Richmond-area businesses prepare for Hurricane Dorian

American Red Cross, businesses prepare locally for Dorian

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Weather, for the most part, is unpredictable, but that doesn’t stop organization like the American Red Cross from being ready in case disaster strikes.

“You’re there, you’re working with them at probably one of the worst days of their life," Red Cross volunteer Deborah Watson said.

Watson will be leaving for Florida on Friday morning on her fifth deployment with the Red Cross, as a “feeder," but that role can change if needed.

“Helping set up shelters, kitchen and feeding areas," Watson said. “Whatever they need - moving cots, logistics.”

The Red Cross has supplies stored in warehouses around Florida, which will be tapped when needed.

Watson will be on standby in case of any major damage, adding that in her three years volunteering, it’s not always a mad rush once her boots hit the ground.

“It takes a little bit of time for ‘the ship to set sail,’ and one of the first things we learn is patience,” Watson said.

And patience is something many travelers may call upon, with all the potential airline changes.

“There’s so many weather events throughout the year," Journey Inc. president Kim Goldstein said, adding that the challenge for her and her agents is to prepare and get people re-routed.

Goldstein has been organizing trips for clients for 13 years, and has dealt with everything Mother Nature can throw at her.

She said during hurricane season, she and her agents are constantly in touch with airlines and resorts making changes. She said a lot of headaches can be avoided with travel insurance.

“It’s going to prevent you from losing money if your airport is closed, or if your resort is closed, or if you get stuck in Atlanta overnight,” Goldstein said.

She said travel insurance usually also provides emergency evacuation coverage, which could be very expensive.

“It can cost thousands of dollars to be evacuated out of an area," Goldstein said. “And that’s the key thing. If there’s a medical issue, and you want to get out, then you want to have that additional coverage.”

A representative for Richmond International Airport said it is monitoring which airlines are issuing waivers for flights and will update customers on the airport’s social media channels.

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