AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Local organizations are doing their best to help and create awareness following the severe storms and tornadoes that ripped through the Southeast last weekend.

Although boots were on the ground immediately following the massive destruction in towns spanning from West Mississippi to Central Georgia, one thing disaster relief organizations are stressing the most – is preparedness. 

“There’s nothing you can do when a tornado is on your door step, you just have to ride that out and be safe,” said Evan Peterson, the regional communications manager for the American Red Cross of Georgia. “But, there’s things you can do ahead of time to get out of harm’s way or prepare yourself for those moments.”

Peterson also told NewsChannel 6 they have volunteers in place at multiple locations that were in the storms’ path, including Mississippi.

“They immediately contacted our staffing officials and they said ‘what can be done to get me on a plane immediately over to Mississippi?'” he said. “So, we have had volunteers step up – some who are from those communities who are returning home to help their families and their loved ones.”

In Georgia – Baldwin, Troup and Bibb counties were hit the hardest.

The Red Cross is providing victims there with shelter, food and damage assessment for financial assistance.

The need for blood transfusions for survivors is also high.

“In areas affected by natural disasters, there is typically and increased need for O-blood types as well as platelets and plasma, to be able to help folks that are experiencing injuries and chronic illness and traumas,” said Renita Carroll, the director of community resources for Shepeard Blood Center.

And people at the center are urging you to donate.

“One of the tornadoes touched down in Milledgeville and my daughter was there, she’s in college there, and so it was definitely one of those things were it hits close to home,” said Shannon Norton, a blood donor at Shepeard. “I would love to be able to help people in need, so I think everybody should that can.”

You can sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer, find preparedness tips, and donate through their website. You can also donate blood at the multiple Shepeard Blood Centers throughout the CSRA.