Preferred Mutual Insurance Company and the American Red Cross of the Southern Tier have teamed up for a program called “Preparing for the Unexpected” that is enabling residents of Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties to be better prepared for floods, house fires and other disasters.
Administered by the American Red Cross, the program is using Disaster Preparedness volunteers trained by the Red Cross to provide person-to-person preparedness information to at least 1,300 residents from throughout the three counties. The program is targeting residents most vulnerable to experiencing a disaster, and it also includes collaborative relationships with other nonprofit agencies and community partners that will enable Disaster Preparedness education to continue beyond these initial presentations.
Headquartered in New Berlin (Chenango County), Preferred Mutual has donated $5,000 to the Red Cross to support the training for the Disaster Preparedness volunteers who are offering the “Preparing for the Unexpected” presentations.
“As a mutual insurance company, we are in the business of helping our policyholders put their lives and their businesses back together after a disaster,” said Christopher P. Taft, President and CEO of Preferred Mutual. “We’ve seen firsthand that those people and organizations that are best able to deal with a disaster are the ones who have planned and prepared in advance.
“Not only have they planned for their insurance needs with their agent, but they’ve planned for their family and workplace needs, have the supplies they need available to survive, practiced what to do if an emergency should arise, and have an awareness of the types of disasters or emergencies that might occur where they live and work,” Taft said. “The American Red Cross’ ‘Preparing for the Unexpected’ program will help community members in the Southern Tier be better prepared in the event of an emergency. That’s a win-win for everyone.”
Broome, Chenango, and Delaware counties are topographically susceptible to periodic major national disasters, primarily river flooding. In addition, hundreds of individuals and families in those counties experience disasters such as house fires, ice and snow storms, and severe weather.
“The American Red Cross has identified an increasingly pressing need to raise the level of disaster preparedness awareness and education for all residents throughout Broome, Chenango and Delaware counties,” said Shelley Bierwiler, Community Executive of the American Red Cross of the Southern Tier. “This program also targets our most vulnerable residents – seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income and non-English-speaking residents – who are best reached through direct presentations.
“Our studies show that for every $1 spent on preparedness training, the American Red Cross will save $4 in disaster response cost,” Bierwiler added. “A program such as ‘Preparing for the Unexpected’ is the best way for us to use the money provided by our generous donors.”
Here are some of the benefits of the “Preparing for the Unexpected” program:
• Communities across the three counties will be better prepared for the next emergency by having the necessary information to “Get A Kit” and be prepared to shelter in place; “Make A Plan” to know what is necessary if they have to leave their homes; and “Be Informed” by knowing where to obtain the most recent emergency communication information.
• With 50 Disaster Preparedness presentations scheduled for the three counties, the total number of people attending preparedness presentations will increase by 50 percent from the previous 12-month period. And the American Red Cross of the Southern Tier is increasing its number of collaborative community partnerships through which it disseminates Disaster Preparedness education and materials by 100 percent.
• The American Red Cross of the Southern Tier has trained more than 15 volunteers who are capable of making local Disaster Preparedness presentations throughout the three counties. The volunteers are supervised by a Preparedness Committee led by the American Red Cross of the Southern Tier Board of Directors.