern United States.

“We are making sure that our staff and volunteers are trained on what they’ll need to do, specifically sheltering in many cases,” says Bristel Minsker, the Communications Director for the American Red Cross Central and South Texas region. “And we also have caches of supplies that are stationed all up and down the east coast.” Minsker also tells us that hurricane preparations are made long before the threat for landfall arrives.

Depending on the nature or scale of disaster, the American Red cross issues “call downs” where volunteers that have been trained in some of the highly needed skills are contacted, in order to secure their availability.

“As soon as we know what the impacts are, and as soon as it’s safe for our volunteers to get out into the community and begin delivering services, they can do that as quickly as possible,” says Minsker.

While Texas may be free and clear from Hurricane Matthew, the American Red Cross of Central/South Texas is prepared to send volunteers to impacted areas.

“It’s very common that we will deploy folks in depending the size of the disaster,” says Minsker. “We sent dozens of volunteers to Louisiana for these most recent floods that happened in Baton Rouge, and we’re certainly ready to send volunteers to Florida or any of the east coast states if that’s needed.”

Minsker also stresses for people to stay informed on what disasters or impacts could affect our local community, so that we can all be prepared. The American Red Cross also offers an emergency app that can be downloaded for free.

You can find out more about what our regional American Red Cross does and how you can become a volunteer at their website: American Red Cross Central & South Texas Region.

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