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Red Cross Launches Business Disaster Preparation Program

Businesses have a new tool to help them prepare for the worst.

The American Red Cross has launched ReadyRating.org, a Web-based membership program aimed at assisting businesses as they prepare for different types of emergencies — ranging from natural disasters like hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness, such as the flu.

Designed to give business owners a sense of confidence about the safety of their employees and company, Ready Rating is a free program. It helps companies measure how truly ready they are to deal with emergencies, and provides customized feedback on how to improve their efforts.

The program’s first stage is a comprehensive assessment of the business’ disaster preparedness, covering everything from hazard vulnerability to continuity of operations and employee readiness.

Business owners score themselves on how prepared they are, and are given steps they can take to improve their readiness planning.

The program, which is available to businesses that are just creating an emergency preparedness plan and those that are looking for validation on an established plan, is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and Sam's Club.

A 2009 Red Cross survey showed that 89 percent of U.S. residents believe it is important to be prepared for emergencies, but only 12 percent actually have taken the steps necessary to prepare.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.