Countrywide Support Headed to Carolinas as Residents Brace for Florence

Dozens of first responders from Maryland are being deployed to South Carolina to await the arrival of Hurricane Florence.  Eighty members from the Montgomery County Fire Department's Task Force 1 departed this morning in a caravan that includes tractor trailers, support vehicles, six boats and six K9 units.  They are part of the urban search and rescue team who assist in building collapses and swift-water rescues.  

Several New Jersey police departments are on standby and ready to help the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall.  Little Egg Harbor Chief of Police Richard Buzby says cops are eager to help.  Highwater trucks and humvees are available, as are supplies like generators and gas cans, should the state decide to send additional first responders to the affected region.  Already 80 volunteers have headed south, with more ready as well.  Several officials with local departments mentioned a desire to help, given the assistance New Jersey received following Superstorm Sandy. 

Governor Cuomo is sending the National Guard to help respond to areas that will be hit by Hurricane Florence.  New York is deploying 50 airmen out of a base in Westhampton Beach to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where some will leave as early as this afternoon to help the Carolinas and Virginia .  The New York Army National Guard is also ready to send heavy lift helicopters and two Blackhawk medical evacuation choppers when needed. New York City has also sent specially trained members of the NYPD and FDNY to respond to any search and rescue efforts needed. 

Two of the Mississippi National Guard's heavy-lift helicopters will assist in hurricane recovery operations on the east coast. Those crews are from Meridian. Some other Mississippi National Guard personnel will be stationed at an Air Force base in Florida which will be coordinating hurricane relief operations. And a dozen American Red Cross workers are leaving Mississippi to help in the states that Florence will hit.

American Red Cross volunteers from west Michigan and other parts of the state are on their way to North and South Carolina to prepare for Hurricane Florence.  Tiffany Page is the executive director of the American Red Cross Grand Rapids chapter and says work is already underway to get shelters ready.  She says overall, 30 volunteers from Michigan have been dispatched, and says anyone wanting to help can donate money or sign up for training to be a volunteer for the next hurricane season.

Volunteers from Arizona are headed to the East Coast in advance of Hurricane Florence.  Red Cross regional CEO  Kurt Kroemer says volunteers will be helping people affected by the storm by providing shelter and food, as well as providing health care.  Kroemer says the Red Cross will be there as long as they're needed. 

Dogs and cats are being evacuated from Norfolk, Virginia and making their way to shelters in DC as Hurricane Florence threatens the region.  More than 20 cats and dogs have arrived at Humane Rescue Alliance's shelter from Norfolk Animal Care and Control.  The animals will be available for adoption in a few days after medical exams.  HRA is encouraging adoptions so they can make room for incoming animals who may be displaced by the storm.

Source:  Metro News

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