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American Red Cross of Utah sending help to Hawaii

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 12, 2023

MAUI, Hawaii — It has been a few days of massive wildfires turning the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui into ash and rubble, and people from the Beehive State are helping those in need. The American Red Cross said they are gearing up to deploy experts and experienced volunteers who can help on the islands. They are planning to help for months, as long as Maui needs them.

“We prioritize immediate recovery. There’s thousands of people that have lost homes just like that,” explained Matt Stevens, a regional disaster officer for the Utah-Nevada region of the American Red Cross. “Our priority is to go through and get folks those essential items that can help them get through day by day. So that’s giving shelter, feeding, emotional support.”

While multiple teams and individuals are gearing up to make the trip, one person from Utah will be heading out on Sunday. Volunteers usually stay for weeks at a time.

“It’s going to be a very challenging situation in that 3-week time commitment — that’s 12-hour days. These are people that are really dedicated to the mission of alleviating human suffering,” said Stevens.

He added that you can sign up to be a volunteer at their website, and based on your skill and experience levels, they will train you to help others. They could also use financial donations now instead of supplies.

“With money, we can do a lot. we have professional people in place who can get supplies to people on the ground in Hawaii,” said Stevens.

Stevens also wants to remind people to always be prepared for emergencies.

“We all know here in Utah, we’re not immune to wildfires, so we too need to prep up for those next disasters, so that we’re making the lives of the first responders that much easier," he said. "They can focus on putting out the fires as opposed to worrying about the loss of human life.”

Two people from Utah Task Force 1 are helping battle the blaze in Hawaii. They arrived on Friday and will do all they can to help. FOX 13 News will have more details on their progress and share those as we learn more.