KEY COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS LEADERS LAUNCH ‘PREPARE SAN DIEGO’

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 3, 2013 — The American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter today along with key partners announced Prepare San Diego, a four-year regional resiliency initiative driven by the Red Cross to help prepare the San Diego region for human emergencies and disasters.

Through Prepare San Diego, the Red Cross brings together key business and community leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster. A key goal with the initiative is to facilitate a cultural shift to increase individual, organizational, and business preparedness, and with that, one million people in San Diego County will make an emergency plan, build a disaster kit or get trained to effectively respond.

"Based on research we know that only 7% of households in San Diego County are prepared for a disaster -- that's not good enough," said Tony Young, CEO of the local Red Cross. "Prepare San Diego is a single integrated program that brings the entire community together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to make preparedness a priority. We must look at everything through a preparedness lens and it's yet to happen as a collective effort until now."

Several key community and business leaders are behind Prepare San Diego, including names like Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, Councilmembers Mark Kersey and Marti Emerald, Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dave Roberts, Jerry Sanders and the Chamber, and entities like County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), San Diego State University, KPBS, Economic Development Corporation, among others.

"SDG&E has long been an advocate of safety and emergency preparedness, and is a supporter of the American Red Cross and many other entities in the region," said David L. Geier, vice president of electric operations for SDG&E. "This is the right time for a region-wide leadership initiative of this kind and we're proud to be part of it."

In addition to a preparedness goal, Prepare San Diego rounds out the full disaster lifecycle with goals for response and recovery. From a recovery standpoint, the goal is to strengthen the region’s post-disaster recovery infrastructure and economic resiliency. Businesses throughout the San Diego region need to be able to return to a pre-disaster state as quickly as possible in order to assist with regional recovery.

"With disasters and other emergencies, it's not 'if' but rather 'when' it will strike," said Jerry Sanders, CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. "We must work together to ensure successful long-term recovery and reduce economic impact. I applaud the American Red Cross and all other partners who are behind Prepare San Diego."

A pivotal component of the initiative is the Steering Committee, comprised primarily of members of the Senior Red Cross Business Council. This committee will review and evaluate the progress of the initiative, inform future directions and disseminate findings and progress to key stakeholders within the region to ensure Prepare San Diego is responsive to the needs of the entire region.

Native San Diegan and philanthropist Malin Burnham is also a supporter of the initiative. "Prepare San Diego is the kind of forward and collaborative thinking our region needs," said Burnham. "The importance of teamwork is key to meeting a large goal like preparing one million people. I believe San Diego can do it."

September is National Preparedness Month and a perfect time for individuals, families, businesses and organizations to take action. For more information about Prepare San Diego and how to get involved, visit www.preparesandiego.org.

About Prepare San Diego

Prepare San Diego is a four-year regional resiliency initiative driven by the American Red Cross to help prepare the San Diego region for human emergencies and disasters. Through Prepare San Diego, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle. A key goal with the initiative is to facilitate a cultural shift to increase individual, organizational, and business preparedness, and with that, one million people in San Diego County will make an emergency plan, build a disaster kit or get trained to effectively respond. Visit www.preparesandiego.org to join the movement and share what action you’ve taken to get prepared.

About the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter

The American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; 24-hour emergency services to deployed military personnel and their families; and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Through Prepare San Diego, a four-year regional resiliency initiative, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/sandiego or connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.