Grand Strand Red Cross making preparations for Irene

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Volunteers at the Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross are preparing to provide relief as Hurricane Irene bears down on the Carolina coastline.

Executive Director Nanci Conley said Thursday the chapter currently has six shelter locations throughout Horry and Georgetown County to accommodate more than 2,500 evacuees if the need arises.

The shelters in place are meant to serve residents in the Grand Strand region, but can and likely will be used to serve shelter overflow needs from North Carolina as well.

Red Cross volunteers in the Coastal South Carolina Region are also prepared to mobilize to North Carolina to provide back-up for volunteers in areas where the hurricane strikes.

"Volunteers are usually at work for weeks following a disaster like this," said Conley.  "We have to keep them fresh."

The Coastal South Carolina Chapter is waiting for a phone call from their counterparts in North Carolina before they mobilize.

"The Red Cross is like a national family," said Conley.  "We help our immediate, or local family first and foremost, and then we branch out and help our extended family."

The Red Cross makes use of nearly 170 volunteers statewide in South Carolina.

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