American Red Cross, emergency response teams prepare for Irma

American Red Cross, emergency response teams prepare for Irma

(WWBT) - Emergency response teams are carefully monitoring Hurricane Irma's track to advise localities and are preparing to lend a helping hand to other states bracing for Hurricane Irma.

Teams here are mobilizing now to make sure that not only Virginia is prepared, but that our neighbors in nearby states have the resources in place so crews can respond as quickly as possible to any potential disaster zone.

"It's a shared sacrifice, and it shows that even when you lose everything, people come together to keep their spirits high and move forward," said Jonathan McNamara with the American Red Cross.

McNamara saw first hand the work the Red Cross is doing in Houston

"We were having people show up to the shelter a week later just getting out of their homes," said McNamara.

His trip there was cut short to get back to Richmond to prepare for Irma.

"We're mobilizing, calling volunteers, prepositioning resources up and down the East Coast so wherever this storm has a potential impact, we have supplies for initial response," said McNamara.

The American Red Cross is calling on volunteers to enlist to get ready to deploy to potential disaster sites…

"You do not understand the type of apocalyptic environment these people are in. Their entire world has stopped," said Angela Atkinson, a Katrina survivor.

Atkinson knows the feeling first hand.

"I lost everything as a result of Katrina and Rita," said Atkinson. She even lost contact with her brother for two days.

"That was the scariest part, to realize you could have lost someone so close to you because of this weather," said Atkinson.

She now works in insurance to protect others from what she went through and wants to volunteer with the red cross

"You don't see anything the same way again. It changes you in so many ways," said Atkinson.

The American Red Cross suggests it is never too early to put a kit together with non-perishable food and water for any weather-related event.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says they are telling the public to prepare for the storm.

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