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Bay Area Provides Aid To East Coast In Aftermath Of Sandy

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- After superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday evening and continued to wreak havoc along the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Massachusetts, cutting power to millions and flooding homes and streets, the Bay Area is responding to the natural disaster.

The 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard based out of Mountain View sent 100 service men and women Monday to a staging area in Charlotte, N.C., to assist with victims, most likely affected by flooding, according to spokesman Capt. Donald LeBlanc.

He said seven aircrafts, including aerial refuelers and two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, left from Moffett Field Monday to assist with the rescue on the East Coast.

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Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the local Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team is on standby, ready to be deployed for water rescues.

"At this point California is committed to sending water rescue assets and a team if necessary," he said.

According to Gov. Jerry Brown's office, on Saturday ten first responders from teams in the Sacramento and Southern California areas were sent to Virginia to support Federal Emergency Management Agency requests.

Widespread power outages have affected more than 8 million, a top concern that President Barack Obama spoke about at a briefing about the hurricane Tuesday morning.

"The President made clear that beyond the immediate lifesaving and life sustaining activities, which remain the primary focus, he wanted his team to continue to focus on what they can do to support state, local, and private sector efforts to restore power and asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to continue to work in support of FEMA towards this goal," according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security briefing report.

PG&E announced Monday that more than 150 employees were heading to New York to help restore power in the aftermath of the storm.

Utility companies in the storm's path have called for extra workers and recourses, with PG&E called to assist Con Edison in New York City and Westchester County.

PG&E will send overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews and electric first responders and damage assessment personnel along with other support staff.

Locals looking for ways to assist those on the East Coast can head to a Bay Area hardware store, Pedrotti Ace Hardware in Benicia, which is matching customer donations to the American Red Cross's Hurricane Sandy Fund.

The store hopes to raise $10,000.

"We're trying to inspire people" to spread good will, said storeowner Gene Pedrotti.

Customers can make donations at the store located at 830 Southampton Road in Benicia.

Others looking to help can donate blood.

The Red Cross is conducting blood drives in unaffected states because blood donation services in Hurricane Sandy's path have been halted by the storm.

The Red Cross said that 100 blood drive cancellations in 11 East Coast states have resulted in a shortfall of 3,200 blood and platelet donations.

All blood types are needed, officials said, but especially types O-positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood.

According to the National Weather Service, as of Tuesday morning post-tropical cyclone Sandy is heading westward toward the Great Lakes and western New York region and parts of Pennsylvania.

By Wednesday the cyclone is expected to reach Canada.

Strong winds, heavy rain and snowfall and flood warnings are in place along the Mid-Atlantic to New England coast.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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