Red Cross, Augusta Emergency Management and Medical Reserve Corps set up a functional needs shelter at Westside High School

Red Cross, Augusta Emergency Management and Medical Reserve Corps set up a functional needs shelter at Westside High School

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - So far, about 50 evacuees from Savannah are staying at Westside High School. This shelter is a functional needs shelter for people who might have medical needs or just need more time to get adjusted in this situation.

Six buses arrived earlier Monday, Sept. 2, and it was a smooth transition to get everyone inside. That’s because the American Red Cross, Augusta Emergency Management and Medical Reserve Corps have been working for the past few days to set everything up and get supplies together.

Volunteers could be seen this afternoon bringing cots and bottles of water to the shelter. They say it’s an improvement to what we’ve had in the past and they’re excited for the progress.

“Seeing the difference between where we were with Hurricane Matthew, to how the progression came about with Hurricane Irma, to where we are today, and I think you know, practice makes perfect sometimes," said Joe Webber, Director of Emergency Management, Augusta Health System.

Chief Christopher James, EMA Director said, “they can come right in, sign in, and go straight to their cots. So, while it’s been some work, it’s good to have the resources to make sure we can take care of these citizens.”

Executive Director, American Red Cross Susan Everitt said Augusta can house up to 5,000 evacuees and Westside High School can hold around 200 total people. Once a shelter is full, Red Cross recommends using their app to find other locations.

Right now, the app shows three shelters in the area. The one at Westside High School and another at Trinity on the Hill Church. Trinity on the Hill Church is full and Liberty Park Community Center in Grovetown is now accepting evacuees.

If you are planning to go to a shelter, there are some things to keep in mind; Don’t bring firearms, drugs, or alcohol. In addition, if you bring your pets they will not be able to stay with you, but they will be taken to a safe place.

“Opening the shelters is a really big partnership with lots of different agencies here, and Animal Services is one of those agencies that we use, so they help to be able to take care of the pets that are brought here," said Everitt.

Because of this partnership, Augusta Animal Services is not accepting animal seizures this week.

The Red Cross and the Medical Reserve Corps with AU say they are always welcoming volunteers.There are multiple ways you can help out in the community, including sending in donations and giving blood. They expect more evacuees to make their way to Augusta tomorrow, Sept. 3 and Wednesday, Sept. 4.

As more shelters are needed, they will open up and be announced. Stick with FOX 54 as we continue to follow this.

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