Local volunteers and electric crews are headed north to aid in recovery operations after the hurricane turned superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast knocking out power, flooding streets and killing more than three dozen people.
Five volunteers from the local chapter of the American Red Cross are already in three different states helping communities with shelter and food, said Judy DelSignore with the Coastal chapter of the ARC.
One volunteer is in Pennsylvania, two are in West Virginia with the emergency response vehicle and two are in White Plains, NY, DelSignore said. More may be deployed Wednesday.
Electric companies across the state are pitching in too, including Santee Cooper.
Five crews and an area supervisor will be leaving for Long Island, NY Wednesday at 6 a.m., said Nicole Aiello, spokeswoman for the electric company. Each crew will have one supervisor and four line technicians. In total, 26 people from the electric company are headed north.
They’re taking a bucket truck, line truck and pickup truck to help the Long Island Power Authority, which had more than 945,000 customers without power about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday according to the agency’s website. Millions of people across the northeast were without power due to the storm.
Several crews that work as contractors with Santee Cooper were also released so they could assist in the restoration efforts, Aiello said.
The volunteers with the American Red Cross won’t be home any time soon.
DelSignore said it could be two to three weeks before the volunteers from the Grand Strand come back.
“This is not going to go away quickly,” she said. “The major destruction that’s happened there, we’ll still be housing people for a while.”
DelSignore said the pair in West Virginia reported seeing flooding, but said none of the volunteers would likely only see the inside of a shelter and not the damage from the storm.
The Red Cross is always seeking volunteers, she said and knows not everybody can afford to leave town for a few weeks. Those that can’t leave but want to help are welcome to sign up as volunteers to work at the local office in Myrtle Beach or aid victims of fires here.
Monetary donations are always accepted and can be dropped at a local office, or done over the phone by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donations can also be made by texting “Red Cross” to 90999. That will donate $10, with the charge added to a phone bill.
To learn more or to sign up as a volunteer, call 477-0020.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.