Kansas agencies and volunteers preparing to help Oklahomans

Kansas agencies and volunteers were preparing for what they anticipate will be a request for help from Oklahoma after a tornado swept through Moore, Okla., on Monday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, one volunteer with the Midway-Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross was scheduled to leave Tuesday. The reason more aren’t being immediately sent is because Oklahoma officials are still assessing damages and need, officials said.

“We are just not getting any information in terms of specifics,” said Bev Morlan, regional executive director of the Midway-Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross. “ …We expect to get requests for volunteers to go, but it takes time.

“As Oklahoma officials settle into what they need and identify specific needs, we’ll respond. Their immediate concern will be getting folks out of the area. Once shelters are set up, we can begin to set up places people can come and go.”

The Kansas Adjutant General’s Department is in a similar situation in terms of sending any relief from the Kansas National Guard.

“We haven’t got any requests so far, but it’s a possibility,” said Sharon Watson, public affairs director for the Adjutant General’s Department. “Typically those requests may be within a day or so. It is determined on how much help is needed. Typically, it comes when local and state authorities have exhausted their resources.”

In 2005, Kansas Guards members and Red Cross volunteers were sent to help in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina damaged New Orleans and the Mississippi coast.