Friday, September 30, 2011

Where Will The Next Big Earthquake Strike?

Our friends at Infographic have came up with this great guide that shows how earthquakes work and when the next major quake will occur! 

Check it out, and if you happen to be in a shake-zone you sure follow take the Be Red Cross Ready Online Training.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's Welcome Tara to the Preparedness Gang!

Being prepared for an emergency is important even when you are separated from your loved ones. I am a current intern for the Red Cross and working closely with Regional Preparedness Manager, Alex Villa on the Be Red Cross Ready program. From this experience, I have realized the importance of building a kit, making a plan, and staying informed. With my husband recently taking a job out of town and I am currently still living in the Valley, we are now putting together two disaster kits and action plans for each of our homes. A communication plan is vital in our circumstance. As we are currently separated from one another, it is so important for us to plan in advance. We have to take into consideration how we will contact one another, how we will get back together, and what we will do in different situations.

To get things started, we have identified one out-of-town contact person who will be notified if disaster strikes and one of us is involved. The both of us have the updated out-of-area contact information close at hand. It is also important for us to become familiar with the emergency plans for each others place of employment and how they will communicate with families during an emergency. Knowing this emergancy plan will help to prepare and reunite me with my husband after an emergency. Being prepared and knowing what disasters may strike in both areas is important. If and when an emergency occurs, being informed will help determine if we need to stay at our current location or meet one another at a specified evacuation site between the both of us.

There is a lot to think about when preparing for a diaster, with the both of us living in different locations. By building our disaster kits, creating our action plan, and knowing how to stay informed, we are one step closer to being prepared for a disaster. We don’t know if and when a disaster will strike, but having the knowledge and tools to be prepared will help to minimize any stress and chaos. Disaster can strike quick and without warning, knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility. Let this be a reminder how important it is for you and your loved ones to be prepared for any emergency.

Tara Isaak Rothford is an intern in our Preparedness Education and Outreach program. She joins us from California State University, Fresno and is a currently working on her Masters in Public Health Education.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prepare-aphernalia: The Earthquake Safe Bed

As Californians we are constantly worried for "The Big One." You know, the earthquake of earthquakes! While we are long overdue, no one can predict the exact time and date for when and where it will occur. 

I am probably the most prepared person I know, but what if I am caught off guard by the earthquake, like during the night while sleeping? Well, have no fear worry-warts!

A retired Chinese inventor has come up with a way to protect youself from the threat of earthquakes for at least a third of your life as that’s how long you’ll spend sleeping in bed.

The idea for this earthquake-proof bed is not just safe, though, it’s stylish and functional. You might not know it from looking at the picture but the three wooden sides to this bed function not only as a frame, but as storage cupboards that can be filled with earthquake preparedness kits as well as automatically combining to form a “strongbox” which protects its sleeper from debris in the event of a quake. Depending on the supplies they’d packed, a person could survive for several days in such a box.

The bed isn’t commercially available yet, but seems like a good idea for anybody living in an earthquake prone area. Of course, you should also follow these precautions when trying to survive an earthquake.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Red Cross Ready?

While many of you were asleep this morning, the Red Cross was live on KSEE Sunrise helping individuals Be Red Cross Ready for anything. Check out Regional Preparedness Manager, Alex Villa as he teaches Pamela Prado of KSEE 24 how to Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed.

The Zombie Map of the World

How do you combine an obsession with Zombie movies and data analysis of Google Maps?

Simple, you produce the map, above. It was created by Oxford University's Internet Institute - and the guys behind the fantastic dataviz site, Floating sheep: Mark Graham, Taylor Shelton, Matthew Zook and Monica Stephens.

Using a keyword search for "zombies", it visualizes the absolute concentrations of references within the Google Maps database.

The map reveals two important spatial patterns. First, much of the world lacks any content mentioning "zombies" whatsoever. Second, and related, the highest concentrations of zombies in the Geoweb are located in the Anglophone world, especially in large cities.

It also shows how Africa, where the word 'zombie' originally came from, misses out on those criteria.

