Red Cross volunteers from CT preparing to help with hurricane relief efforts in Florida

CT Red Cross volunteers to help hurricane relief efforts in Florida
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) - Hurricane Ian is headed towards Florida and millions will be impacted.

As conditions worsen, volunteers from Connecticut are preparing to help out wherever needed.

Some disaster relief volunteers from Connecticut are already on the ground in Florida assisting with shelters.

Others will be flying out at the end of the week to help the hardest hit areas.

“Everything right now, it’s kind of chaotic, kinda hectic,” said Joshua Labbe.

Labbe is originally from Connecticut but now lives in Hudson, Florida.

His area isn’t far from Tampa, which Hurricane Ian could be hitting directly.

“The atmosphere right now, you can definitely tell you’re in a state of emergency. It’s hard to get gas right now. A lot of the gas stations are all either empty or are currently only selling a certain amount. Propane tanks are hard to get a hold of,” Labbe said.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in several areas, including Labbe’s. He’ll be staying put since he’s an essential worker.

“We went now we got a bunch of canned goods, bunch of dried goods just because we don’t know if we’re going to lose power for a certain amount of time. We know obviously will lose power, we just don’t know how long it will be for. So we’re also filling up ice bags and everything,” Labbe said.

As the storm rapidly strengthens, volunteers from Connecticut are getting ready to help. Five Red Cross volunteers from Connecticut and Rhode Island are already on the ground helping with shelters that are open.

“We have over a dozen volunteers that are ready to deploy and they will in fact have their flights by the end of the week, once we know what’s happening with the storm going through,” said Cheryl Engels, Disaster Action Team Member with the American Red Cross.

Hundreds of trained volunteers are prepared to help with relief efforts.

“Once the affected personnel are trying to get back to their homes, we help with their recovery so we have cleanup crews and assessment that occurs at that point,” said Engels.

People in the hurricane’s path are bracing for the worst.

“It’s definitely a little bit nerve wracking but we’re staying strong down here,” said Labbe.

The Red Cross said it also needs blood donations that can go to people in Florida.

If you want to give blood or donate, click here.