Red Cross Adapts To Disaster Response During Pandemic

The American Red Cross says COVID has forced them to change the way they respond to disasters like house fires, hurricanes, or wildfires.

Mary Jane Coffman, the Disaster Program Manager says a lot of interactions this year at disasters have been done by phone instead of in person. She says before the pandemic, two or three volunteers would get to a scene to provide hygiene supplies, blankets, or even financial help, but now they normally have just one volunteer and they must wear a mask and practice physical distancing when interacting.

Coffman says volunteers have also had to discontinue giving hugs to victims to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"When we are not dealing with the pandemic, it might include those hugs, right now we can't be doing that and so we find those other ways to connect, it's definitely not easy," said Coffman.

Coffman says there has been an increase in kitchen fires across the nation since COVID and she credits that to more people staying at home. If you'd like to find out how you can volunteer or donate, go to red cross dot org or call 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767)