San Antonio Red Cross volunteers standing by to help Hurricane Sandy victims

SA Red Cross CEO: Hundreds of volunteers may be dispatched


SAN ANTONIO – As the East Coast braces for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is gearing up to provide emergency assistance.

"We're keeping a very close eye on things," said Mike Bennett, CEO of the San Antonio Chapter of the American Red Cross. 

Flooding, snow, wind damage and power outages that could last longer than a week are just some of the problems expected.

Two Red Cross volunteers were sent from San Antonio to New York on Sunday to help shelter and feed hurricane victims and hundreds more could soon follow.

The agency is working to gather 300 volunteers from a five-state division that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

"We are putting all of our folks who are available to deploy on notice that we might want to use them this week, but at the moment, we don't have any further information until we know exactly how bad the impact is and how may people are needed," said Bennett

The Red Cross also has their emergency response vehicles ready to be dispatched just in case they're needed. However, crews will remain on hold until the storm has passed and it's safe to travel.

"The problem now is you can't move people into the area while the storm is actually in play. We're always very aware of safety for our people so we don't move them in the middle of the storm. We want them to stay put safely and then move in at the right time." said Bennett.

Bennett said the hurricane app by the American Red Cross may be useful during the super storm. The app -- for iPhone and Android users -- has information about hurricanes and how to prepare for them and hurricane alerts.

The app can be used to keep track of weather alerts by zip code so users can keep tabs on the situation in specific areas.

While it's still to early to determine how much help will be needed, Bennett said it's obvious a significant amount of money will be spent to shelter and help victims.

Anyone wishing to help can make donations through www.redcross.org.