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As Isaac approaches Gulf Coast, volunteers prepare here

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thankfully it looks like Hurricane Isaac has spared our part of the country, and local volunteers say they are ready to head down to the Gulf Coast if needed.

“My car is packed, and I’m ready,” Red Cross volunteer Janet Decou said.

Decou is one of more than 100 Red Cross volunteers in Wilmington on standby to help out in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

‘As soon as we knew that there was something brewing down in the Atlantic, we went straight to work,” Red Cross spokesman Autumn Mihm said.

Tuesday morning, one Red Cross volunteer from Wilmington deployed for Louisiana to be a government liaison in the response headquarters.

Decou now volunteers as an emergency response vehicle driver, but seven years ago she responded to New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

“It was the most terrible storm I had ever seen in my whole life,” she said. “It was nothing that you would ever want to go and see again.”

Since then, the Red Cross has tweaked how it responds and prepares for similar storms.

“Every time that there’s a disaster, we just learn more and more,” Mihm said.

Technology also plays a larger part in the effort. The organization’s new free mobile Red Cross Hurricane app helps prepare you for a storm, find shelters close by and even alert loved ones that your safe.

Decou is grateful Isaac looks nothing like Katrina.

“Anything after Katrina is kind of easier, and we learn from every hurricane,” she said.

Duke Energy has released 420 contractors to go to the Gulf. Some of them have already left. The power company has not sent any of its own employees yet. It is waiting to assess damages before deploying workers.

More: continued here

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