Red cross volunteers mobilize ahead of Irene

COLUMBIA (WACH) - Volunteers with the American Red Cross not letting their guard down yet. The Columbia branch says it will take care of South Carolina first, before reaching out to other states.

11 year veteran of the Red Cross Charlotte Foster donated her time in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. She'll likely remain in South Carolina this time, although other Red Cross volunteers may be deployed should Hurricane Irene devastate the East Coast.

"We have volunteers who have the ability to go more frequently who have stated they would be willing to deploy to our neighbors to the north, if needed."

Governor Nikki Haley took the South Carolina National Guard off alert status earlier today, and won't order any evacuations thus far.

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"We can't ever assume South Carolina gets a pass from a hurricane," said Haley. "I think we always have to be vigiliant, that we are one of those targets. We had a category three staring us in the face was not comfortable by any means."

Foster says a disaster preparedness course is being offered this week for people interested in volunteering during future disasters. Click here for more information on the class.