Volunteers preparing to assist in areas hit by hurricane Matthew

Posted at 9:21 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 00:31:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- As Hurricane Matthew approaches the east coast, Red Cross volunteers will head into the areas getting the brunt of the storm.

A Salt Lake City woman is preparing to fly out on Friday to help.

Carol Fudyma said she signed up to drop everything and help in the aftermath of the storm. The Red Cross put her on alert, meaning she had eight hours to pack and prepare to go. Her life for the next two weeks sat scattered across her dining room table Thursday evening.

“My boots, my socks, my raincoat and my hat,” she said, listing off her belongings. “I have to pack light.”

Light means packing for only six days. Fudyma said she’ll recycle her clothing to survive for more than twice the amount of time. She will bring her medical kit and 45 years of nursing experience, and she’s ready to do whatever the Red Cross needs.

“I have been asked to do potentially a couple of different things, because I have a couple of different hats I wear,” Fudyma explained.

That could mean driving an emergency response vehicle to deliver supplies and food to shelters, or walking around neighborhoods to bring meals and first aid help.

Hurricane Matthew isn’t Fudyma’s first rodeo. Fudyma said she helped out during massive floods in West Virginia. She knows what she’s in for.

“What you see is human pain, human loss, human suffering,” she said. “People need help. It's major destruction, and if you don't go, who's going to go? People have to go.”

Meanwhile, some Utahns are already on the east coast, in the thick of the storm. Dawn Lynch is on vacation in Florida, and he explained to us via Facetime what it’s like in Orlando.

“At least three gas stations we passed were all closed because they're out of gas,” she said.

Lynch and the friend she’s visiting, Mary Howington, had plans to visit Disneyworld on Thursday. But, that got canceled because the theme park had to close down early. She said the park will stay closed Friday, as Hurricane Matthew flies in with force.

She said neighbors in Howington’s neighborhood have boarded up their homes, and the crowds at local stores are insane.

“They’ve got signs on the registers: They're out of ice, water, propane, flashlights,” Howington listed off.

They’re preparing for what’s to come by stocking up on water, food, gas and keeping all electronics fully charged. Howington said they moved belongings away from windows and plan to hunker down and wait the storm out.