Region 8 Getting Ready for Hurricane Gustav

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- In Region 8, organizations are already making plans for Hurricane Gustav and potential evacuees that could come into the area.

The Northeast Arkansas chapter of the American Red Cross Disaster Relief is preparing for what could happen with the looming hurricane.  On Thursday the chapter got the call that their help could be needed.

"We were called and told that we were a possible site for evacuees," said Eileen Allen.

That's when Allen and other volunteers stepped into action.

"I immediately started calling those people that we have agreements with to set up shelters to give them the heads up so that everybody could be prepared," said Allen.

One of those locations is the First Presbyterian Church that helped out three years ago after Hurricane Katrina.  The church is on standby and will be ready if needed to provide shelter and warm meals to evacuees.

In addition to getting ready in Jonesboro they are also sending their Emergency Response Vehicle down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  That vehicle is packed with containers that they will use to serve two to three meals out of every day in storm impacted areas.  They will serve about 200 people every time they serve a single meal.

Craighead County Deputy Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management Charles Jones said they're already helping coordinate disaster relief from Region 8.

"Both ambulance services located in the city of Jonesboro have been contacted by agencies that work directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding possible needs of helping evacuate patients out of hospitals," said Jones.  Patients would be moved from hospitals in the direct line of the storm to safer locations.

Since the exact location of landfall for Hurricane Gustav is not known, there are a lot of disaster relief agencies that are watching and waiting.

Region 8 News contacted several hotels in the area on Friday to find out what, if anything, they're doing to get ready for possible evacuees from Hurricane Gustav.  The Super 8 Motel has already received several phone calls from people trying to find out if there are rooms available.