SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – When the call for help comes in, Utahns answer. The Utah branches of the American Red Cross are providing volunteers and relief workers in Florida and other areas that were damaged last week by Hurricane Ian. Tens of thousands of people in Florida are struggling with the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian, one of the largest disasters to ever hit the state. For the American Red Cross, the work is just beginning, and alongside Red Cross partners, the organization is helping families recover for weeks and months to come.

Right now, the focus is on providing safe shelter, meals and comfort for people facing unimaginable destruction. So far Utah Red Cross has sent 9 staff/volunteers to Hurricane Ian and region wide, the Utah/Nevada region has sent a total of 14. In some of the hardest hit areas that are accessible, the Red Cross has dozens of response vehicles circulating to distribute critical supplies including water and ready to eat meals. Each day you’ll see more Red Cross vests in the area, reaching more hard-hit neighborhoods as conditions improve.

To help people affected by Hurricane Ian, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Download the Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in your app store or by going to .org/apps.

Over the last several days, dangerous weather conditions and floodwaters have canceled dozens of blood drives with approximately 1,000 blood and platelet donations going uncollected. The Red Cross anticipates fewer donors to come out to donate at drives in and around affected areas. Individuals in unaffected areas of the country — especially those with type O blood types — are urged to give blood now to help ensure patients in impacted areas continue to have access to lifesaving blood.

Please schedule an appointment to give blood today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).