Help was on the way from the metro-east to the east coast Monday before Hurricane Sandy even made landfall.
"We have 14 volunteers either there or headed there," said Denise Nazzaro with the American Red Cross in St. Louis. "Five of our emergency response vehicles will be headed out to the storm area."
One of the responders is from Belleville and will be headed to Maryland and Delaware. But Nazaro said she couldn't release his name because of security reasons. She said local emergency responders will meet with volunteers from other parts of the country to coordinate the relief effort.
Metro-east residents with family in the path of the storm should use texts and instant messages to communicate with them, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to FEMA officials, texts and instant messages weigh less on cellular phone networks than actual phone calls. So by staying off the lines, emergency communications will have a better chance to go through.
Business and pleasure travelers are urged by airport officials to check with their airlines before they report to the airport.
"Most flights on the eastern seaboard have been canceled," said Jeff Lea, spokesman for Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. "We have had 42 departing and 40 arriving flights canceled on Monday."
Even if you're not headed to the storm site, Lea urged travelers to call. He said St. Louis area travelers otherwise could travel to a hub in Chicago or Dallas only to find that their connecting flight has been canceled because of the storm. Travelers could end up being stranded in an airport for days while they wait for the traffic jam of stranded fliers to break up.
Airport workers could not say how long the storm would back up the air travel system. But delays could last several days because some of the busiest airports in the world in the New York City area have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Typically, Scott Air Force Base is at the heart of disaster responses because of its role as home of the Air Force's Air Mobility Command. But 375th Air Mobility Wing spokesman Mst. Sgt. Jerome Baysmore said it has not been asked to send manpower, equipment or supplies to the east coast.
"When things like this have been happened in the past we have been used as an evacuation base," Baysmore said. "But this time they went elsewhere and they didn't need us."
Baysmore said he is doubtful that Scott Air Force Base will be asked to provide support later.
"Usually if they were going to tap us, they would have done it by now," Baysmore said.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2626.