Philadelphia agencies await on standby to help Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael

Paul Kurtz
October 10, 2018 - 3:14 pm
Tallahassee city and government officials receive updates on the status and what to expect from Hurricane Michael at Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

© Alicia Devine/Democrat

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Various other agencies from the Philadelphia area are prepared to help hurricane victims in Florida and elsewhere.

"We are monitoring very closely the impacts from Hurricane Michael," said Monica Cryan, communications manager for the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of the American Red Cross.

Cryan said staff and volunteers are standing by awaiting their marching orders. Even some of the responders who've been helping victims of Hurricane Florence may be redirected to Florida.

PECO emergency crews are also on standby, as there is nothing to do until the storm makes landfall and damage assessments are made. 

"As the storm progresses, mutual assistance efforts will become better defined and the fact that utilities are able to asses any sort of damages that may occur," added PECO spokeswoman Christina Pappas.  

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has sent an additional 35 Task Force 1 specialists to a staging area in Mobile, Alabama, to hook up with 45 others sent out on Tuesday. 

RELATED: Pa. task force on the road again, heading to Alabama to meet Michael

Deputy Director for Response Randy Padfield said they are a nimble group. 

"They are fully capable of living in the field and sustaining themselves for up to 72 hours — food, water and all other capabilities," he said. "They can go into the most devastated areas that don't have electrical generation, don't have food or anything else, and continue to operate."

The team includes structural specialists who are able to look at impacts from tidal surge and damage to buildings, as well as hazmat specialists, doctors, paramedics and veterinarians.

"They have both flat-bottomed, ridged-hull boats, which are very good for standing water," he added. "And they also have inflatable rescue boats that are very good for swift or moving water."