Hoosiers help in Hawaii, Carolinas ahead of major storms

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- While major storms threaten Hawaii and the East Coast, Hoosiers are already stepping up to help ahead of landfall.

Hurricane Florence is churning towards the Carolinas as a Category 4 storm, while Tropical Storm Olivia heads towards Hawaii.

"When these things happen it's just what drives us to do our jobs," Kenneth Jackson, the president of Heartland Ambulance Service, said.

He and dozens of others from the Central Indiana company are in South Carolina helping evacuate hundreds of patients from the coast ahead of the storm.

"We want to make sure we're prepared to get north of the storm 'cuz that will be the worst part of the devastation so we're gonna work in terms of beginning to evacuate as many people now prior to the storm hitting," Jackson said.

Some Indiana Task Force-1 members also received orders to the Carolinas, assigned to the Incident Support Team. Other members deployed with the FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Incident Support Team are staged in Hawaii.

"It's just a matter of seeing how intense that storm is when it makes landfall and what kind of damage it does," Sara Miller with the American Red Cross said.

She and a volunteer were sent to Hawaii, while two more Hoosiers with the American Red Cross are scheduled to go to North Carolina.

"We've gotten our staff prepared, we've gotten our volunteers prepared to let them know that there could be increase deployment, but as it stands right now everybody's on standby," Lamar Holliday, a spokesperson with the American Red Cross, said.

It's not just people on standby, resources are too.

"Everyone's our neighbor right, it's good to help out our neighbors," John Whitake, the executive director of the Midwest Food Bank, said.

Whitake said they've already sent out five semi-loads of product to its headquarters but will need to have more shelves ready to go, especially once the hurricane hits and time passes.

"So what we're asking folks to do is to step up and like good Hoosiers, I always say Hoosiers give hope, give hope to the people who are going to be affected by this natural disaster, this hurricane and there are more backed up," he said.

Whitaker said the best way to help them is through monetary donations since they can stretch that further. The Red Cross is also accepting donations and has ways for people to sign up to volunteer in disasters.


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