Coverage of the deadly tornado that demolished homes and schools in Oklahoma on May 20.

Volunteers Ready to Help Oklahoma Tornado Victims

By R. Stickney and Megan Tevrizian
|  Tuesday, May 21, 2013  |  Updated 11:50 AM PDT
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Dramatic Photos: Oklahoma Tornado Strike

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Dana Ulepich looks at the debris from her house destroyed by a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma.

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Photos and Videos

Raw: Massive Funnel Clouds in Oklahoma

Massive funnel clouds were videotaped in Oklahoma on Monday. One massive tornado struck Moore, near Oklahoma City, killing more than 50 people.

Raw: Widespread Destruction in Moore, Okla.

The tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday cut a wide path of destruction through the center of the city. As of Tuesday morning, 51 were known dead. The medical examiner's office says dozens more may have died.
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San Diego Fire-Rescue teams spent the morning Tuesday packing, ready to jump into action if needed by Oklahoma tornado victims

NBC 7: Devastation in Oklahoma

San Diego Search and Rescue Task Force 8 (TF8) members organized 14 aircraft-sized pallets with search and rescue equipment, medical equipment, and logistics to support an 80-person team in a disaster area.

The pallets are netted in a configuration so they can be delivered by air or ground.

“We are first up in the national rotation so if they have an extended incident or they have another incident, we are up to be called for any type of extended operation,” said Battalion Chief Chris Webber.

Once the team lands it’s a full-time, non-stop search and rescue effort.

“When you’re deployed to that, you have a mission, a job to do,” Webber said. “You focus on that.“

The hurry-up and go part of the job keeps their minds occupied.

“So you don’t get too wrapped up in the emotional part of it,” he explained.

The American Red Cross was preparing to move more than 25 Emergency Response Vehicles to Moore, Oklahoma at first light Tuesday.

Members of the San Diego’s chapter of the American Red Cross say they believe it’s likely they will send an ERV to help in rescue and recover efforts at the scene of Monday’s devastating tornado.

One San Diegan will head to Washington, D.C., to help with coordinating relief efforts Red Cross officials said.

As officials get a better idea of the damage caused by Monday’s powerful tornado, they may request more help.

“Over the course of the next 24 to 36 hours, we’ll be deploying people,” said Red Cross public information officer Amy Laurel Hegy. “Just begin to do what we can. Watch Video

Hegy was in Joplin for three weeks as one of 130,000 volunteers following a deadly tornado two years ago today. She described what she imagined the atmosphere is like on the ground in Moore, Okla.

“Right now it’s chaos personified,” she said. “A large number of people are coming in to assist wherever they can.”

“The mood there is going to begin to shift dramatically. Right now everyone has adrenaline going and they don’t really know which way they’re going. Things are going to be settling down where people will begin to really come into the shelters,” she said.

Texting 90999 from your mobile phone will send a $10 donation to the American Red Cross.

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