Rhode Island Red Cross volunteer in Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian

Dozens of Southern New England volunteers are on standby for storm cleanup

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — While many have evacuated Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall in the Sunshine State, thousands of volunteers from across the country have traveled down south to prepare for the storm and the aftermath.

Jerry Blitefield from Warren traveled with the Red Cross on Sunday to Orlando to help with preparations.

This storm is Blitefield’s first crisis response effort, stationed in temporary shelters for evacuees to stay at when the storm hits.

“I think I can provide some stability and some peace of mind for some people who may be anxious about what’s going on to their families or to their homes out there,” Blitefield said.

He said the time between now and when the storm hits is a waiting game. Volunteers are on standby to see where the hardest hit areas are and that’s what dictates where they are stationed.

When Red Cross volunteers travel on a crisis response mission, they pledge help for two weeks. After that period, they can assess if they want to stay longer.

Click here to see active evacuation orders in Florida.

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