The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is warning well-intentioned volunteers to be mindful of what they send to disaster zones.
“When you have goods being shipped in, coats, clothes and toys, you have to pull people away from jobs that they’re doing,” said Dean Flener, of TEMA.
If areas become inundated with donations, emergency workers can’t stick to their assignments.
“We don’t want to pull them off to do inventory, stocking and warehousing,” said Flener.
TEMA says rerouting people can become a disaster within the disaster.
“It becomes too overwhelming for local officials who are trying to manage the help to the people at the scene,” said Flener.
It’s also not a good idea to “self-deploy,” in essence, to go without a plan.
“It’s very dangerous to deploy in these kinds of conditions,” said Flener. “No matter how trained that you think you might be or you think you have equipment. Hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods – they are all different disasters,” said Flener.
If you want to help, donating money to reliable nonprofits and organizations is the way to go, according to TEMA.
“There are a lot of organizations who are dedicated to that, [helping] survivors,” said Flener.
Click here to find credible places to donate and places looking for volunteers.