CHICAGO (CBS) — Some ComEd crews and others from the Chicago area have started heading east, ahead of Hurricane Sandy, to be in place to help with recovery once the storm makes landing next week.

WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports, when disaster strikes, Susy Turnbull mobilizes. She’s the director of disaster services for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Turnbull said she’ll be overseeing volunteers opening and manning shelters in Virginia. She’s done this kind of thing for 17 years, and using her experience, she’ll try to keep chaos to a minimum.

“It’s a disaster, and we try to have organized chaos. And I think that’s something, going in, we know that we don’t know, and we’re just prepared to be able to deal with whatever happens,” Turnbull said. “The best part of, I think, what Red Cross people like about going into these jobs is the unknown, and then being able to quickly figure it out, and do what’s best, and be able to serve the community. So it’s very exciting.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports

Turnbull said most Red Cross volunteers are trained in providing disaster relief services.

“This is something, on a day-to-day basis, a lot of our volunteers they work with their local chapters, and they do things on a much smaller scale, similar to what they’ll be doing out there,” she said. “You know, volunteers are great people. When they see stuff like this happening, they’re willing to just pack up everything in their lives and go out there.”

ComEd spokesman John Schoen said more than 240 crews will assist the company’s sister utilities in Philadelphia and Baltimore in the wake of the storms.

“It’s more than 700 people that are going to be heading out. We’re not sure how long they’re going to be there. But right now they’re preparing to be there several days to help in the restoration effort,” he said Saturday.