Local Red Cross volunteers continue prep to help tornado victims - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local Red Cross volunteers continue prep to help tornado victims

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As many people are recovering from severe weather, many firefighters, various law enforcement agencies and organizations have been going above and beyond to to help out. 

Among those organizations is the Southeast Tennessee American Red Cross chapter, who's disaster relief team has been helping with the tornado aftermath in McMinn, Sequatchie, and Polk counties. 

When these disasters hit the disaster relief workers set up an operation center to perform relief efforts efficiently. 

"We have people here who are doing logistics, mass care, client case work, public affairs, so there's a lot of different things going on at the same time," said Dawn Day, Mass Care Lead.

Several groups that have been busy planning relief efforts non-sop since an EF-2 tornado hit several Tennessee counties, leaving many people in desperate need of help and supplies. 

"We are focusing on bulk distribution, getting items out into the area like rakes an shovels and coolers, work gloves and trash bags. Just things that people need to be able to help clean up," Day said. 

Those items are part of the Red Cross' tornado relief comfort kits, which include basic personal supplies needed in the aftermath of a disaster, such as a toothbrush, deodorant and shampoo. Other emergency supplies could include tarps, rakes, shovels, and trash bags to help people clean up their homes and return to normalcy. 

Workers also help to provide shelter food for residents, conduct damage assessment of homes, and provide mental health support, including counseling for families impacted by storms and tips on self-care and how to cope with the aftermath. 

In another room at the Red Cross, Bill Hatherley, the assistant director of the planning team, which determines where disaster has hit and the exact damage it's caused. 

"We have to do it quickly and we have to get some preliminary information so that our leaders will know how big is it here, how many homes were effected, how many red cross volunteers do we need to bring in and staff to help us address the issues," said Hatherley. 

The planning team is also responsible for financial accounting, and information distribution, sending out  "situation reports" that help with action plans. 

Maps cover the teams walls marked with hard hit areas, including Deerfield Estates in McMinn County, where homes are destroyed and scattered from the tornado. 

Hatherley said when assessing damaged homes they are also able to provide repair assistance to homeowners following specific standards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

"Generally a destroyed home has to be bulldozed down and start over and then we have classifications in helping us determine how we can help those clients," said Hatherley.

Volunteers are also taking a truck out the hard hit areas and providing meals. 

Red Cross volunteers tell Channel 3 they rely on the help of valued partners like FEMA  and the community to meet the needs of those effected by a disaster, whenever they arise. 

If you'd like to help volunteers, help those in need, click here

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