Erlanger and local churches ready to help Hurricane Florence evacuees
Crews in the Tennessee Valley are on standby to help people fleeing Hurricane Florence and anyone stuck in the hurricane's path.
Local churches are setting up pop-up shelters for evacuees and one of Erlanger's Life Force teams is ready to take off when needed.
"Medication, equipment we have on board the aircraft, because we need to be self-sufficient for 3-4 patients easily," Life Force program director Robbie Tester said.
A truck is packed with supplies for a Life Force helicopter at Erlanger and a crew is on standby ready to take off when the call for help comes in.
"We've done it before. We're experienced at it, and we're just really willing to go help other people because if we had a situation happen here we'd want people to come and help us," Tester said.
Life Force sent a crew in 2017 to Texas when Hurricane Harvey hit.
This year, one helicopter and a crew of seven will be going. They are just waiting for FEMA to tell them when.
Erlanger is sending one of about 30 helicopters to the Carolinas. The hospital will also serve as a spot to help any crews flying in from the west. Those crews can land at Erlanger if they need to refuel or if weather delays them.
While those crews are waiting to take-off to help, others are waiting to take people in.
Briarwood Baptist Church in Ringgold set up beds for anyone fleeing Florence and looking for a place to stay.
"We had a few things that we needed to house people,” said Emily Collins, who is organizing the effort. “And as soon as those needs were met our doors were open."
Air mattresses line the walls and donations were laid out on a table. They have prepared 15 beds and are ready to house more people if needed.
"If they need a shower, if they need their clothes washed, or just to lay down for a nap, or stay for the night, we're more than willing to help where we can. Anything we can do," urged Collins.