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Arizona emergency workers ready to help back east

PHOENIX — Arizona disaster and emergency responders are ready to go should they get the call to help with superstorm Sandy cleanup and aid efforts.

An Arizona task force team made up of Phoenix firefighters and police officers could be called out to help and Arizona Red Cross spokeswoman Trudy Rice said many of the agency’s 900 volunteers trained in a wide range of areas are ready to head east as soon as the call comes for help.

“Everybody from registered nurses to mental health providers, truck drivers, shelter providers, etc.,” she said.

The 80-member task force team is always on standby for emergencies anywhere in the country. The group has trucks filled with the gear/supplies that could hold them over for 2 weeks to a month. Frank Nunez with Phoenix Fire said all it will take is a call from FEMA.

“We’re ready at a moments notice, within 24 hours to ship out.”

The team has been deployed to New York after Sept. 11 and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The Red Cross volunteers have been told they could be gone for three weeks although Rice said that rarely is the case.

She said the best thing Arizona residents can do to help is give blood or cash.

“The routine blood drives in the east have been cancelled and the blood supplies need donors.”

Rice said hundreds of volunteers will stay in Arizona in case of another emergency, such as a California earthquake.