Red Cross volunteers heading south to prepare for Irma response

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The staff at the Red Cross has been extremely busy for the past couple of weeks. They responded to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and with Hurricane Irma making her way into Florida soon they are in need of more willing workers.

Dozens of volunteers and staff members from the Lexington-area are wrapping up their two-week deployments. Now the Red Cross needs new volunteers to respond to Houston, on top needing volunteers to deploy to Florida as Irma arrives.

Some of the volunteers already responding to Irma loaded up on Friday to head out in one of the Red Cross emergency response vehicles (ERV) equipped to serve meals. Charlene Qualls and her husband have responded to disasters before. They say after watching all the coverage from Harvey's aftermath, they knew they wanted to help.

"First thing I wanted to do was go," said volunteer Charlene Qualls. "I wanted to go and help we drive the ERV. There's only so many ERVs, so we were waiting until one became available. One did, and so instead of going to Texas, we are going to Florida."

They will be driving to North Carolina Friday to a staging area, ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Statewide, the Red Cross staff hopes to train 100 new volunteers per week.

The first group training class in Lexington will take place Thursday, September 14th. The class will be an overview of disaster services and will run from 3 o'clock until five at the Bluegrass Area Chapter office on Newtown Pike.