American Red Cross Launches National Ready Rating™ Program to Prepare Businesses, Organizations and Schools for Emergencies
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WASHINGTON, Thursday, May 12, 2011 — The American Red Cross today launched a newly designed website, ReadyRating.org, to help businesses, schools and other organizations better prepare for emergencies. The announcement was made at an event involving business, education and government leaders at Red Cross national headquarters in Washington DC.
Ready Rating™ is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps a business or school measure how ready they are to deal with emergencies, and gives customized feedback on how they can improve their efforts.
Schools and businesses may face a number of emergencies that could disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness such as the flu. The Ready Rating Program can help them feel more confident about the safety of their employees or students.
“Emergencies can strike without warning and unfortunately, we have many real-life examples from just the past few weeks that remind us of the importance of being prepared – whether it is flooding along the Mississippi River, or the record number of tornadoes that devastated Alabama and other communities throughout the South.” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “Studies show that between 15 percent to 40 percent of businesses fail following a natural or man-made disaster, so Ready Rating can help save lives as well as livelihoods when disaster strikes.”
Ready Rating begins with a comprehensive assessment of whether a business or organization is prepared to handle a disaster. Members score themselves on how prepared they are and receive steps they can take to improve their readiness planning. The assessment covers items from hazard vulnerability to continuity of operations and employee readiness. Ready Rating is also consistent with Private Sector or PS-Prep Standards developed by the Department of Homeland Security.
The program began with a successful pilot in nine cities with a $2.1 million grant from Anheuser-Busch. Sam’s Club is now supporting Ready Rating™ by providing $500,000 to help bring the program to additional cities. The program has been revised with an enhanced website that can be used across the country by schools, businesses and other organizations.
“Anheuser-Busch has a long history of partnering with the American Red Cross to support disaster relief,” said Margarita Flores, vice president of Community Affairs at Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to be the national founding sponsor of the Ready Rating Program and believe preparedness is key in keeping our communities safe by providing this important resource to schools and businesses.”
“Sam’s Club serves nearly 600,000 small business owners daily throughout the nation, and we see firsthand the devastating impact a natural disaster or other unplanned event can have on their operations,” said Mike Turner, senior vice president, Membership. “We are pleased to be able to support the Red Cross in their efforts to help small businesses better prepare so their families and customers can continue to rely on them in the event of a crisis.”
Ready Rating also encourages businesses and schools to work with their employees, students and families to get prepared at home. A 2009 Red Cross survey* showed that 51 percent of Americans have experienced at least one emergency situation where they lost utilities for at least three days, had to evacuate, could not return home or communicate with family members. Although 89 percent of those surveyed believe it is important to be prepared for emergencies, far fewer are actually taking the steps necessary to prepare.
Ready Rating is designed for those who are in the beginning stages of planning for emergencies as well as those who have already done so and want confirmation on their preparedness level. It will give these groups ideas of what they can do to better prepare themselves for the next emergency or disaster.
“Having prepared, trained responders is just one part of making sure a community is ready to handle an emergency,” McGovern said. “Some disasters are so large that the government and the Red Cross can’t do it all, and businesses, schools, houses of worship and citizens must be ready to take care of themselves and their neighbors.”
More information about this new preparedness program for schools and businesses can be found at www.ReadyRating.org.
*This research was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Red Cross between July 24 and August 7, 2009 among 1306 U.S. residents aged 18 or older, including an over-sample of 487 mothers of children under 18 weighted appropriately into the general population sample. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.