TN organizations assisting with Hurricane Matthew relief - WSMV News 4

TN organizations assisting with Hurricane Matthew relief

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Three crews from Middle Tennessee Electric are on their way to Florida. (WSMV) Three crews from Middle Tennessee Electric are on their way to Florida. (WSMV)
More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew. (WSMV) More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew. (WSMV)

Organizations from across Tennessee are gearing up to assist in Hurricane Matthew relief efforts.

The state announced Friday that the state departments of health and transportation, the Tennessee National Guard, TEMA, and the Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters will all analyze the availability of assets to send to neighboring states where Hurricane Matthew is expected to have an impact.

TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan said in a release that although the hurricane doesn’t pose a direct threat to Tennessee, the state’s emergency resources may be called upon to aid affected states.

“TEMA has monitored the track of Hurricane Matthew all week, and as it has made landfall we increased our vigilance and communications both with our neighboring states and with our Tennessee and local government partners,” Sheehan said in a release.

The Tennessee National Guard sent helicopters and crews to South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival. Two additional crews flying Blackhawk helicopters from Knoxville have been designated for search and rescue operations.

TDOT officials have been in contact with Georgia and South Carolina, and are on standby to provide assistance with bridge inspection crews and equipment to support those states if needed.

“In the wake of any kind of emergency, restoring transportation is critical in almost every facet of disaster recovery. Our TDOT bridge inspection crews are ready to mobilize and will assist our partners in Georgia in every way possible,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said in a release.

Several other state organizations are also evaluating resources and personnel that could be deployed for public safety needs, or for any needs in Tennessee for human care and sheltering.

Red Cross volunteers join others along East Coast

Red Cross volunteers and staff from across Tennessee have been deployed to the East Coast to assist those living in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

As of Friday morning, nearly 60 Tennessee Red Cross volunteers and staff had already deployed to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. More will be on the way in the coming days.

Eight of the state’s emergency response vehicles have also been activated and deployed for the hurricane.

More than 500 Red Cross volunteers from across the country are headed to the East Coast.

“The mood here where we are is rather hopeful. We keep watching that map and it seems to be nudging a little bit further off the coast of South Carolina, so we are hoping for the best there but preparing for the worst,” said Bob Wallace, a Red Cross volunteer in Florida.

Emergency rescue crews around the state have their gear ready to help at a moment's notice.

Maury County will be one of the first counties to be deployed.

"With not knowing what we are getting into, we take all of our resources with us so we can effectively do whatever we may be called to do once we get there," said Maury County Fire Chief Eric Hileman. "We have everything from wet suits to dry suits to helmets and PFDs. We also carry victim removal equipment, rope equipment and medical equipment."

Evacuation shelters have been set up and more are being established. Click here for more information.

For more information on how to donate to the Red Cross, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit

Utility crews to help restore power

About a million people are without power Friday as the hurricane continues its destructive path up the East Coast. Hundreds answered the call for help in Tennessee.

"They're going to represent Middle Tennessee well, and they are going to go down and make a difference," said Chris Jones, the president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro.

A dozen linemen with Middle Tennessee Electric loaded up nine trucks for the long drive down.

"You've just got to make sure you have all your equipment in tact and have all your climbing gear, all your tools ready, take plenty of water and ice," said Jesse Cunningham, who works as a lineman with Middle Tennessee Electric.

A group of three, four-man crews will go to Keystone Heights, FL, about 80 miles northwest of Daytona Beach, where they will assist Clay Electric Cooperative.

"When they get to Florida, they will be arriving at what we call a staging area, where our guys and others will gather together and they will ultimately get their plans to do their work," said Jones.

About 80 linemen from across the state are going to Florida and some to Charleston, SC, to help restore power. Another agencies going toward the storm include the Red Cross. Roughly 60 volunteers are already there with more arriving over the weekend.

"It's tough because it's going to be total loss and you really don't know what to expect. Every storm's different, you know, there could be several poles down, several lines down," said Cunningham. "People just want to get back to normality in life and that's what we hope to be able to do is build it back as quickly as possible."

The volunteers said they know they are going into a difficult situation, and lots of people will be salvaging what they can. The electric crews are prepared to stay at least week.

Facebook activates safety check

Facebook has activated its safety check feature, meaning users in the path of Hurricane Matthew can mark themselves as safe.

Anyone who has a friend in Florida that they are worried about can ask them to check in and say that they are safe.

For more information, click here.

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