Vehicles try to evacuate Florida coast. (AP Photo)ST. LOUIS, Mo. — American Red Cross responders from across the Missouri and Arkansas Region are answering the call to help those impacted by disaster. Dedicated American Red Cross workers are arriving in Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian to be prepared to provide critical help as Ian gets closer to landfall. Other Missouri and Arkansas teams are currently deployed to help those affected by disasters including the hurricane in Puerto Rico, typhoon in Alaska and the wildfires on the West Coast.

Missouri and Arkansas Responders Deployed

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As of Tuesday morning, nearly 100 disaster responders from across the Missouri and Arkansas region have raised their hands to respond, with more than 20 volunteers and staff in-route or on the ground in Florida and approximately 40 more on standby to leave as needed. Approximately 20 disaster responders are supporting the hurricane response in Puerto Rico, typhoon response in Alaska and the western wildfires.

Emergency Response Vehicle Deployments

Teams consisting of two drivers will deploy four Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) to Florida starting Wednesday from Columbia and Jefferson City, MO, and Little Rock AR; and Thursday from St. Louis.

Media opportunities of ERV deployments are as follows:

Wednesday, September 28

  • Columbia, MO7:30 a.m. from Central and Northern Missouri (CNMO) chapter, 1511 S. Providence Road Columbia, MO.
  • Jefferson City, MO8:30 a.m. from the CNMO chapter office, 3230 Emerald Ln, Jefferson City, MO 65109.

Thursday, Sept. 29

  • St. Louis, MO8 a.m. Thursday from Greater St. Louis Chapter, 10195 Corporate Square Drive, St. Louis, MO 63132
  • Little Rock, AR 9 a.m. - Departing from Greater Arkansas Chapter, 610 S Shackleford Rd Suite B, Little Rock, AR 72205

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Additional deployments to Florida of people and Emergency Response Vehicles are expected to happen in the days ahead.

“Our teams are there to help as Hurricane Ian makes landfall,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer for American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas. “We rely on our volunteers to help in times like these and encourage anyone who is interested in joining us to consider signing up to help with future disaster response efforts. 90% of our Red Cross workforce is made up of volunteers.”

Now a Category 3 hurricane, Ian could grow to a Category 4 as it begins to impact millions of people in Florida. Tampa could suffer its first direct hit from a hurricane in over 100 years. The National Hurricane Center reports a life-threatening storm surge is possible along much of Florida’s west coast, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region. Significant river flooding is likely across central Florida.

The American Red Cross has moved hundreds of trained disaster responders from across the country and tens of thousands of relief supplies to Florida in preparation for Ian and is supporting local officials in opening dozens of shelters to make sure people have a safe place to ride out the storm. Red Cross is working closely with partners and local officials to ensure help is available when and where people need it most.

How you can help

You can help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift is a commitment to helping people in need, and every single donation matters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

More volunteers are also needed to not only respond to large scale disasters like Hurricane Fiona and Typhoon Merbok, but to also respond to local disasters like home fires. To volunteer, please go to

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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