How you can help DC’s Red Cross teams as they respond to Dorian

As federal agencies monitor the progress of Hurricane Dorian, the D.C. Office of the American Red Cross of the National Capital Region has been at work, with five emergency response vehicles ready for deployment along the East Coast.

Paul Carden, the regional disaster officer for the National Capital Region, said they’re already hearing from people who want to help the regions affected by the massive storm. The best way to do that, he said, is with a cash donation.

“That concern, that desire to help, that cash immediately gets turned into action,” he said.

In the immediate aftermath of a storm, people have the most basic needs, Carden explained — and that’s where the Red Cross goes to work.

Those five emergency response vehicles will be deployed wherever the need is greatest. And the cash that people donate “purchases meals, it purchases toiletry kits, it provides direct assistance to those in need,” Carden said.

There are four volunteers from the D.C. area already in Florida, working alongside the chapters affected by the storm.

Residents of hurricane-prone states are used to having to prepare for dangerous storms, but Carden said everyone should prepare for emergencies, from fire- to weather-related events.

“People need to be ready 365 days a year for any disaster,” he said.

According to Carden, there are a variety of apps that offer guidance on how to do that.

“We have an app that tells you where shelters are; we have an app that helps you look for family members,” he said, adding there are apps that can even explain how to keep pets safe in emergencies.

Finally, Carden said, no matter what the emergency and where you live, keep in touch with local governments, many of whom have links to emergency notification systems in place.

“Always follow the advice of local government officials about what to do,” he said.

To donate, visit the Red Cross online at or call 1-800-Red-Cross.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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