Mid-Southerners ready to help as Hurricane Dorian threatens Atlantic Coast

Mid-Southerners ready to help as Hurricane Dorian threatens Atlantic Coast

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Hurricane Dorian is slowly bearing down on the Atlantic Coast, and Mid-Southerners are already pitching in to help. But there are some things you should know before you open your heart and wallet.

The American Red Cross said 50 volunteers from Tennessee are staged along the coast from Florida to the Carolinas.

Tennessee Task Force One, based out of Memphis, is also stationed in Orlando where the group has been placed for now. The search and rescue team is ready to respond at a moment’s notice as Hurricane Dorian creeps closer to the continental United States.

“A lot of us, it’s just our nature. You know, it’s a calling for many of us. We train hard and when you train like that, you look forward to the day you can get out and utilize those skill sets and help somebody out,” said Colin Burress, Leader of Tennessee Task Force One.

By Tuesday afternoon, the storm had been downgraded to a category 2 hurricane, but those living along the Atlantic coast are still bracing for a glancing blow.

Dorian ravaged parts of the Bahamas where it sat stationary as a category 5 for nearly two days. The devastation is immense, as the U.S. Coast Guard is stepping in to participate in search and rescue.

Mid-Southerners safe at home may feel like they should chip in too.

“It’s always best to give to charities that have already been vetted and that have experience in these types of disasters,” said Nancy Crawford, director of marketing and communications with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.

Crawford said when donating to relief organizations make sure you do your homework and look for groups that have dealt with disaster before, which you can find filtered through the BBB’s site Give.org.

She also advises giving an online payment screen with these groups a second look to double check where your personal information will be going.

“You want to make sure if you’re giving online, you’re giving on a secure site, that you see the lock icon at the top and find out what they’re going to do with your information,” Crawford said. “There should be a privacy policy on that site telling you whether they will share your information with other partners.”

Groups like International Medical Corps and Team Rubicon already seeking donations to help the Bahamas in the wake of Dorian.

Additionally, Memphis-based FedEx is telling customers who are shipping to the southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts to be aware some shipments could be delayed because of Dorian.

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