Nearly a month has passed since South Carolinians faced the onslaught of historic flooding across the state. The American Red Cross continues to provide disaster relief services where needed and is ramping up recovery services for all those affected by this disaster. As additional flood warnings have been issued with rain continuing to fall across much of the state over the past 24 hours, now is the time to increase the level of preparedness in all South Carolina communities. The Ready Rating program helps businesses, schools and organizations assess their preparedness and assists with understanding and implementing important changes to existing plans.
More than 12,000 organizations have joined the Ready Rating program since its inception. It is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps businesses, schools and organizations measure how ready they are to deal with emergencies and gives customized feedback on how to improve preparedness efforts.
Last month’s flooding disrupted operations for a number of South Carolina organizations. The updated Ready Rating program, which the Red Cross offers at no cost thanks to its sponsors, encourages members to recognize five essential components of preparedness:
- Commit to preparing.
- Understand threats to your place of business.
- Ensure you have the right equipment and your facility is ready.
- Practice your plan.
“Unfortunately, last month’s flooding provided a real-life reminder that emergencies can strike without warning, and the current flood warnings show we need to remain vigilant in preparing for the next disaster,” said Louise Welch Williams, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region. “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.”
The updates to the Ready Rating program include the choice of using one of the two assessments of either 25 or 60 questions, which allows the organization to select a depth of measurement appropriate for its size and the steps it has (or has not) taken to get prepared. Topics include hazard vulnerability, continuity of operations and employee readiness.
Once a baseline assessment is established, the program focuses on helping them be better prepared, including steps they can take to improve their readiness for disasters and other emergencies. A new Next Steps Report points to specific “actionable” tools in the Ready Rating Resource Center. Some of these tools include video topics introduced by Red Cross staff and members of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, a 50-member group that guides the science behind Red Cross programs.
Ready Rating is designed for those in the beginning stages of planning for emergencies as well as those who want to ensure their current emergency plans will meet their organizational needs.
“Having prepared, trained responders is just one part of making sure South Carolina is ready to handle an emergency,” Welch Williams said. “Some disasters are so large that government agencies and groups like the Red Cross can’t do it all, and all organizations, including businesses, schools, houses of worship and non-profits must be ready to take care of themselves and their neighbors.”
More information about this preparedness program can be found at ../../AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Documents%20and%20Settings/Lauritzend/Local%20Settings/Local%20Settings/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Local%20Settings/Local%20Settings/defranciss/Local%20Settings/Local%20Settings/baileyi/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/OLKA/www.ReadyRating.org">www.ReadyRating.org. For more emergency preparedness tips, visit www.redcross.org/prepare.