PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- With two of three of Red Cross Maine's emergency response vehicles, or “ERVs,” currently assisting victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the third one packed up Wednesday to head down to Florida before Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall.
The volunteers and employees are expecting to spend at least the next two weeks in Florida providing meals, comfort, and support to anyone who may be affected by the impending hurricane. The response vehicles can hold hundreds of meals at a time. Red Cross Disaster Program Manager for Oxford, Cumberland and York counties, Alyson Finn, actually studied disaster management in Florida prior to coming to Maine. Her parents also live there now. For her, being deployed to Florida to help is personal.
“My family is actually evacuated, they're actually at the Cape,” Finn told NEWS CENTER. “So, I definitely think I’m worried, I mean my family has a home there, but for me it's totally mission driven. I am there to support the people of Florida.”
Long-time volunteer Jeff Ohman is also headed to Florida, he has been on the ground with the Red Cross after several hurricanes and other disaster situations in the past. “Someone will ask for a hug, they'll come up and give you hugs. It's quite a feeling to be part of this, to help out,” Ohman said.
The Red Cross crew will spend the next two days driving south to set up in Orlando where they will join dozens of other Red Cross members from all over the country who came to help.