The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter today announced it has successfully trained one million people to be better prepared for disaster through the collective efforts of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Catholic Healthcare West and hundreds of community partners and thousands of volunteers. This milestone marks the completion of the four-year Prepare Bay Area campaign that sought to ensure one million residents – or nearly one in every four people in the region – have the skills and knowledge they need to be ready for a disaster, such as a major earthquake or a home fire.
Through the Prepare Bay Area initiative, the Red Cross and its partners provided educational materials and hands-on training to residents in six Bay Area counties, with a special focus on underserved communities. These populations tend to be most adversely affected by disasters both large and small, and they face the hardest road to recovery.
Since the launch of the effort, residents in the Bay Area have demonstrated a marked increase in their levels of preparedness. According to a survey conducted last month of more than 1,200 adults living in the Bay Area, the Red Cross found that 22 percent of residents report being prepared for a disaster. This represents a significant jump from 2006 when only 6 percent of residents reported being prepared. The Red Cross defines complete personal disaster preparedness as taking three key steps: (1) making a plan for household evacuation and communication if separated during a disaster, (2) getting a disaster supplies kit and (3) being informed about how to protect oneself during and after disaster, including getting training in first aid and CPR.
Even as the Bay Area celebrates the growth of what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom calls a “culture of preparedness,” the survey highlights that 78 percent of residents are still not fully prepared for a disaster.
“We’ve come a long way in making the Bay Area one of the most prepared regions in the nation, and we’ve been able to encourage people to take real preparedness action thanks to the collaborative efforts of local government, business and non-profit leaders,” said Harold Brooks, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. “The Red Cross will continue to work with our partners to ensure that everyone in the area has the tools and skills they need to be prepared for disaster.”
The Prepare Bay Area initiative focused significant effort on reaching underserved communities, including English language learners, seniors, people with access and functional needs, youth and low-income individuals. Yet the survey revealed a need for even greater outreach to these groups. People who made more than $75,000 a year were twice as likely to have taken all three steps towards preparedness than those who made less than $20,000 per year, the annual salary equivalent of a minimum-wage job in San Francisco. Also, preparedness levels among the Asian and Latino communities remain lower than their African-American and Caucasian counterparts, with only 17 percent of Asians and 20 percent of Latinos reporting being prepared for disaster.
“The Red Cross has developed a wide variety of culturally-specific, multilingual preparedness information specifically to reach underserved communities,” said Brooks. “By empowering these communities to take preparedness action, not only are we mitigating the effects that a disaster will have on their lives, but we are increasing their safety level on a daily basis.”
The Red Cross will celebrate reaching one million people trained and provide its vision for ongoing community readiness initiatives at its Annual Meeting and Partner Recognition Event on Wednesday, June 10 from 6-8 p.m. at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Conference Center at 245 Market Street in San Francisco.
Community partners from throughout the Bay Area will receive special recognition at the meeting for their efforts in training one million people, including Bay Area Earthquake Alliance, Catholic Healthcare West, Consulate of Mexico, City and County of San Francisco, Harvard Business School, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Publicis & Hal Riney, Sing Tao Daily, University of California, Berkeley, and local Red Cross board members, volunteers and employees.
The event will also feature the stories of those who were involved in the community effort, including remarks provided by special guests Reverend Cedric Alexander of First A.M.E. Church of Richmond and Ophelia Basgal, vice president of civic partnerships and community initiatives for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Details: Telephone survey of 1,201 adults residing within six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties) from April 30 through May 19, 2019. Survey conducted by Issues & Answers Network, Inc.
About the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, your American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter helps residents in six counties prepare for disaster, recover from them and connect U.S. military families torn apart by war, terrorism and natural tragedy. The chapter’s 2,000 personnel, 95 percent of which are volunteers, are all dedicated to saving lives. Every year, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter mobilizes relief to families affected by nearly 500 disasters, trains more than 350,000 people in life-saving and preparedness skills, and exchanges thousands of emergency messages for military, war and disaster-stricken families. Call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY or visit www.redcrossbayarea.org
to learn more. The Red Cross provides nearly half the Bay Area’s blood supply. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) today to schedule your lifesaving donation.