Graham, whose favorite Zombie movie is the original Romero Dawn of the Dead ("the classic of the genre") says of the map:

The results either provide a rough proxy for the amount of English-language content indexed over our planet, or offer an early warning into the geographies of the impending zombie apocalypse

Note: If you reside in or anywhere near one of the zombie infested areas listed above, be sure that you build  your own zombie preparedness kit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Get Tech Ready: Prep Messages and Tips for National Preparedness Month

Recent weather events such as Hurricane Irene, the earthquake on the East Coast and other natural disasters highlight the need for Americans to prepare for emergencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, the Ad Council and Google Crisis Response are collaborating to launch a new preparedness web resource, Get Tech Ready on behalf of the Ready campaign.
Released just before the start of National Preparedness Month, this new resource educates individuals and families about how using modern-day technology can help them prepare, adapt and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies or disasters.
A recent American Red Cross survey showed that the internet, including online news sites and social media platforms, is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe. 
“As technology becomes more a part of our daily lives, people are turning to it during emergencies as well. We need to utilize these tools, to the best of our abilities, to engage and inform the public, because no matter how much federal, state and local officials do, we will only be successful if the public is brought in as part of the team," FEMA Administrator, W. Craig Fugate.
“During Hurricane Irene, we saw people using new technologies in many ways, whether it was thousands of people downloading our new shelter finder App or others using our Safe and Well site and social media to let their friends and family know they are OK, ” said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “People now have more varied resources available at their fingertips that they can use before, during and after emergencies.”
Get Tech Ready provides Americans with tips on how to use technological resources before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs. Preparedness tips on the website include:
  • Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available; 
  • Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in the cloud or on a secure and remote area or flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available so they can be accessed from anywhere; and
  • Create an Emergency Information Document using the Family Emergency Plan template in Google Docs or by downloading the Ready Family Emergency Plan to record your emergency plans. 
“Get Tech Ready is a resource that will truly help people in the US and around the world understand how they can use widely available technology to prepare for potential crises,” said Nigel Snoud, Product Manager, Google Crisis Response.  “We’re thrilled to be working with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the Ad Council on this public service project.”
“We are delighted to collaborate with FEMA, Google and the American Red Cross to expand ourReady messages through this new web site to educate more Americans about the vital need to get prepared in advance of an potential emergency,” said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. “The web site will provide access to critical resources to Americans addressing the importance of using technology as part of their individual and family preparedness plans.”
Launched in 2003, National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies throughout the year. The Ready campaign was also launched in 2003 by FEMA in partnership with the Ad Council. Since its launch, media outlets have donated more than $900 million in advertising time and space for the PSAs. The new PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are You A Germ-A-Phobe?

If you avoid shaking hands or, worse yet, flushing a public toilet with your fingers, you might just be a germ-a-phobe.

[And if you watched Contagion recently, you're probably even more terrified of a viral outbreak!]

Germ-a-phobes have always filled our workplaces, but their ranks are growing with concerns about H1N1, Bird Flu and Swine Flue. Gone are the communal candy dishes; here are the bottles of hand sanitizer.

Anyway, I highly recommend checking out this article that takes a much deeper look at germs and how our office buildings are crawling with them. One interesting tidbit? Office desks are 400 times germier than toilet seats.

And now that you've read that, I recommend getting busy with some keyboard sanitizing wipes and flu safety tips. Ick.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...

KENYA: The ICRC has setup phone service in Dadaab, for the many thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict and drought in Somalia. This allows refugees the opportunity to make a phone call to an immediate family member or other close relative anywhere in the world. More than 7,200 have taken advantage of the service.

LIBYA: Over the past week the ICRC has been providing medical supplies along the front lines of four disputed areas. The supplies are being staged for use at hospitals to help increase their capacities and capabilities. Additionally, continued support is being made available to those displaced by the ongoing conflict.

YEMEN: The ICRC is currently monitoring the situation in the capital of Sana’a, where a ceasefire has been agreed upon for the conflict between Government forces and protestors.

