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Red Cross heads to Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian

"If you make a donation today it can help us respond to the next disaster as well,” Ashley Henyan with the Red Cross said.

WASHINGTON — Right now, Ian’s path and impact on Florida are still uncertain. That’s why the Red Cross is already mobilizing in our region and heading to the Sunshine State. The storm became a Cat 1 hurricane early Monday morning, and is expected to keep strengthening until it reaches the U.S. coast. 

RELATED: Cuba, Florida brace for impact from Hurricane Ian

This hurricane season has created some powerful storms. As Ian barrels closer to the U.S., the Red Cross is hoping to ease the burden of those in its path,

Ashley Henyan with the Red Cross said volunteers and workers in the D.C. area, flew out of Reagan National Airport Sunday ahead of the storm. “These seven people are joining about 300 Red Cross disaster responders that have already mobilized from across the country to help wherever Ian may impact in Florida or in the Gulf,” she said.

Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause widespread damage. The Red Cross ensures people in the line of danger, have safe shelter, along with warm food and emotional support in the aftermath.

RELATED: Hurricane Tracker: Ian expected to rapidly intensify

“We also provide supplies like hygiene items and then clean up supplies as well depending on the impact of the storm that could include shovels rakes, mops and brooms. And then some of our volunteers are actually trained in spiritual care, and disaster mental health,” Henyan said. 

The added stress natural disasters can cause is inevitable at times. It’s why she suggests having a solid plan before impact.

"Everyone should have an emergency kit, and that should include at least three days of food and water for everyone in your household, including your pets. And what you should do is, you should make sure you also have some extra cash set aside, if you can fill up your car with gas, and then listen to those warnings and evacuation orders and if you are told to evacuate you should do so,” she added.

Blood donations are also a way to help them in providing care for people in the days following a tropical storm or hurricane. Henyan said supplies are in good shape now, but vulnerable with now the second major storm in just a few weeks' time. Financial donations are paramount to ensure they have the resources to help those in need the most.

“It's one thing to donate when the storm hits, but it's another thing to donate regularly throughout the year. Because really, that's helping us be able to respond now. And if you make a donation today, it can help us respond to the next disaster as well,” she said.

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