Area volunteers join effort to aid Texas flood victims

 Bob Schmidt fields phone calls from Texas flood victims in Philadelphia. (Courtesy Bob Schmidt)

Bob Schmidt fields phone calls from Texas flood victims in Philadelphia. (Courtesy Bob Schmidt)

Volunteers and emergency responders from the Delaware Valley are pitching in to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

With emergency assistance lines busy in Texas, workers at the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have been helping field some of the calls.

Bob Schmidt, a Red Cross emergency services worker, has been on the phone with Texans who were flooded out and need help.

“What I’m doing is taking people’s information and giving them advice about what to do and passing it along to the relief operation in Texas,” he said Monday. “What the Red Cross is doing down there is sheltering people, last time I checked there were more than two dozen shelters open in Texas.”

As a disaster-action team coordinator who often works with people displaced by fires, Schmidt has experience helping those who’ve lost everything.

“We’re able to size up the situation. We’re able to offer financial assistance, lodging,” he said. “Beyond that, the Red Cross works with the folks to build a recovery plan.”

Along with Red Cross volunteers, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have sent urban search and rescue teams — including members of area police and fire departments — to Texas.

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