Several regional outreach groups have begun assembling resources to send to areas that were devastated by Hurricane Michael which made landfall on Wednesday, slamming into the Florida Panhandle before churning through Georgia.
Redmond Regional Medical Center and the American Red Cross have already started sending support to affected cities such as Panama City, Florida, as well as Valdosta and Macon. RomeGaCares will mobilize for the fourth time in the 12 months, gathering relief kits and volunteers to take to affected communities.
Sgt. Carrie Edge of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office said she will be updating the RomeGaCares portion of the sheriff’s office website with information on how people can help. As of right now, she said they are not sure where they are going but will need volunteers and donations. Currently nine people from the sheriff’s office have volunteered to take time off and help with the relief effort. Edge said the sheriff’s office will have a donation drop off location at 1929 N. Broad St. beginning on Monday. Those wishing to drop off supplies for disaster relief kits can do so there, and volunteers are needed to sort through the items to make the kits in the warehouse behind North Rome Church of God. Schools also take collections, and some items can be sent with the kids when those take place. For more information on volunteering or questions about what is needed, visit their website, Facebook page or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redmond Regional Medical Center
Redmond Regional Medical Center has sent five vehicles and around 10 people to a sister medical center in Panama City. Marty Robinson, director of Redmond EMS, said they were contacted by Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center that the hospital had taken some damage and they needed to transport patients to other hospitals in the area.
“Our guys really stepped up to the plate,” Robinson said. “Glad we were able to help them out.”
John Quinlivan, CEO of Redmond Regional Medical Center, said there are currently 130 patients at the Florida hospital that need to be evacuated; the patients in the most critical condition have already been moved.
Redmond sent three advanced life support ambulances, two non-emergency transport vans, crews for all five vehicles and finally an inpatient therapy team. Robinson said they are not sure how long they will be down there, but if their stay is prolonged then support will be sent to relieve the teams currently deployed.
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross issued a press release noting two volunteers from Northwest Georgia volunteered to travel to South Georgia to help in any way they can. Weyland Billingsley of Bartow and Julie Maloney of Cherokee counties have been sent to help the Red Cross during the aftermath of the storm.
“Julie has been deployed to Valdosta and Weyland is in Macon,” said Red Cross of Northwest Georgia Disaster Program Manager Carla Maton. “Both will be working in government operations as liaisons to local emergency management’s emergency operations centers.”
The Associated Press reported that Hurricane Michael is one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States. It is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851. Michael was more intense at landfall than hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Maria.
The Associated Press contributed to this report