Local Red Cross volunteers head down south ahead of Hurricane Florence

September 10, 2018 11:21 PM

ALBANY – The American Red Cross Eastern New York Region is sending twelve volunteers down south ahead of Hurricane Florence.


Mike Tripodi from Albany is one of the volunteers that will be heading down. He said he’s responded to 10 disasters in the past year.

"Every disaster is different,” explained Tripodi. “Last year I was at Hurricane Irma and came home for a couple days and got shipped out to the wildfires out in California."

Now he’s gearing up to head to Virginia, which is currently under a state of emergency. There he will be taking on the role as a disability integration advisor. Essentially he will be making sure facilities are accessible to everybody.

“Physically accessible, but also language accessible, making sure we have interpreters for American Sign Language, working with individuals who are on the autism spectrum and have sensory needs,” said Tripodi.

Tripodi said helping those with Autism is something he has a lot of experience with. He said he’s autistic and knows how important it is to make sure people have what they need when they’ve been displaced.

"Every day you kind of have a routine and the smallest thing that upsets your routine, it creates a greater struggle,” said Tripodi.

Eleven other volunteers will also be heading to North and South Carolina. They’ll be helping out in many different ways.

"They're primarily going to be doing roles in what we call mass care, which is really just caring for people who've been evacuated or temporarily displaced," said American Red Cross Eastern New York Chief Communications Officer Kimmy Venter.

Tripodi said while mentally and physically you have prepare for chaos when it comes to a potential hurricane.

“There’s a lot of unknown and it's a dangerous storm, it's an unpredictable storm," said Tripodi.

He said it’s worth it to give back.

"At our time of need, hopefully there'll be someone coming in to help us,” he added,

The Red Cross Eastern New York said it will likely deploy more volunteers down south before Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall.


Emily De Vito

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