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Utahns ready to help amid Hurricane Irma devastation

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (ABC4 Utah) – Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend and Utahns are already in place and ready to help.

“We’re there, we’re on the ground and we’re ready to do our part,” said Rich Woodruff, Communications Director, American Red Cross Utah.

Woddruff said roughly 85 Utahns are in surrounding areas such as Georgia, Louisiana and the Carolinas.

“We don’t know exactly where Hurricane Irma will hit but we’ve got assets stationed well in advance of that,” Woodruff said.

Most of the volunteers responding to Irma are the same ones that fled to Houston for Harvey. The volunteers are switched out every two weeks.

Eric Kiltz has volunteered with the Utah Red Cross for nine years and has responded to multiple natural disasters including four hurricanes.

“A lot of it is just mental preparation — just understanding that for the next couple of weeks it’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable but it’s nothing compared to what the people living there are going through,” Kiltz told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.

The hurricane is taking direct aim at Florida. Orlando is in its direct path of destruction.

“You’ll see a lot of wind and a lot of rain,” Larry Hudson said.

Hudson and his family live in Orlando.

“Expect a lot of fallen trees, some damage to cars from a lot of flying debris. Depending on what part of the city you’re in you might experience some flooding. I don’t think I’ll go through that because I’m pretty much at the highest point of the city.”

Miami is expected to take the brunt of the storm but Hudson and his family are ready for whatever comes their way.

“Just making sure everything is secure. Making sure we have bottled water and food to last us a few days. Last time a category two or three hurricane came, our power was out for like seven days,” explained Hudson.

“You’ve got a few gas stations that have been out of gas down here but we’ve still been able to find some. Yesterday I had to go to two or three different gas stations to get gas.”

The Red Cross is looking for volunteers. If you’re interested and want more information about ways you can help, go to their website, here.

You can also help through FEMA. Visit http://www.volunteerflorida.org  or call 1-800-FL-Help-1. 

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