(Grand Rapids News)
Five volunteers from the Greater Grand Rapids chapter of the American Red Cross are deploying to Florida in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac, which aimed toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti Friday and could make landfall on Florida and the central Gulf Coast next week, forecasters say.
Four people left this morning from Gerald R. Ford International Airport and another volunteer will deploy tomorrow.
Cheryl Bremer, regional CEO of the Greater Grand Rapids American Red cross, said volunteers are being pre-positioned to the Tampa area and will travel along the Gulf Coast depending on where the storm hits.
The five local volunteers — two women and three men — will assist with shelter, mental health and nursing services. They are deployed for two or three weeks, based on the severity of need, Bremer said.
Twenty-two Red Cross emergency vehicles are already in Florida and 28 are moving into the state. Seventy-eight vehicles have been placed on standby. The Grand Rapids rescue vehicle has not yet been called.
The Red Cross has prepared five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida, and warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi will ship supplies if necessary.
The storm has not yet reached hurricane intensity and forecasters predict it to make landfall as a hurricane next week.