Responding to disasters did not take a break because the world was dealing with a pandemic, and the 2020 wildfire season has proven to be one of the worst on record.
In March looking ahead, Red Cross leadership recognized what was going to happen, so disaster workers went to work preparing and adapting how the same level of service could be provided while keeping everyone COVID-19 free. A massive recruiting effort was made to bring in more than 250 volunteers into the region to make sure enough people could answer the call. All were trained on how to best offer services while covering-distancing-cleaning.
Evacuation points were added into the process to allow for better social distancing. The use of individual hotel or dormitory-style rooms was prioritized to keep evacuees safe. And finally, only minimal staff was allowed on-site, pushing the Red Cross to virtually adapt its work and services.
Even while we’ve responded to massive, widespread disasters, the Red Cross has also continued to respond to home fires every day by providing families who have lost everything with the support they need amid this pandemic.