SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Volunteers from the American Red Cross office in Sioux Falls have been crisscrossing the country responding to areas impacted by severe weather this winter and spring. From blizzards out West to tornadoes down South, those volunteers have logged thousands of miles in order to help storm victims. One volunteer from Hartford who’s just back from the flooding in California and is ready to be on the go again.

DeeDee Larson has been a Red Cross volunteer for just over a year and is already used to living out of a suitcase.

“You get home, you try to get back into normalcy, but it’s like you know that anytime you could be leaving again and everybody at home accepts that,” Larson said.

Larson just returned from a two-week deployment helping flood victims in California.

“I was doing what they call life-safety asset protection, so we made sure that all of our areas such as shelters and our warehouses are all safe for our clients as well as our staff,” Larson said.

The American Red Cross has already deployed some 25 hundred volunteers to disasters this year, that’s an increase of more than 40 percent from the same time a year ago. That number includes more than 50 volunteers from the Minnesota and Dakotas region alone.

“I think busy is an understatement. I think we’re looking at record numbers as far as volunteers, disasters, both nationally and locally and the number of folks who are deploying out,” Eastern South Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross Executive Director Patty Brooks said.

The Sioux Falls office of the Red Cross has to strike a delicate balance between sending enough volunteers to other parts of the country, while at the same time making sure there’s enough staff available here to respond to natural disasters in South Dakota.

“We still have our disasters here at home in our backyard in eastern South Dakota. We have single-family home fires that happen, unfortunately. We had a multi-family home unit up in our region in Plymouth, Minnesota right now,” Brooks said.

The Red Cross also had shelters in place in case drivers were stranded along the Interstates in South Dakota during this week’s snowstorm. Now the focus is on the flood potential in the state with the snowmelt. But whatever threat looms in the future, the Red Cross is vowing to be ready to respond.

“We are up to the challenge. The Red Cross stands ready 365 days a year,” Brooks said.

A Red Cross volunteer couple from Aurora left South Dakota Friday for Little Rock, Arkansas to help tornado victims there.