LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the Carolinas brace for Hurricane Florence, agencies public and private from across the Bluegrass are sending help, as the coastlines of North and South Carolina are preparing for life threatening storm surges, catastrophic winds and flash flooding.
The serious threat has many trained volunteers and rescue crews from Louisville and beyond headed that way. Organizations like the Louisville Red Cross says in a situations like this, it’s all hands on deck. Several groups headed out Wednesday afternoon, others will follow this weekend.
“Right now it looks like everybody’s preparing to go on a big family camping trip, but this is a heck of lot more than that,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Fischer wished Louisville Fire and Rescue teams well, as they packed up their boats. First, they coordinate with Emergency Management teams in Frankfort, then head to Raleigh, North Carolina, saying goodbye to their own families to help those in the eye of the storm.
“They’ll be gathering supplies, tents, cots. It’s going to be a nine day deployment at this time, they’ll be roughing it for the most part,” Louisville Fire and Rescue Captain Bobby Cooper explained.
“We’re part of a mutual aid network here, so we’ll be sending 24 firefighters and swift water rescue down south,” Mayor Fischer added. “Half from the city, half the suburban fire departments and about six boats as well, so people from the southeast are all piling in to see what’s going to happen.”
A few miles away, the Louisville Red Cross and the ATF were preparing teams to deal with Florence.
“All of our agents are trained in a variety of things they’ll be doing basic law enforcement and federal law enforcement type missions,” Stuart Lowrey, ATF Special Agent in Charge said.
From security to basic needs, the Red Cross does it all.
“We’ll do mass care feeding, sheltering and distribution of emergency supplies,” Daniel Wirth, Louisville Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer said.
Red Cross volunteer Linda Beck started volunteering six years ago.
“It’s very chaotic usually,” Beck said of hurricane relief. “People running everywhere, but everybody has their role to play.”
“It’s always difficult to see people’s loss,” Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Director Coy Webb said. “We’re always ready to go, but hate to be called upon because we know somebody’s hurting.”
The mobile kitchens of the Kentucky Baptist Convention fed those ravaged by hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Seventy-five volunteers will take four trailers of feeding and shower units. Coy said it’s all worth the effort.
“It’s just so good to know we’re not forgotten that somebody cares enough to come,” Coy said.
The Salvation Army Louisville is also sending a mobile feeding unit out Wednesday in anticipation of Florence.