By Lee Braff, American Red Cross Volunteer
The wind spirals, becoming a potentially deadly funnel. Water bursts through a levee. The very ground shifts under our feet.
Get A Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed.
So far, blog entries from the St. Louis Chapter of the American Red Cross, written by AmeriCorps members, have covered these highlights of National Preparedness Month.
Those entries only briefly mentioned what to do in an emergency outside of your home, so I’d like to delve into that further. Let’s talk about businesses, organizations and schools – where most of us spend a lot of time. What would we do if we were caught in a tornado, flood, fire or earthquake? The idea of becoming prepared can seem overwhelming – that’s where the Red Cross comes in.
Thanks to the Ready Rating ProgramTM, developed by the St. Louis Chapter in 2008 with support from Anheuser-Busch, businesses, organizations and schools don’t have to figure it all out by themselves. The Red Cross Ready Rating program is a free, online, self-guided program designed to help them become better prepared for emergencies and disasters. For full details, go to the Ready Rating website.
The program consists of five steps, starting with the joining process. Don’t forget, it’s free. Membership status allows full access to the Toolbox. You can check it out here. Members complete the 123-point assessment to help determine their current readiness level. For sample questions, go here. From there, they’ll find resources to obtain access to tools, tips and best practices to figure out how to become better prepared. They can learn about creating or updating an emergency response plan, determine which drills or training programs people in the organization need to accomplish and more. After taking those actions, members can go back in and repeat the assessment to improve their score – but that’s for a later date. Let’s start by becoming a member!
Remember, emergencies and disasters can happen anywhere, and how well you’re prepared can certainly help the outcome. It’s an important reminder during National Preparedness Month – but it’s something that should be fresh on the mind always.