Mid-Florida Red Cross Announces Launch of “Prepare Florida”

We live in the second most disaster-prone state in the nation, says Linda Carbone, Regional CEO of Florida’s West Coast Region

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 28, 2014) — American Red Cross throughout Florida is launching a three-year landmark effort to inform and empower millions of people about how to take necessary action to prepare themselves, their families and their neighbors before a disaster happens, as well as what to expect and necessary actions to take during and after a disaster.

“We live in the second most disaster-prone state in the nation,” says Linda Carbone, Regional CEO of Florida’s West Coast Region and Prepare Florida Lead. “The risks and costs to Florida are enormous. Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, flooding and daily home fires shatter lives, devastate communities and cripple local economies. We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can control what we do.”

Most Floridians are underprepared for disaster: less than one-third of Florida’s population has a family disaster plan. The diverse and varied composition of our state’s population also poses unique challenges, especially for our most vulnerable: seniors, children, migrant workers, underserved populations and tourists.

“The main goals of Prepare Florida are clear,” says Carbone. “We will train communities to be prepared and engage more people as we increase both the tools and training that are needed to meet any disaster we may experience.”

The goals of Prepare Florida will also strengthen Red Cross’ capacity to respond to major disasters. During the next three years, the Red Cross plans to:

• Reach 350,000 individuals, families and businesses with preparedness information.

• Increase the number of volunteers recruited and trained to respond from 4,500 to 10,000.

• Train 500,000 people in lifesaving first aid, CPR and AED skills.

• Increase capacity to serve and distribute meals from 250,000 to 500,000 per day.

• Add 15 new Emergency Response Vehicles (mobile feeding units) to our existing fleet.

• Convene community partners to conduct training exercises, including disaster simulations, involving all 67 counties.

This monumental effort will be funded by corporate and individual donor partners, as well as grants, all of which support the Red Cross in making our communities better prepared to create a stronger, more resilient Florida. Those interested in becoming a Prepare Florida partner may call Linda Carbone at 813-868-7624 or visit www.redcross.org/prepareflorida.

Media Contact: Erin Pagán 407-256-4676

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/prepareflorida.