Local volunteers, firefighters in Texas could come home this week

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – More than 30 local Red Cross volunteers and Harrisburg firefighters deployed to Texas are expected to return this week.

“As the water recedes, the real work begins, said Jeri Sims, CEO of Red Cross Central Pennsylvania. “Our relief efforts will switch from an immediate response to a recovery mode.”

In all, the Red Cross has at least 3,000 volunteers in Texas with about 450 on the way.

As the first wave of local volunteers come back, more will be sent, some in between.

Sims says the relief effort could take months, possibly years.

“No one organization could handle this large of a response effort,” Sims said.

The four Harrisburg firefighters deployed with Pennsylvania Task Force One should arrive in the next day or two.

“We have been in constant contact with them. They’re doing well,” Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said.

The firefighters are in the company of 40 other first responders from around the state.

“After what we saw in Katrina, that’s what really spiked the need for FEMA to be involved in the responses to hurricanes,” Enterline said.

At this time, it’s not clear if more firefighters will be deployed.

Sims says financial support and manpower are the two things needed most in the relief effort. “It’s important that folks know that if they want to support the Red Cross and they want to support the Harvey Recovery Effort, they can contact the Red Cross.”

Those who wish to volunteer can contact the Red Cross at 866-311-3832. Donations can be made online or by texting the word ‘donate’ to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.

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