FLINT (WJRT) - (09/14/18) - A group of American Red Cross volunteers from Mid-Michigan were already in the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence, and more are waiting to be deployed, according to chapter officials in Flint.
But the American Red Cross East Central Bay Chapter has had their hands full right here in Michigan.
Officials say 18 volunteers are still helping people affected by tornadoes that touched down in the western part of the state on August 28.
"Right now we feel like a couple of elastic bands. We have a couple of our people assigned to Grand Rapids still," said Dick Beauchamp, government liaison for the chapter.
Not only are they called on to assist in disasters in 10 Mid-Michigan counties, but everywhere else, too. Right now, that means North and South Carolina. 55 Michigan Red Cross volunteers are there.
"We have five people already deployed that are on the ground. We have two people en route with our emergency response vehicle. We have four more emergency response vehicles on standby with drivers just waiting to see where the greatest need is," Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp says responding to a hurricane like Florence, which is wreaking havoc in the Carolinas, presents different challenges than responding to any other natural disaster.
"A tornado is over when it's over. I mean it's here and it's gone and the damage is there, whereas a hurricane goes on and on and on, and it just gets worse," Beauchamp said.
For just a few hours of training you can become a volunteer. A tour of duty is typically two weeks. Right now there's a great need for licensed mental health and health services professionals.
"If you're local just come down here we'd love to talk to you love to meet you," Beauchamp said.
You can find them at 1401 South Grand Traverse Street in Flint or call 810-232-1401 for more information.