COLORADO SPRINGS — When disaster strikes, Coloradans answer the call.
That's the mantra from Bill Fortune, spokesman for the Colorado-Wyoming chapter of the American Red Cross, who sent 44 volunteers to the east coast for emergency response related to Hurricane Dorian. Colorado Task Force 1, a team of area firefighters and first responders, as well as airmen from U.S. Northern Command also went to help.
"We often are the first to go and we're quite proud of that. We're proud that our reputation is so good in Colorado and Wyoming," Fortune said.
His team has actually been in place for a week now, setting up shelters and serving endangered people around Orlando just in case.
But Dorian has pivoted and is moving north toward the Carolinas. Earlier Thursday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper pleaded with his citizens to seek shelter.
"This won't be a brush by. Whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage in North Carolina," Cooper said.
In response, Fortune said the Red Cross is now sending volunteers that way. Video shared by news outlets and on social media shows heavy devastation, from downed power lines in Charleston to a devastated mobile home park in North Carolina.
Either way, Fortune and company are ready.
"There's going to be a need for us to be there with our supplies," Fortune said. "We'll be there for weeks and weeks depending on how much damage is there. And that means that our volunteers will be staying on to do case work, individual meetings with individual families to see what their needs are."
Fortune said they bring "just about everything" to respond to emergencies like this. They have diapers, tens of thousands of meals ready to eat (MREs) and more.