NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — At least 110 people are now confirmed dead from devastating wildfires in Maui. The wildfires are the deadliest natural disaster in Hawaii’s state history, according to officials.
Crews from across the country have traveled to Hawaii to help residents, including local chapters of Tennessee’s Red Cross.
“The biggest thing that we can do is help our neighbors, especially when they have been through a time of need,” said Sandy Hughes, a Red Cross volunteer from Murfreesboro.
Hughes has volunteered with the Red Cross for five years and is currently on the ground in Maui. She said the devastation there is the largest she’s experienced.
Hughes said the Red Cross rates disasters on a scale from one to seven and Maui is a seven.
“It takes years to recover from a level seven,” said Hughes. “It will take the community leaning in together and supporting each other to to rebuild what they had.”
Right now in Maui, she’s working with emergency managers to give tips and advice from her previous experiences.
“The island has not been through something like this before, so they’re listening to what we can do, what have we done,” said Hughes.
During each of her 12 hour shifts at the Emergency Operations Center, Hughes said she helps ensure people are fed, have shelter, and their health needs are being met.
Hughes said the Red Cross also makes sure their volunteers are well of in the midst of so much tragedy.
“The Red Cross does a very good job of making sure we’re taken care of,” said Hughes. “They have people that call and check on us just to make sure we’re doing well.”
She said, right now the best thing people can do for the Red Cross is donate to support their efforts by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or visiting their website.
For those interested in volunteering, Hughes said there’s a place for anyone with a passion to help others.
She said there’s a variety of time commitments in a variety of positions, including in their offices, at blood drives, or on the scene of a disaster.
“I think that anybody that has the willingness that you want to give time and help someone, there is a fit for you,” said Hughes.