“The business community, with its assets and expertise, should contribute to disaster relief, not only with money and products but with its greatest resource: hard working, dedicated people,” said Richard L. Keyser, chairman and CEO of Grainger and chairman of Business Roundtable’s Partnership for Disaster Response. “Expanding the Red Cross’s Ready When the Time Comes program, which trains employees to serve as volunteers during a disaster, is one way businesses can help the Red Cross provide solutions to people in crisis.”
The Partnership for Disaster Response collaboration includes several activities to help the private and nonprofit sectors work together to strengthen the nation’s disaster response system:
- Introduce new communications channels to improve the flow of information and efficiencies between the business community and the Red Cross;
- Share companies’ first-hand reports from disaster sites with the Red Cross to expedite relief and recovery efforts through the partnership’s Web site,
- Strengthen systems to match community needs with the resources companies can provide during a disaster;
- Enhance corporate and individual employee preparedness efforts by encouraging them to “Be Red Cross Ready”;
- Expand a model program to train employees to serve as Red Cross volunteers during a disaster; and
- Install a representative of the business community in the Red Cross’s Disaster Operations Center.
“Companies play a pivotal role in responding to disasters as we saw with the private sector’s unprecedented response to Hurricane Katrina,” said Harold McGraw III, chairman of Business Roundtable and chairman, president and CEO of the McGraw-Hill companies. “We are proud to support Mark Everson, the new CEO of the American Red Cross, and are encouraged that he sees business as a partner. We are confident that this initiative can serve as an important new model for public-private partnerships in disaster response, one that will strengthen our nation’s system for responding to communities in crisis.”
“The generosity of the private sector in this country is unparalleled,” said Everson. “The Red Cross is grateful to Business Roundtable for leading American businesses in identifying solutions to help prepare families and communities before disasters occur and in providing relief in the aftermath of disasters.”
The organizations also have developed resources to help individuals, families and companies learn how to improve their disaster preparedness plans. These resources are available on http://www.respondtodisaster.org and
The collaboration announcement, made Sept. 21, was timed with National Preparedness Month, a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, communities and businesses.