HUNGARY: Earlier this week the IFRC and the United Nations Volunteers program co-hosted more than 200 volunteer organizations from across the world in adopting a Declarationdetermined to value, recognize and encourage volunteering’s contribution to people, their communities and our planet.

RUSSIA: The IFRC is delivering immediate assistance in the Russian Federation to 1,800 families in the Krasnodarskiy Kray (region) and the Republic of Adygeya, in response to flooding caused by heavy rains.


ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Help Honor A Veteran at the Veteran's Stand Down 2011

Millions of American men and women who served in the military have a difficult time re-joining civilian life.

For nearly a decade American service members have been engaged in two brutal wars in the Middle East. Fresno's Vince Garcia served two tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps. "After I got out I kind of missed the whole military aspect of it and not being in the service."

Clifford Collins served in the late 1980's when drugs were taking hold of many young Americans. Years later he and his wife ended up at the Poverlello House. But last year's 'Stand Down' Brought them new resources, a place to live and a new focus on life.

"Furthering my education. Cause I want to go back to school," said Collins. "I want to go to Fresno City and become a substance abuse counselor. That's what I want to do."

Lingering fall out among veterans of all ages led to the so-called 'Stand Down' ... in war it is a rest from battle.

For three days individuals and families will rest, recharge and connect with available community resources at this years 'Stand Down'.

Too often when the military pay check is gone ... They are left without income.

John Schuler said, "They're coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan wherever and they're moving in to mom and dad's garage or sister Mary's couch and their homeless."

Schuler is a Vietnam era vet looking out for the new generation and so is Keith Rudolph.

"I don't know how they do it," said Rudolph. "They go two, three, four tours. Like John says the family is the one who is suffering."

For current era vets like Garcia his support for fellow veterans has become his work in civilian life. "It's a good investment because you're giving back to those who sacrificed so much for the day to day freedom we utilize every single day."

On September 21st ... The annual 3-day 'Stand Down' will happen here. V.F.W post 89-hundred will open to vets of all ages to 'Stand Down' from their burdens.

Donations in this recession have not yet met the costs, but organizers hope the community will help meet the needs of every veteran needing to 'Stand Down'.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Not So Serious Side of Preparedness.

It's National Preparedness Month, so we decided to ask the Central Valley Staff some questions to help you, our wonderful readers, get to know us better. Throughout September, you will get to meet our team and see The Not So Serious Side of Preparedness.

"The A-Team"
April Henry, Regional Territory Sales Manager, Health & Safety Services
Anya Goosev, Regional Community Resource Manager

How long have you been with the Red Cross?
April: 1 year.
Anya: 1 year, one month, seven days.

What's your most feared natural or man-made disaster?
April Well the mommy side of me says the most natural disaster there is, is when you have a toddler and the diaper mass-destruct’s and goes everywhere…. But I think you are really talking about BIG natural disasters (though the diaper thing can seem huge when you have to clean your child, the carpet, the furniture, the clothes and then finally yourself) but in reality- I am terrified of FIRES! Big, explosive wildfires. 
Anya Tsunami.  Nothing is scarier than a series of waves approaching land at 100 feet high and moving at 100 miles an hour!

What's the strangest or most important thing in your emergency preparedness kit?
April Aside from the obvious and the child issues listed above…have you seen the  things you can make with toilet paper!  It is one amazing product.  So if I had it and I was out in the wilds, and couldn’t get to a shelter or a hotel- I could weave myself a blanket, and then I could wrap that extra soft kind around a log or my emergency backpack to create a soft cushion for a place to lay my head. 

If I’d left without my clothes, I could make an amazing outfit and even a sun sheltering hat- so I would be able to have a second set of clothes.  Not only that, the hat is quite functional!

And while we’ve all played the toilet paper mummy game, it would also come in quite handy to do the same wrap on someone with true first aid needs. 

Add a little water to some of that toilet paper, and you can make toilet paper wads, also known as toys balls for your children while your having to fill the time for them during the disaster.  They won’t get hurt playing with their new toys, and of course its still functional for its true purpose!

