Local response begins ahead of Hurricane Florence

Tri-State crews helping hurricane victims
Duke Energy crews left the Tri-State Tuesday morning to help victims of Hurricane Florence. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Dale Lutz)
Duke Energy crews left the Tri-State Tuesday morning to help victims of Hurricane Florence. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Dale Lutz)
Matthew 25: Ministries is located in Blue Ash (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)
Matthew 25: Ministries is located in Blue Ash (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)
Duke Energy is deploying over 1,000 employees and contract workers from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Dale Lutz)
Duke Energy is deploying over 1,000 employees and contract workers from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Dale Lutz)

BLUE ASH, OH (FOX19) - Local agencies are beginning to gather supplies and head to the East Coast ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Duke Energy is deploying over 1,000 employees and contract workers from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to help restore power following Hurricane Florence, a utility spokeswoman said.

Duke Energy and its contractor crews gathered Tuesday morning at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's rest area along southbound I-71/75 in Florence before leaving in a caravan of 30 to 40 vehicles.

"We expect a lot of poles down, wires down. We'll come in and re-do the whole infrastructure," Supervisor Tim Perry said.

Line crews are traveling in bucket trucks, accompanied by supervisors, and fleet personnel, to North Carolina.

They are expected to arrive in Raleigh by Thursday and will be dispatched to the hardest hit areas in the Carolinas to help restore power in the region, said Sally Thelen, Duke spokeswoman.

"They love storm restoration and they volunteer to go," Duke Spokesperson Lee Freedman said.

Duke Energy crews said they'll stay until the power is restored.

The Red Cross will send one of its four Emergency Response Vehicles from Cincinnati on Tuesday afternoon to the southeastern coast in preparation for hurricane response.

Another vehicle from Cincinnati, one from Dayton, and one from Troy, Ohio will also head to the region.

The Emergency Response Vehicles can store food, water, clothing, disaster relief supplies, and have serving windows to make it easier to feed those in need.

There are also ten local Red Cross volunteers currently assigned to the hurricane response, but that number will likely grow.

"As a frame of reference, during the last hurricane season, the Greater Cincinnati-Dayton region deployed 155 Red cross workers for hurricane response. Should conditions warrant, we anticipate an equally robust effort this season as our area volunteers and staff are extremely dedicated to carrying out the Red Cross mission here locally and throughout the country," said Stephanie Byrd, Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Regional CEO.

Ohio Task Force 1 deployed to Carolinas ahead of hurricane

An international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization in Blue Ash is preparing to help, too. Trucks will be loaded at 9 a.m. Wednesday and be ready to go after the storm lands.

Matthew 25: Ministries' fleet of Disaster Response vehicles are assembling in preparation for a possible deployment.

The fleet includes two Tide Loads of Hope Mobile Units that can do up to 300 loads of laundry a day and an ice unit that can produce up to 10,000 pounds of ice daily.

" We do laundry, personal care, cleaning supplies... we have ice and generators," CEO Tim Mettey said.

There also will be two customized panel trucks loaded with supplies such as P&G personal care kits, household and cleaning products, Cintas first aid and safety kits and supplies, Pampers diapers, Charmin toilet paper, Tide Pods, and tarps.

"All models indicate that this is going to be a serious storm and we are making our preparations based on that," said Tim Mettey, Matthew 25's chief operating officer. "Our team is ready to respond once the storm makes landfall and the track of the system becomes clear.  We are in contact with partners in the area and will continue to work with them as the storm moves toward land.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those who may be impacted by this storm."

For the most current information on Matthew 25's response, please visit their website www.m25m.org or follow Matthew 25 on Facebook and Twitter.

The organization accepts cash, credit card and internet donations for ongoing disaster aid and humanitarian relief programs.

More than 99 percent of cash and in-kind donations go toward programs, organizers say. All designated funds are used for the purpose intended.

Matthew 25 also welcomes volunteers six days a week at their Blue Ash facility.

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