WJZ Community Commitment: How You Can Help Oklahoma Tornado Victims

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The monstrous tornado that swept through Oklahoma Monday afternoon left dozens dead and countless without homes.  The cleanup and recovery from this disaster will take some time.

Jessica Kartalija has more on disaster relief efforts being made in Maryland.

The destruction left behind by the tornado in the Midwest has Maryland Red Cross volunteers, like Sherry Rubin, on stand-by.

“I am waiting for someone to say ‘OK, pack your bag and go,’” Rubin said.

Nationally, the Red Cross has already deployed 25 mobile help centers.

“We go in listening because sometimes people just want someone to talk to aside from the other things we do, which is client case work and sheltering,” Rubin said.

The National Red Cross does an assessment of damage before calling on chapters for help.

“The Red Cross in Oklahoma has set up six shelters, and we have emergency response vehicles on the ground distributing food and much needed items like toiletries and things like that,” said Doug Lent, Red Cross Oklahoma.

In Cockeysville, the Red Cross is putting together comfort kits that include tooth brushes, soap and shampoo.

Close by at Texas Station in Baltimore County, members of Pennsylvania Task Force are also ready to go.

“Normal notice, they are looking at wheels up six hours, that includes us getting there going through check in, medical clearance, issue of equipment,” said Lt. Paul Cusic, Baltimore County fire.

If called to the scene, the FEMA team task force assists first responders who have already conducted their initial rescue searches.

“We have equipment that will allow us to listen into the pile if you would, like a stethoscope, for mumbles, moans, bangings, whatever,” Cusic said.

They also have special cameras to see if there are any victims trapped in the collapsed areas.

“We can go in and start shoring up the buildings, securing the inside so they can start moving deeper into collapsed areas to rescue people,” Cusic said.

As the people in Oklahoma recover, WJZ urges you to help the disaster relief efforts. To donate to the cause,  click here or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

More from Jessica Kartalija
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