When the toilet paper has all been used- your left with the roller…and that is a whole other item full of uses! 

Of course by necessity- you can make binoculars or the kids can play telephone.  They can also sing into it to entertain everyone while they are at the shelter – it will amplify your voice…  or oh my gosh, that means it would also be good as a bullhorn if you needed to shout for real!  We could make them into bracelets to go with our toilet paper attire.

But, if you are in a disaster where you really need fire (not the wildfires I am terrified of) you can stuff a roller with leaves and it is a great fire starter.  And they make great storage.  They work as a splint.
They are green and biodegradable.  They are a win-win product!  

Anya  Since I will be prepared for my most feared natural disaster, I have in my kit: 

Adult sized Snoopy lifejacket – not only will this important life saving device keep me afloat it will bring back happy childhood memories

Boat & Oar – The boat is self-explained, the aftermath of a tsunami is flooding….so, my boat will keep me above water and dry.  Since gasoline will most likely not be available for my boat, an oar will be necessary to maneuver around.

Vibram five finger shoes – No flippy floppies on this boat!  I wouldn’t want to be swimming/walking through the aftermath of a Tsunami and loose a little piggy!

Whistle – Just in case I am stranded and need to let others know that I have survived!

12 gauge shotgun – My thoughts are that Zombies will come out in the event of any natural disaster.  Although we see them mostly in movies, but I think Zombies can attack during ANY disaster and being prepared with a 12 gauge I will be very well equipped to double tap and take them out!

Smokey Joe– This little Webber is so essential (BBQ).  It’s small and easy to carry; perfect little fit on the boat.  It serves two purposes: send smoke signals for others to find me and, I gotta eat!  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September is National Velociraptors Month!

My good friends, I believe it is important to acknowledge the potential for disasters every day and prepare for them accordingly. A hurricane? Sure. An earthquake? Certainly. Velociraptors? INEVITABLE.

September is 
National Velociraptor Awareness Month and "Velocireadiness" is imperative to the survival of our species in the face of the egg-eating, pack-hunting, tricky wood-chipper of a dinosaur: The Velociraptor.

I answer your questions below based my own expertise and the FAQs from, a fine non-profit dedicated to increasing awareness of Velociraptors and their eating
Dear Alex,
In the event of a velociraptor attack, do you recommend standing in a doorway?
Thanks, Eden
Dear Eaten,
First of all, 
we don't even recommend doorways for earthquakes.
Second of all, if you see a raptor approaching and you're standing in a doorway, I GUARANTEE,
you've already been eaten by the one you didn't know was there. Drop, cover, and holdingunder strong furniture is pretty standard procedure for both earthquakes and raptor attacks. 
Is there a preparedness guide for velociraptor attacks?
Yes, it's called "Jurassic Park," you will be amazed how quickly your kids get prepared.
 For everything else there's Red Cross Fast Tips 
How do I make my home Raptor-Ready? Making a plan is key: make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of velociraptors (or fires)Also, practice evacuating your home twice a year. For authenticity, we recommend dressing like a bipedal carnivore and sneaking into your husband's office at night. Remember preparedness can be fun! 
Aren't Velociraptors extinct? No, they just went underground, they're very South Valley. 
For more information on preparing yourself for Raptor attacks see: 

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...

PAKISTAN: Today the IFRC launched a preliminary emergency appeal for $12 million to provide urgent relief and medical support to 105,000 people affected by the devastating floods that have once again struck Pakistan.

JAPAN: The Japanese Red Cross has played a key role in tsunami and nuclear disaster emergency response and recovery efforts. 800 medical teams were deployed immediately after the disaster to run mobile clinics for survivors. With donations totalling $510 million received (of a total $51 billion pledged) by Red Cross Red Crescent societies abroad, another key part of the Japanese Red Cross reconstruction plan is to support the building of temporary hospitals.
KENYA: A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya's capital exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 75 people were killed and more than 100 hurt. Red Cross official Pamela Indiaka said the Red Cross is providing body bags and has dealt with 75 bodies so far. The death toll from the blast may still rise.
ITALYThe 34th Round Table on current issues of international humanitarian law (IHL) recently took place in San Remo, from September 8-10, 2011. Conclusions were made by Dr Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation, ICRC, regarding new weapon technologies and IHL.


ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prepare-aphernalia: The Survival Shotgun

We often discuss the importance of having an easy to grab emergency kit prepared for the necessities of surviving without help for a few days. Earthquakes and Tsunamis have been the big disasters of note over the past few years, and both provide a very limited time frame to get what you need and escape. The Art of Manliness has taken this need of an easy to grab kit, but placed their kit inside of a shotgun instead of a bag.

The kit, as explained in detail here, addresses five core survival needs: water, fire, shelter, signaling, food. Beyond the obvious benefits of having a shotgun for hunting, shotguns typically have a lot of unused space to provide cushion for the kickback and can use special shells that act as signal flares. They mounted a knife, flashlight, various shells, parachute cord (that can be disassembled into several strands), a saw blade, bandana and compass on the outside. In the unused spaces they were able to fit a multi-tool, fire starter kits, and a rather comprehensive survival kit (containing items such as a fishing kit, aluminum baking-pan, water purification tablets, first aid basics, and a survival blanket). They claim it is the ultimate kit for a zombie apocalypse, however I can see a lot of benefits for more practical uses like getting stranded in the mountains.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Red Cross Ready? Free Disaster Preparedness Training This Saturday!

A recent national survey revealed that only seven percent of Americans have taken the recommended actions to prepare for disasters, the Central Valley Chapter and Pacific Gas and Electric have partnered together to help communities be prepared during National Preparedness Month. With a generous sponsorship from PG&E of $150,000 to the Central Valley Region, the Red Cross will conduct activities and outreach to help individuals, families, schools and businesses take action to “Be Red Cross Ready” for all types of disasters and emergencies through a new educational campaign called, Prepare Central Valley.

“The Central Valley Chapter will always be there to provide relief in times of disasters, and we’re also in communities everyday teaching people the skills they need to prepare for and keep their families safer in a disaster or emergency,” said Ellen Knapp, Regional CEO.

To keep preparedness on the forefront of people’s thoughts and daily activities throughout the month, the Central Valley Chapter and PG&E will be holding “Be Red Cross Ready Fresno” on September 17th, 2011 at the Boys and Girls West Fresno Club. This FREE family event will educate both adults and children (ages 9 and older) to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Join the Red Cross from 10:00am to 12:00pm or at 1:00pm to 3:30pm and learn how to build an emergency preparedness kit, create an evacuation plan, and learn lifesaving skills like CPR and First Aid. All attendees will receive FREE pocket first aid kits, preparedness information, and lunch. Not to mention the opportunity to win emergency preparedness kits, radios and first aid kits.

“Preparing ahead of time will help you respond better in a disaster or emergency, and may even save your life,” Alex Villa, Regional Preparedness Manager “Prepared citizens help to create prepared communities. And two great ways for people to help prepare our community are by volunteering or attending this event.”

For more information please contact Alex Villa, Regional Preparedness Manager at (559) 455-1000 or

PG&E Currents: Central Valley Red Cross Gets Financial Boost from PG&E

As community leaders and local residents gathered at Fresno’s Courthouse Park on Friday (Sept. 9) to learn about disaster preparedness, PG&E announced a $150,000 donation to the American Red Cross for local outreach efforts.

The PG&E contribution will go to the Central Valley region of the American Red Cross, which supports Fresno, Kern, Kings, Tulare, Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties.

Ellen Knapp, regional CEO of the American Red Cross Central Valley Region, said the money will help the relief organization educate and prepare communities for that inevitable next disaster — whether flood or fire or something else.

“It’s not a matter of if it is going to happen, but when the next disaster will strike,” she told the crowd.

