Southeast Minnesota Red Cross chapter gears up to help Florence - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Southeast Minnesota Red Cross chapter gears up to help Florence relief

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Hurricane Florence has made landfall and is now downgraded to a Tropical Storm.

Authorities are still warning that the threat is still very real as powerful winds and severe flooding affect the area.

American Red Cross Southeast Minnesota is gearing up to jump into action to help with Florence relief efforts.

Right now, volunteers are on standby, but that could change at any point.

Currently, there are about 2,000 Red Cross volunteers from across the country that are in the Carolinas - or heading there to help. 48 of those volunteers are from Minnesota. 

The Southeast Minnesota chapter has not received deployment orders yet, but their emergency response vehicles are are on standby.

Once they receive those orders, they will know when and where they will be going. They can be on the road in as little as 15 minutes.

Packed with food and snacks, one Emergency Response Vehicle can feed about 350 people and is operated by 3 to 4 volunteers.

Although the deployment time can change, volunteers are typically committed for two weeks.

Donald Whited has been volunteering with Red Cross for about eight years.

"They like to take people within a 500 mile radius of the disaster and get those people in first," Whited said. "And then when they need they'll bring in from different states, different areas." 

Red Cross anticipates a need for about 1,000 more volunteers for Florence. 

Whited adds that younger adult volunteers are particularly needed.

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