Thanks to a grant from the shareholder-funded Duke Energy Foundation, The American Red Cross Pee Dee Chapter is now providing residents in the Pee Dee with vital disaster preparedness information through an initiative called the Be Ready Backpack Project.
This project allows the Pee Dee Chapter to conduct more than 100 preparedness presentations in the community impacting an estimated 3,000 individuals throughout the six counties of the Pee Dee area.
“The health and vitality of communities across the Pee Dee will be enhanced through our collaboration with Duke Energy,” said Linda Boone-Smith, executive director of the Pee Dee Chapter of the American Red Cross. “This project will enable us to educate participants about vulnerabilities in the Pee Dee area including fires, floods, severe winter weather, tornadoes, hurricanes/tropical storms, earthquakes and hazardous materials incidents.”
Past surveys by the American Red Cross show that while 90 percent of respondents believe that preparedness is important, only seven percent reported taking the most basic steps to prepare. More than one study has found that about $4 in post-disaster response and recovery costs could be saved for every $1 invested in disaster risk reduction.
The Be Ready Backpack project will equip residents in the Pee Dee with preparedness information to begin their planning process, as well as provide them with a tangible tool — the Be Ready Backpack — to inspire immediate action. The backpack, to be distributed throughout the Pee Dee, contains Duke Energy power outage information and safety tips for operating generators, and includes Red Cross emergency planning and kit supplies.
“Duke Energy knows how important it is to be ready before, during and after a storm,” said Mindy Taylor, Duke Energy district manager for Florence and surrounding counties. “By partnering with the American Red Cross in this great campaign we hope to help further educate Pee Dee residents on the importance of being prepared for any disaster that might come their way.”
The project targets businesses, corporations, community and civic groups, faith-based organizations, high schools, other nonprofits, and special needs populations within the Duke Energy service area. Nearly 21 million U.S. adults were affected by disasters in the last decade. That’s nearly 5 times more than in the prior decade. This year the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross has provided disaster relief assistance to more than 4,300 people affected by disaster in our region including.
For information more information on the Be Ready Backpack project or to learn how you can help the Red Cross through a donation or by volunteering, call 843.662.8121 or visit www.redcross.org/PeeDee.