SARASOTA, Florida – A Spokane-based Red Cross volunteer was deployed to Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday.
John Jonckers is one of 500 volunteers helping with relief efforts. He is a registered nurse and Red Cross Health Services associate.
“Rain and wind. It would just come up in gusts. You have a lot of volunteers in the state, but a lot of them on a disaster this size come from other states, other regions,” said Jonckers. “And so they’re not familiar with all the hazards and the way things occur. They’re trying to keep everybody safe. Clients and staff and trying to help them manage at this time because it’s unusual for everybody.”
Jonckers said, as of Friday morning, he still has not arrived on location because the weather is too dangerous to send relief help.
The Red Cross has already set up 84 evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. That number is expected to grow. There are also 90 response vehicles standing by, while 30 trailers full of supplies and meals are already in place.
The storm is hitting the east side of Cape Canaveral, which has seen lots of damage from the hurricane.
Jonckers said he has not yet seen much of the damage, but that is because the Red Cross wants to make sure it safe enough so their volunteers can actually provide help.
Volunteers in the staff center are waiting for their next instructions.
If you are interested in helping those affected by the storm, you can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief.
Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can also text “Red Cross” to 90999 to make a 410 donation.