Local volunteers help in Louisiana

EL CENTRO, Calif. – With tens of thousands of flood victims being displaced from their homes due the devastating floods in Louisiana, communities are coming together both near and far to help.

Five volunteers from the Imperial and San Diego County Red Cross chapter are in Louisiana helping with relief efforts. At least 13 people have died due to the flooding and at least 40,000 homes damaged.

When this type of destruction strikes the Red Cross is always prepared and ready to send help says Imperial Valley American Red Cross Manager Sylvia Preciado-Platero.

“We are already preparing long before that disaster even strikes, we are reading our volunteers, we’re ensuring their availability and of course that they meet all the requirements for that position of the level of the disaster,” said Preciado.

We spoke to a volunteer from Ramona, California who was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana today.

Jan Ophof told us what he is facing and what his day to day activities look like.

“My responsibility is LSAP, which is Life Security and Asset Protection, were basically going to nearby shelters just to make sure the Red Cross workers, clients and various visitors such as law enforcement are safe,” says Ophof.

Volunteers deployed to such disaster relief sites typically spend 2-3 weeks there and work 10-12 hour days.

“The disaster is still pretty much ramping up out here, my personal day to day schedule is spending about 10-12 hours checking up on various shelters in the area,” added Ophof.

People who volunteer are trained before being sent to disaster relief sites. For anybody interested in becoming a volunteer or donating to the relief effort in Louisiana, you can visit http://www.redcross.org/ca/el-centro for more information.

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