American Red Cross Prepares to Open Evacuation Shelters

Talking with Red Cross volunteers as they get shelters ready

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The impact from hurricane Irma is still up in the air, but the American Red Cross is prepared to open shelters if they are needed.

They have supplies on standby for shelters around the state. Here in the Midlands, volunteers sorted supplies for 17 shelters that could open if an evacuation order is given.
 
"We have 17 shelters we have to build and we have to supply each shelter with a certain amount of snacks and water to get them through the weekend," says Angelo Costa, volunteer.

As of now, those numbers are temporary as more shelters could be needed.
  
"Each one of the shelters has a different amount of people," says Costa. "Some can hold 200 and some can hold 1,300. So, we're going by whatever shelter we're setting up first."

Right now, it's a waiting game, as Red Cross officials get updates on where hurricane Irma is moving.
 
"We're getting ready for Irma, whether she comes or whether she doesn't," says Cuthbert Langley, spokesman for the SC Red Cross. "We're pre positioning supplies as you see behind me to be ready to go to the shelters, if indeed we open them."

If shelters are needed, Langley encourages evacuees to bring items from home
 
"With these shelters that we may be opening up, they may not have cots there," says Langley. "So, it's really important for you to bring things like your pillow, a sleeping bag, things to make the shelter feel like home. We are going to be here as long as it takes. Before the storm, during it and afterwards."

If shelters are open, locations can be found here.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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