Red Cross Volunteers Spread Thin

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Volunteers from Southern Oregon are making their way to the danger, hoping to keep East Coast residents safe. While the span of the storm is hitting the East Coast and Midwest, the affects are being seen all the way here on the West Coast.

More than a dozen Red Cross Volunteers across Oregon are manning shelters as it picks up. On Friday, 16 Red Cross volunteers across Oregon boarded a flight and headed toward New Jersey. Among those volunteers, two are from Southern Oregon. As the eye of the storm passes through, Red Cross volunteers are ramping up their efforts, making do with what they have.

“We’re actually running this with probably less than 10 volunteers total we have volunteers up in registry and people checking in on security, taking care of all of the clients 24 hours a day. It is hectic,” explained Red Cross Service Associate, Jerry Hall.

Red Cross cannot send more man-power to help out because of canceled flights. One volunteer from Klamath Falls said volunteers are setting up at Cumberland County College.

“We have cots set up for approximately 200 people, and if need be we can set up another building for another 2 to 300,” Hall said.

Jerry Hall also said the storm is bringing in challenges for them. Electricity went out earlier in the afternoon.

“Luckily, one of the reasons we have these shelters at colleges they have back up power, they’re working off of generators,” Hall explained.

Once the eye of the storm passes, the volunteers’ job is far from over: Red Cross is anticipating major flooding.

“The high tides hitting he beaches and surges there but inland, all of this rain is going to be headed back to the rivers and streams, there’s just some major flooding concerns,” said Hall.

But more help is on its way.

“They’re certainly on overload right now, they’re going to tire out. So, this is when the second wave will go in to relieve them,” Red Cross Readiness Specialist Antone Hernandez, “And with a major operation like this, I anticipate 3 or 4 waves going in.”

Hall also said most of the people seeking shelter at the college are those who are trying to avoid the winds from the storm. Salvation Army is also helping Red Cross providing food.