The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to rethink almost everything -- and that includes how we would handle evacuees in a major disaster.
The American Red Cross held a shelter drill in Contra Costa County Thursday and showed what an evacuation center would look like in a world of masks and social distance.
Nobody wants to imagine being chased from their home by fire and a mandatory temperature check, but with fire season heating up, it’s only a time before a fire triggers evacuations.
And now, COVID-19 is making the process even more complicated.
In Thursday’s drill, evacuees were separated by groups, some which were by symptoms. The symptomatic evacuees were placed in cots at least 10 feet apart.
The drill aimed to answer other questions too, like where do you test evacuees with COVID symptoms? Does that happen at the shelter or are they immediately sent to a hospital?
“That’s the beauty of doing this exercise with public health,” said Briana Taylor from the American Red Cross. “We see what we need to address when something really happens.”
Two volunteers were role playing showing how to manage someone who doesn’t believe in wearing masks, or thinks the coronavirus is a hoax.
“Really tried to address it by not telling me I’m wrong but it’s just for everyone’s sake, getting me to cooperate as a good citizen,” said volunteer AJ Beirne.
The Red Cross practiced how to care for service animals and pets too. All to make sure they don't create a new emergency for people already running from a natural disaster.