Hurricane relief efforts include help from local volunteers and area fire departments


CREVE COEUR, Mo. – American Red Cross volunteer Brett Williams says it’s hard to grasp how widespread the damage is in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida, even after you see it in person.

“I’ve driven 100 miles in either direction and there’s no electric,” he said.

Some of the direct relief volunteers are providing includes meals in communities without power. Williams said the effort can include 12- to 18-hour days in challenging conditions. He adds the hard work is well worth it.

“I receive more than I give when I’m on these disasters with the Red Cross,” said Williams.

Eleven Metro East firefighters will soon be in Louisiana to help with the relief effort. They were filling up a trailer with supplies on Labor Day and will depart Tuesday morning. The response is part of Illinois’ Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.

“The firefighters have to be self-sufficient for 72 hours,” said Chief Tom Elliff, Signal Hill Fire Department.

Many of the firefighters are volunteer firefighters.

“They are actually taking time off from their full-time jobs for these two weeks and help,” said Chief Brad White, O’Fallon Fire Rescue.

The firefighters are expected to provide some relief for firefighters in Louisiana, giving them a chance to take care of their own families.

“Knowing that we are going to help our brother and sister firefighters in the state of Louisiana, there’s no greater joy than that,” Elliff said.

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