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Local power crews, emergency aid volunteers on standby to help during Hurricane Florence

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Local power crews, emergency aid volunteers on standby to help during Hurricane Florence (IMG:WPMI)

Local power crews and emergency aid volunteers are on standby to head east to help those affected by Hurricane Florence.

However, that all depends on the path of other newly-formed hurricanes currently traveling through the Caribbean.

As Hurricane Florence continues to intensify and barrel toward the East Coast, preparations have already begun locally to help those caught in the path of what's expected to be a devastating Category 4 storm.

Mark Ingram, Vice President of Corporate Services and Public Relations for Baldwin EMC, says they have already begun mobilizing crews with ladder trucks and equipment to provide aid to those impacted.

"You have a lot of trees that can fall into the power lines and break spans of wire. Poles that will snap in two, transformers that can come loose," said Ingram.

The only problem, Ingram said, is two storms now churning through the Caribbean.

"Our crews are ready but we can't make that decision because we want to make sure that we have crews on hand to take care of our needs if Isaac or Helene come our way," Ingram said.

The South Alabama chapter of the Red Cross, which handles 10 local counties, including Mobile and Baldwin, is also facing the same decision.

Officials said around 200 disaster response volunteers are ready to head toward any destruction caused by Hurricane Florence.

"They'll need a lot of help. So God willing, these two disturbances over our way don't amount to anything. Then we'll be prepared to send emergency response vehicles, materials, volunteers over to the Carolinas," said Michael D. Brown with the South Alabama chapter of the Red Cross.

Officials said it’s important to be able to help as quickly as possible.

"We want to provide that mutual aid because we never know when we're going to need it here," said Ingram.

Officials with both Baldwin EMC and the Red Cross will be monitoring the storms daily and the decision whether to send crews could come by the end of the week. However, no timeline is set.