Tennesseans ready to help after Hurricane Dorian

Posted at 12:51 PM, Sep 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-02 23:23:16-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — First responders, non-profits and other groups from across Middle Tennessee are headed towards Florida and the Bahamas to lend aid to people impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

Firefighters from Nashville, Franklin Hendersonville and others Middle Tennessee cities have sent some of their firefighters to Florida ahead of the storm.

Hendersonville Fire Chief Scotty Bush said he will send more of his firefighters if necessary.

Four members of the La Vergne Fire Department's Swift Water Rescue Team left for Florida Monday morning along with firefighters from Dickson and Williamson Counties. They will team up with members from Germantown and Madison County. Firefighters planned to stay at least 14 days.

"I went to North Carolina last year for Hurricane Florence," said Lt. James Pewitt, a member of the Swift Water Rescue Team. "It was exiting to be able to help people out, and help the community."

The non-profit group Hope Force International is also on standby.

The group brings aid to people whose homes are damaged by storms. Two trailers have been staged in South Carolina so the response time can be faster if areas receive damage.

Nashville-based Caliber Care+Transport has nine crews already in Florida who are waiting to see where they're most needed.

The Tennessee chapter of the American Red Cross has 48 volunteers and employees down in Florida right now. Sherri McKinney, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said crews are on standby.

"There are as many as 60,000 people from Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas who could will be impacted," said McKinney. "We are expecting them to need the evacuation centers. That’s why we have 1600 volunteers ready to work."

McKinney said there's a mandatory 8:30 p.m. lockdown where Red Cross employees are staying the night in Orlando, Florida.

The American Red Cross is also accepting donations to fund their relief efforts.

A group called the Tennessee Task Force 2 is also already in Orlando at the Orange Co. Convention Center. The group includes more than 40 first responders from the mid-state. Officials say they are camping in a large meeting room with emergency responders from TN, FL, TX, OK, and VA.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has also established the "Music City Way Fund" to help with the relief and recovery effort. The fund will provide grants to nonprofits in impacted areas.