Coronavirus modifies Red Cross evacuation shelter capacity


FRESNO, California (KGPE) – As California heads into wildfire season, evacuation shelters need to change their procedures because of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Nicole Maul, a spokesperson for the Red Cross shares how they’re preparing.

“We’ll take temperatures when people come in when they leave if they have to come back in, we’ll take their temperatures again, everybody is asked to wear face masks and we actually have a nurse on site 24 hours a day.”

The Red Cross is also reducing capacity at shelters to practice social distancing and Maul says to bridge that gap, they pre-identify other shelter sites and establish partnerships before a disaster strikes such as hotels, schools, churches, and gyms.

“Some of the things we’re implementing in day-to-day life can be hard.  You never know how much you like being close to people, so being focused on keeping that safe six feet, you have to really act with intention, so our volunteers are absolutely amazing.”

The Red Cross is made up of about 90% volunteers.  In the Central Valley, there are around 1,000.  Maul says staying informed, having a plan, and being prepared is the best way to help yourself and your family during these unprecedented times.

“I doubt many of us thought this time last year what preparing for a disaster during a global pandemic would look like.”

The Red Cross says a way to update your emergency kits is to add some face masks.

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