The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded the American Red Cross a grant to provide residents in the Pee Dee area with vital disaster preparedness information through the Be Ready Backpack Project. This is the second year that the grant has been awarded and overall the initiative is expected to educate more than 5,000 individuals and their families in the Pee Dee area.
"Our partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation enables us to provide important preparedness information to our friends and neighbors through the Be Ready Backpack program," said Linda Boone of the American Red Cross. "The initiative will increase the resiliency of our local communities as families will be better prepared should a disaster strike."
During the ice storm last year, the Red Cross opened five shelters in the Pee Dee area, serving 428 meals and 70 snacks to residents affected by the storms. Ice storms are not the only hazard in the area, and the Duke Energy Foundation and the Red Cross are partnering to help residents prepare for any disaster that may strike the area.
"Duke Energy knows how important it is to be ready before, during, and after a storm," said Mindy Taylor, Duke Energy district manager for government and community relations for Florence and surrounding counties. "By partnering with the American Red Cross on this important initiative we hope to further educate Pee Dee residents on the importance of being prepared for any disaster that may come their way.
In a recent survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel, while more than half of respondents were "very" or "somewhat" concerned about disasters, only 22% had taken steps to prepare for disasters.
Through the hour-long Be Ready Backpack preparedness presentations, the Red Cross teaches people the three key actions (Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed) that they and their families can take now to prepare for disasters. The Red Cross offers these presentations at no charge to organizations within the community.
In South Carolina, the American Red Cross, on average, responds to a disaster every four hours. Because of volunteers and financial assistance from the community, the Red Cross was able to help more than 7,000 individuals affected by disasters, the majority of those being home fires, in S.C. last year.
To schedule a Be Ready Backpack preparedness presentation for your group, or to volunteer with or donate to the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/EasternSC or call 843.662.8121.