Schools and businesses can face a number of emergencies which threaten to disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and wildfires to the possible widespread flu virus that looms during the fall and winter. In fact, one in four businesses that are forced to close because of a disaster never reopen. The American Red Cross created Ready Rating, a program to help both schools and businesses with their emergency planning and preparedness efforts.
The Red Cross Ready Rating program offers free memberships to businesses and schools, which can use an online checklist to measure their current preparedness. Ready Rating members score themselves annually with the checklist and maintain their membership by developing and implementing an emergency response plan and improving their overall score each year.
“Business leaders and school officials know how important it is to be ready for an emergency, but they often don’t take the right steps to prepare because they don’t know where to start or they do not have the time,” said Joe White, Red Cross senior vice president for chapter services. “This program was created to give businesses and schools an easy starting point so they can feel more confident about the safety of employees and students. Ready Rating is good for businesses and schools, good for employees and students, and good for the local communities.”
Ready Rating also encourages businesses and schools to promote personal preparedness efforts among employees, students and families. A recent Red Cross survey showed that 51 percent of Americans have experienced at least one emergency situation where they lost utilities for at least three days, had to evacuate, could not return home or communicate with family members or had to provide first aid to others. Although 89 percent of those surveyed believe it is important to be prepared for emergencies, far fewer are actually taking the steps necessary to prepare.