Texas volunteers to help with rescues in Carolinas

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– More than 100 volunteers from Texas are headed to the Carolinas and Virginia to help with the rescue and relief effort once Hurricane Florence makes landfall.

One-hundred fifty Texans with America’s Cajun Navy are planning to hit the road for the East Cost on Wednesday.

The volunteer group’s Texas captain, Taylor Fontenot, was busy loading up his boat and supplies on Tuesday as he prepares to meet the rest of the group at Buc-ee’s in Baytown on Wednesday morning. From there, they’ll make the trip to North and South Carolina and Virginia where they’ll spread out and prepare to rescue those in need.

“We’ll have another 100 gallons of fuel in smaller tanks,” said Fontenot. “We’ll have the boat, LEDs to work at night…more gas cans, rain gear, all kinds of medical supplies.”

The group has about a thousand volunteers total from across the nation headed into Florence’s path. They’re prepared to make the same sort of rescues they did during Harvey and other hurricanes.

“First seven days is usually search and rescue,” said Fontenot. “First four or five days is usually human. Last two will be probably focused towards animal. It all depends on the storm, and then day seven to day ten goes into body recovery.”

Over at the American Red Cross in Houston, six volunteers are flying out to the Carolinas. Pedro Ramirez will head to the coast on Wednesday to help prepare a megashelter for those in the hurricane’s path.

“It gets them out of the elements, right on the spot,” said Ramirez. “You’re in a disaster area, and then you’re not. You know you’re in safety. That’s the key part. Once you’re in safety, you can start thinking about recovery.”

Ramirez said he’s anxious to help others, after so many helped Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

“During Harvey, it was a good eye opener of the need and how everybody came out here to Houston,” said Ramirez. “I want to give back.”

As for America’s Cajun Navy, they are coordinating with locals on the ground on the Atlantic Coast to find out which streets are most prone to flooding so they can go to the areas where they’re needed the most.

Some volunteers from both America’s Cajun Navy and the American Red Cross are staying put on the Gulf Coast incase the weather at home worsens and rescues are needed in Texas as well.

America’s Cajun Navy is volunteer-based and needs donations to continue operating. You can donate to the group here: https://www.paypal.me/americascajunnavy