Local volunteers from the American Red Cross National Capital Region are among those who have gone to Florida to help with any potential recovery efforts from Hurricane Dorian.
Dorian struck the northern Bahamas as a catastrophic Category 5 storm Sunday, with a record 185 mph winds. While the core of the storm isn’t expected to make landfall on the Florida coast, the state is still expected to get lashed by high winds, heavy rains and storm surge.
Kim Teitelman of Haymarket, Virginia, has responded to 11 natural disasters across the country and is now volunteering at an evacuation center in Orlando.
“Right now, we’re getting huge trucks of cots and blankets and food,” said Teitelman, who also said the center is prepared to convert to a shelter if need be.
“People will be able to stay here until we find other places for them to go, or they can go back home,” she said.
Mandatory evacuations aren’t yet in place in Florida, so for the volunteers, Sunday was about preparation. They have enough supplies to stay days, or even weeks.
“People here seem really prepared,” Teitelman said, adding that stores still seem well stocked and those shopping don’t appear scared of the impending storm.
Teitelman said that while natural disasters often bring destruction, they also bring out the best in communities. When responding to Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, Teitelman said that she saw families take in complete strangers, sometimes more than a dozen at a time.
“If you ever feel like people are bad, come do this,” Teitelman said. “It’s mostly good. It really warms your heart.”
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