Groups across the Tennessee Valley are heading out ahead of Hurricane Dorian. Wayne Scarbrough of the Athens Utility Board says it’s what they do when called.

"When you have a natural disaster like this they reach out to utilities in the region and say 'hey can you help, do you have available crews that can come help?'” he said.

Many groups are called in by aid partnerships with other states, and each plays a different role. For the AUB and the Sequatchee Valley Electrical Co-op, it's all about keeping the lights on.

"Without the power system operational, in any size community, emergency response is always hampered to an extent and also quality of life,” Scarbrough said.

Other groups are doing their part too. Life Care of Tennessee sent three buses out to help seniors on the coast. Hamilton County EMS and the Red Cross have volunteers in Florida. And volunteers are focused on pets, as well as people.

"We really want to make sure that we get shelters in those areas clear so animals in that area have a home,” Mindy Kolin of McKamey Animal Center said.

McKamey sent two crews to partner shelters in Georgia. They’ve picked up about 80 animals so far, hoping to make space for ones displaced by the storm. With shelters packed in the summer, people in Chattanooga can help too. Kolin says fostering a McKamey animal for about 2 weeks is a great way to contribute.

The efforts aren’t ending as Hurricane Dorian looms closer. The Red Cross has two more volunteers ready to head out tomorrow morning, going wherever they’re needed the most.