Following a tradition begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943, President Barack Obama has proclaimed March as American Red Cross Month.
Since July 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration has supported a partnership with the American Red Cross, participating in events to promote the importance of disaster preparedness for individuals and businesses. Getting the word out about the Red Cross Ready Rating program has been a focus of the American Red Cross/SBA relationship.
Ready Rating is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps a business measure its ability to deal with emergencies. All you have to do is answer the questions, based on what you know about your company and its operations, and Ready Rating gives customized feedback on how to start or improve your business continuity planning.
A recent report by the Small Business Majority and the American Sustainable Business Council estimates the average cost of downtime from small businesses affected by an extreme weather event is $3,000 per day. Since small businesses don’t have the resources of large corporations, it’s a good idea to build a resilient organization by creating a solid disaster preparedness plan. And Ready Rating is a great, easy-to-use emergency planning tool.
At the Ready Rating site (www.readyrating.org), you can:
- Complete an assessment to measure the overall preparedness level of your business
- Create a custom-made emergency plan for your organization
- Access tools to help you complete a hazard vulnerable assessment
- Get tips on implementing your emergency response plan
- Download the Free First-Aid app
Red Cross Month is a good time to take a step to protect your employees, customers and your community by joining Ready Rating, becoming an organization that’s prepared to save both lives and livelihoods.
In the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters, the SBA provides recovery assistance in the form of low-interest, direct loans to businesses of all sizes, homeowners, renters, and private non-profit organizations. Visit the website for more information about SBA’s disaster loan program.