Red Cross Provides Disaster Relief During Pandemic


Saturday, May 16th 2020, 11:11 pm
By: Hunter McKee


NORMAN, Okla. -

As severe weather impacted parts of the state Friday night, the American Red Cross said it will continue to reach out and help those who need it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the current pandemic environment, we are taking a lot of precautions,” American Red Cross Oklahoma Disaster Program Manager Mary Jane Coffman said. “We ensure that our volunteers when they go in the field have personal protective equipment they might need.”

Officials said they can still offer resources virtually to keep themselves and others safe from the virus. The Red Cross can assess damage through video conferencing similar to Zoom or FaceTime.

They will then use that information to provide the support necessary such as finding a shelter for families or providing food and water.

“Based on what we did yesterday, we actually have been actually doing a variety of things which include damage assessment,” Coffman said. “This is where homes may have been impacted and where people may have needs.”

The Red Cross will still use crews in the field, but it will monitor their health to make sure it’s safe. The group plans to limit how many volunteers travel in one vehicle.

“It really is about ensuring that everyone is as safe as possible in a very difficult situation when their safety has been compromised because of disaster,” Coffman said.

The Red Cross said it can also help with the mental anguish that goes with storm damage.

“We’ve been doing a lot of messaging around how to deal with anxiety and also sharing messaging of our partners around,” Coffman said. “That and the resources people can connect with.”

If you need assistance during this time, you can contact The Red Cross at 1-800-Red-Cross.