After devastating storms ripped through the Midwest this past weekend, killing at least eight, American Red Cross volunteers in north central Wisconsin are on stand-by, ready to be sent to disaster areas, the agency said Monday.
American Red Cross workers in Wisconsin knew there would be work to do after tornados left trails of devastation across the Midwest.
"My first thought is I know we're ready to go. I'm always very confident of that. I know that we have really great volunteers," said Wendy Savage, American Red Cross regional development director for the Western Wisconsin Region.
That work starts with assessing damage.
"I know people are impatient and want more information but we have to give these people who are reconstructing their lives a little bit of time to figure out where they're out and where they need to go from there," said Savage.
Officials at the disaster sites are determining if they will request help from north central Wisconsin.
"The closer you are to an event, you're more likely to send volunteers to that particular area," said Savage.
As of Monday afternoon, two emergency response vehicles were on standby in north central Wisconsin, the Red Cross said. Two others were on alert. The vehicles' drivers were also on standby. If those vehicles are deployed south to the disaster areas, they can serve multiple purposes including carrying supplies and also acting as mobile feeding units.
Red Cross leaders say mental health volunteers play a huge role in recovering from devastating events like these storms.
"This is something you can't really prepare for. There's no handbook. It's a grief process. No two people will go through it the same way, so it's really dealing with them, helping them get their families back together," said Savage.
If you would like to donate to disaster relief, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
To donate to the American Red Cross online, visit