DETROIT (WWJ) – Red Cross volunteers from all over the country are preparing to help out with disaster relief as Hurricane Irene barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

Four volunteers and two emergency response vehicles have been sent to Virginia from the Metro Detroit area.

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WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with Allison Koenigbauer, Communications Officer for the Southeastern Michigan chapter of the Red Cross.

“We want to make sure that we can do what we can to prepare for this, so we go ahead and prepare for the worst so we can respond the way we need to,” Koenigbauer said. “If it end up not being that bad, great, and we’re all really happy!”

Koenigbauer says they send volunteers to areas far enough from potential danger, but close enough to respond properly.

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Koenigbauer said since people sometimes lose track of friends and family in a disaster, the Red Cross now has a “Safe and Well” section set up on their national website.

“That is designed to help people find this loved ones. You can list yourself on the web site as ‘safe and well’. Your loved ones can then check and see if you have listed yourself, and vise versa,” she said. “It’s a great tool and something people should remember and try and do in case they are separated.”

– Get the latest news on Hurricane Irene from CBS News at this link –

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