Red Cross to Recognize Businesses, Schools for Disaster Readiness

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Heart of Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross received a grant this year to supply companies and schools with a plaque for outstanding disaster preparedness.

A grant of about $10,000 dollars was given to the central division of the American Red Cross, which consists of seven states, by Anheuser Busch.

Executive Director David Griffith said the money will stretch the organization's current funding for the plaques as far as it can, but eventually the chapter will plan to work that money needed for the plaques into its budget.

The Ready Rating program is a disaster preparedness program that analyzes how prepared a company or school is in the case of a natural disaster. This is the first year the mid-Missouri chapter is awarding plaques to businesses and schools.

A Ready Rating certificate is obtainable through the American Red Cross's website and consists of a 123 question self assessment at no cost. The results are sent back to the Red Cross's national headquarters in Washington D.C., and if the company or school shows excellence in disaster preparedness the chapter will award it with a plaque.

Griffith said not only is the plaque an incentive to take part in the Ready Rating program, but in some instances it has helped reduce insurance premiums for companies.

The Ready Rating program started out as a pilot program in St. Louis four years ago and once the program was perfected, it spread all across the state and eventually across the nation.

Griffith took over the position of executive director two years ago and the Ready Rating program was one he implemented within the chapter, "Three years ago the Ready Rating program was not in full bloom for the heart of Missouri chapter," said Griffith.  

43 companies in the mid-Missouri area take part in the Ready Rating program, and the chapter's goal for the fiscal year is to have 50 companies taking part in the program.

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