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St. Louis Region Sends Help To Sandy-Swept East Coast

(Flickr/The Birkes)

Updated 3:18 p.m. Oct. 31:

The Red Cross of the Greater St. Louis Region says it has increased its support staff headed to help with disaster assistance.

They say they have now brought their number of regional volunteers to 26 and response vehicles to five.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. to include the deployment of Missouri Task Force One's Red team to provide disaster assistance.

A federal response team based in Missouri has been activated to provide assistance to portions of the eastern U.S. hit hard by the so-called “Superstorm” formed by Hurricane Sandy and a strong cold front. 

Missouri Task Force One is an urban search-and-rescue group consisting of engineers, trauma physicians and other specialists.  It’s divided into three teams of 80 people, Red, White, and Blue, and it’s the Red team that’s been deployed east.  Ernie Rhodes is fire chief for West County and one of the task force leaders.

“The team is designed to go out and re-comb the area, search the area," Rhodes said.  "If they find anybody in need of help or entrapped, they will absolutely execute the rescue and or provide aid and care.”

Rhodes says the Red team is en route to northern Virginia, but could be redirected elsewhere.

“You could be going north, and a minute later you’re literally turning around your convoy and going south," Rhodes said.  "So as they get further and further into the area of operation, depending on the particular crisis that (is) on the board to be dealt with, the task force will be directed in that general area.”

Missouri Task Force One is a federal asset under the command of FEMA.  Rhodes is with Task Force One’s White team, which would be the last one deployed if needed.

Our second earlier version:

Though the brunt of Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, several St. Louis-area entities are headed in to help with the aftermath. Here is a summary of some of them. If you know of more, or if you have a personal story to share, let us know in the comments or send an email to our online producer Kelsey Proud at kproud@stlpublicradio.org:

- Kirkwood Electric has a crew in Cleveland, Ohio to help over 200,000 people there who lost power due to high winds following Sandy's travels across the country.

- Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team, has been sent to Herndon, Va. On this trip, the team consists of 80 personnel and over 100,000 pounds of equipment.

Our earlier story:

As Hurricane Sandy continues to pummel the East Coast, Ameren Missouri is sending an additional 150 linemen and field support personnel and releasing 50 more contractors to the region.

Ameren Illinois is also sending nearly 70 workers to the area to asses damage and help restore power. More than 100 Ameren employees and 100 contractors have already been sent to Somerset, New Jersey; arriving Sunday afternoon.

At least 13 U.S. deaths are being blamed on superstorm Sandy, which has knocked out power to more than 5.2 million people across the East. Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline with 80 mph winds Monday night and hurled an unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater at New York City, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street.

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