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American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Launches Red Cross Ready RatingTM Program to Prepare Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits for Emergencies
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October 13, 2009

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter today launched its new one-of-a-kind Red Cross Ready Rating TM program to help businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area with their emergency planning and preparedness efforts. The program was officially unveiled during a special session at the Disaster Readiness Summit 2009 in San Francisco, part of the week’s events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Bay Area organizations can face a number of emergencies that threaten to disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as earthquakes and fires, to the possible widespread H1N1 flu virus that looms this fall and winter. In fact, one in four businesses forced to close after a disaster never reopens. The Ready Rating program can help businesses from becoming part of that statistic.

The Red Cross Ready Rating program offers free membership to businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations, which can use an online assessment tool to measure their current preparedness efforts. Ready Rating members score themselves annually with the assessment and maintain membership by implementing emergency response plans and improving their overall scores each year.

“Twenty years after the devastating Loma Prieta Earthquake, Bay Area leaders of all types of organizations are reminded how important it is to be ready for an emergency, but many might not know where to start or do not have the time,” said Harold Brooks, chief executive officer for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. “This program was created to give businesses, schools and nonprofits an easy starting point so they can feel more confident about the safety of employees, students and clients when disaster strikes.”  

The Bay Area is one of 16 locations this year where the Red Cross is rolling out the Red Cross Ready Rating program. The nationwide launch of the program is supported by a $2.1 million grant from Anheuser-Busch. Other cities in the initial launch include New Orleans, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Raleigh and Chicago, with eight additional cities to be added early next year. 

The Red Cross Ready Rating program also encourages businesses and schools to promote personal preparedness efforts among employees, students, clients and families. A Red Cross survey* showed that only 22 percent of Bay Area residents have taken the steps necessary to prepare for emergencies. 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.

Businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations interested in becoming a Ready Rating member can contact the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter at 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722). More information about the program can be found at www.redcrossbayarea.org.

* 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.

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