Philly-area emergency crews shift Florida response into high gear

"We have operations set up to service at least 9,000 families right now."

Paul Kurtz
October 16, 2018 - 6:04 pm

© Pensacola News Journal-USA TODAY


FLORIDA (KYW Newsradio) -- As the death toll continues to rise from Hurricane Michael, emergency aid groups are ramping up their efforts to aid the survivors.   

From the main staging area in Tallahassee, Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist Martin Hicks says he and a small army of staffers and volunteers are pushing out to disaster zones across the panhandle.

"We have operations set up to service at least 9,000 families right now, and we're prepared to escalate that as necessary," he said.

Beleaguered survivors now have access to food and shelter.

READ: Trump gets bird's-eye view of devastated Florida communities 

Hicks says the next step is getting them critically needed supplies.

"Baby formula, infant supplies like diapers, adult diapers, we have wheelchairs, cleanup kits, bleach and things like that so they can clean and decontaminate a lot of the stuff,” he said. “Mops, rakes, shovels."

Hicks describes the scene as sad and unfortunate, but says he also sees hopeful signs amid the devastation.

"They're taking care of each other and helping each other out, so that's really good to see," he adds.