Washington (PRESS RELEASE – July 13, 2011) – The U.S. Small Business Administration and the American Red Cross have joined forces to intensify outreach efforts to educate the public about the importance of having a disaster recovery plan in place.
“Given the recent devastation caused by tornadoes and flooding in communities from New England and the Midwest to the Southern states, and the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, we recognize the importance of helping people learn how to protect themselves,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “This collaboration with the Red Cross will allow us to draw on each other’s resources to make emergency preparedness a way of life for individuals and businesses.”
“Studies show that between 15 percent to 40 percent of businesses fail following a natural or man-made disaster,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “By partnering with the SBA to get more families and businesses prepared for emergencies, we hope to save both lives and livelihoods.”
The core of the SBA-Red Cross agreement is a plan to work with SBA District Offices and its resource partners such as SCORE, the Small Business Development Centers and the Women’s Business Development Centers to promote and, along with local Red Cross chapters, sponsor preparedness training workshops. The two agencies will also work to increase awareness in the business community about the Red Cross Ready Rating program. Ready Rating is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps a business measure its ability to deal with emergencies, and gives customized feedback on how to improve those effort
Materials on the Ready Rating program and other disaster preparedness tips will be disseminated to the public virtually, and via printed materials.
Recent disasters have served as a reminder for individuals and businesses to make a plan. Disaster preparedness for homes and businesses should include a review of your property insurance to make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Make backup copies of important documents, and store them at an offsite location. Put together an emergency kit, which contains first-aid supplies, cash, bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and plastic garbage bags.