Red Cross releases online tools to help companies, schools with emergency preparations

The American Red Cross has launched a new collection of free online tools to help businesses, schools and other organizations prepare for emergencies.

These enhancements to the Red Cross Ready Rating program offer specific steps that organizations can take to be better prepared.

“Contingency planning is crucial,” Maureen Enegren, the organization’s executive director, said in a May 15 press release. “The new Ready Rating program components make it even easier for organizations to get started and to help improve the readiness level for those who already have plans in place.”

The new features include an emergency response plan tool, which enables program members to build a customized plan to help their employees know their roles in the first 24-72 hours of an emergency; a “next steps” report, which recommends specific actions members should take and the level of effort required to execute them; a resource center, which includes preparedness tools including activities and exercises, so businesses, employees and students can better develop and practice preparedness plans; a Ready Rating store with emergency supplies at the click of a button; and an enhanced user experience that enables easier sign up and access to all tools available.

Emergencies like power outages, water main breaks and medical emergencies can disrupt daily operations. Disasters like tornados, floods, earthquakes and fires have the potential to cause workplaces to fold and schools to close.

In an effort to better prepare for such events, Ready Rating members complete a confidential assessment of their current readiness levels for emergencies and receive feedback with tips and resources for them to improve their readiness scores.

“Our company didn’t have any disaster preparedness plan in place and I wanted help developing one, so I signed us up to participate in the Ready Rating program,” Sean Lunsford of the Bellingham-based comany Workplace Bullying Institute said. “It was probably the single most effective step our business could’ve taken to get prepared. As a result of our participation, our business has a plan to deal with disasters specific to us and our employees appreciate that we’ve made the effort to prepare.”

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