Red Cross volunteers from Mid-Michigan ready to deploy to Alabama tornado zone

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FLINT (WJRT) (3/12/2019) - Four people from across the state have made their way down to Alabama to help with the recovery efforts, following the March 3rd tornado.

Amy Meister, the Executive Director of the American Red Cross's East Central Bay region in mid-Michigan said the four are focused on disaster assessment.

"Which means they go into neighborhoods, they canvas neighborhoods, make sure everybody is being serviced and that they have what they need - food and if they need shelter or medical treatment," she explained. "They'll go out with our fire departments and other community partners in the neighborhood."

They're also rating homes to determine if they're a total loss or if the damage can be taken care of.

Meister said their teams stay with the individuals or families until they are in permanent housing.

Just last week, she said 140 volunteers and staff from the mid-Michigan region participated in regional disaster training.

Meister explained they're always prepared to be deployed. And, they may need to, because volunteers are only allowed to be on the ground for 2-3 weeks.

When they head home to rest and recover, someone will need to take their place.

"They're the first individuals on the ground when something absolutely devastating happens to a family or individual. Most of the time they're the first person that's able to give them a hug or a warm blanket or just hope that tomorrow is going to be a little bit better," Meister said.

Last year, Meister added Michigan sent the highest number of volunteers and staff to help with disasters across the nation.

They've actually still got team members in California helping people recover from the wildfires.

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