The financial contribution is part of larger $1 million partnership launched by PG&E and the American Red Cross in April. The American Red Cross Ready Neighborhoods program will provide support to some of the most vulnerable communities across Northern and Central California by setting up disaster-preparedness resources, identifying shelter locations and providing response training and emergency kits.

Speakers at Fresno’s “Prep Rally” included Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and Shawn Cooper, chief of staff for the office of the chairman at PG&E.

Mims talked about the importance of families putting together emergency kits with at least three days worth of critical supplies such as water, nonperishable food items and medications.

Cooper said PG&E has a long history of working closely with relief agencies such as the Red Cross and local law enforcement.

“Safety is important to PG&E,” he said. “We look forward to this partnership,” he said, just before presenting the $150,000 oversized check.

The downtown Fresno celebration also included activity booths, giveaways and safety demonstrations, such as CPR.

In one of the demonstrations, a PG&E lineman used a scaled-down model of a neighborhood to show those at the rally how interference with live electrical power lines could be harmful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Not So Serious Side of Preparedness.

It's National Preparedness Month, so we decided to ask the Central Valley Staff some questions to help you, our wonderful readers, get to know us better. Throughout September, you will get to meet our team and see The Not So Serious Side of Preparedness.

"What Can't You Do With A Cast Iron Skillet?"
Ellen Knapp, Regional Chief Executive Officer
Dana Regier, Director of Operations

How long have you been with the Red Cross?
Ellen: 7 years
Dana: 6 years, Ellen talked me into joining her!

What's your most feared natural or man-made disaster?
Ellen: I would have to say house fires, I've seen everything else happen but house fires scare me the most.
DanaA plague of biblical proportions - especially if it involves something creepy and crawly.

What's the strangest or most important thing in your emergency preparedness kit?
Ellen: I know it may sound mushy but in my kit is a couple of discs with all my children's pictures on it. Also, I would need my pillow, I couldn't survive without my soft and crunchy pillow! For my husband, he would definitely need his coffee, so I guess some Starbucks ground coffee and a coffee press, since odds are there would be no power.
Dana My husband’s cast iron skillet for sure… he can’t live without it and we can use it to cook with and if needed for protection against those creepy crawly things I am terrified of. Also, you could use it to heat your coffee, Ellen!  I would also include a radio, I am a news junkie and so not being able to have contact with the outside world would probably drive me crazy.   

What should individuals do to prepare this September?
Ellen: What we saw and experienced from Hurricane Katrina was many individuals who had no proof of identification nor copies of their important papers. I think this September everyone should make a commitment to scan all of their important documents and place them on a flash drive that goes right in your emergency kit. Also, I think it is also very important that you make a donation to your local Red Cross Chapter so that we can continue to prepare other individuals for disaster.
DanaWhen I think of disaster the movie Red Dawn (1984 original not the remake that may never be released) comes to mind, not because my high school is being invaded by some foreign military but because when I think of disaster I think of bands of people having to fend for themselves just like the band of students in Red Dawn.  Will we ever be able to come together to create a new community after the invasion of the creepy crawly things.  We have to band together, come up with a name (like the Wolverines in the movie) and take down the awful pests so they don’t destroy our world.  In the end we are just ordinary heroes… I’ll use the cast iron skillet to save the day (by the way Alex you can use my skillet against the Zombies)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Join the Ready Rating Program - It's Free, It's Easy, It's Necessary.

The American Red Cross today announced a newly designed website,, to help businesses, schools and other organizations better prepare for emergencies. 
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 and students.
"Emergencies can strike without warning and unfortunately, we have many real-life examples here and abroad from just the past few weeks that remind us of the importance of being prepared – whether it is the Japan earthquake and tsunami, flooding in the Midwest, 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. "Everyone needs to play a role in disaster preparedness, and Ready Rating helps businesses and organizations take action to understand if they are ready for an emergency."
Ready Rating begins with members completing an online comprehensive self-assessment at  Upon completion, every organization gets a customized scorecard which evaluates how prepared they are and 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.
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.
More information about this new preparedness program for schools and businesses can be found at