HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help prepare for an active hurricane season.

Sunday is the start of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The Red Cross said the time to prepare for hurricane season — which starts June 1 — is now.

“The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before we’re facing one coming at us in a few days,” said Mandy McWherter the regional communications director for the Red Cross of South Carolina.

Volunteers make up 90% of the Red Cross’ workforce. The most needed positions are:

  • Shelter support: Welcome and register residents, serve food, set up cots, distribute blankets and personal hygiene kits and provide information as needed.
  • Health services: Licensed health care professionals provide hands-on support, care and education to people staying in shelters during large disasters. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP and APRN.
  • Disaster action team: Join your local team to help people affected by home fires and other disasters by providing food, lodging, comfort and other recovery assistance.
  • McWherter says the Eastern Chapter has about 250 volunteers covering all lines of service for the Pee Dee, Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. They need more, especially locals, to be better prepared.

McWherter said the Eastern Chapter has about 250 volunteers covering all lines of service for the Pee Dee, Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. They need more, especially locals, to be better prepared.

“It’s wonderful when we can have volunteers within our own state that can respond to disasters quickly, especially if we don’t have as much notice,” McWherter said. “Sometimes with hurricanes we’re made aware that a disaster is potentially coming a few days in advance. But with storms like spring storms and tornadoes sometimes we don’t get a whole lot of notice for those events, so it’s really important that we have trained volunteers available whenever disaster strikes.“

Horry County Emergency Management staff said to be ready because it is expected to be an active season.

“They are predicting an above-average season in terms of storms,” said Thomas Bell, Horry County Emergency Management Public Information Officer.

He also said to be prepared early.

“The last few seasons we’ve seen a system spin up in May and I think every indication from the National Hurricane Center is they would expect that again this year,” he said. “If we start talking about something in the forecast mid May don’t be caught off guard.”

Bell and McWherther both agreed that people need to be prepared before hurricane season arrives. They said to know the risks for hurricanes, get an emergency kit, make a family plan, stay informed from credible sources and make sure insurance is up to date.

To learn more about volunteer options and to sign up to be a volunteer visit the Red Cross’ website.