Locals helping with hurricane relief efforts in Florida

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two western New Yorkers are taking dangerous chances to help out with hurricane relief efforts in Florida.

As the devastatingly powerful Hurricane Matthew approaches the United States, American Red Cross volunteers from across the country are headed toward, not away from, the southeastern tip of the country.

Amherst resident Vincent Jacob will soon join Lockport’s Diane Sargent in relief efforts related to the Category 4 storm.

Sargent went down to Florida earlier this week to work on disaster assessment. Jacob will soon head out as part of a group of New Yorkers working on shelter operations.

“We’re preparing for a large response across several states, opening dozens of shelters to make sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat as Hurricane Matthew marches northward,” Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross, said. “This is a dangerous storm, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007. As the Red Cross gets ready, we urge people who may live in the path of this storm to make their own preparations now. It’s critical that coastal residents pay close attention to the forecast and listen to their local authorities, as even a small shift in the storm could have a significant impact.”

The Red Cross has more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina standing by as of Thursday afternoon.

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