NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As Hurricane Ian threatens Florida’s west coast, the American Red Cross is already working with state and local officials to prepare for the storm.

Sherri McKinney, the Regional Communications Director for the Red Cross Tennessee Region, is in Orlando, working on preparations.

McKinney said this is a storm Floridians need to take seriously, “This is going to be a significant wind and water event. And especially with flooding possible throughout this area, there is heavy concern. And the last track I saw looked as though the storm is going to literally swath up through the coast. It’s going to be the entire length of Florida from what we can tell.”

Right now, the Red Cross is setting up evacuation sites in Florida, Georgia, and other east coast states.

“We do have several evacuation centers that are being opened today. And, of course, post-landfall will begin sheltering, full Red Cross sheltering, 24/7 in areas that are impacted,” said McKinney.

For folks in Middle Tennessee, McKinney recommended reaching out to loved ones now.

“The important thing for folks to know is that if you have family or friends who live in Florida, let them know that they need to start preparing now because, by tonight, it may be too late,” she said.

McKinney said the Red Cross has been busy responding to numerous disasters.

“We’ve literally come off of still battling the Western wildfires, and then the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico, and then the typhoon and Alaska. I mean, we’ve really taken it on the chin,” she said.

The best way to help, according to McKinney, is by donating.

“Folks can, of course, step up and volunteer to be a disaster shelter worker, volunteer to be any kind of volunteer for the American Red Cross. But, the easy way to help, and the quick way to help is to go to And follow the links for donation financial donations because these are very, very costly disasters that we’re seeing.”

If you’re interested in donating to help the Red Cross, visit this link.