Red Cross helps launch training program for response to disasters

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Norman, Okla.Tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes and floods.   Oklahoma is no stranger to disasters, but when it happens, there are no strangers among us.  Oklahomans have a solid tradition of stepping up and helping out our neighbors in need, but having the right training is essential to an effective response.   

Ready When the Time Comes, an employee volunteer program from the American Red Cross and facilities maintenance supplier Grainger ensures that volunteers are trained and ready to assist before a disaster strikes in the our area

On Thursday, May 24th, the Ready When the Time Comes program will officially launch in the Oklahoma City metro with employees from national founding sponsor Grainger, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma and the National Weather Center participating in a roll out luncheon.  The event will highlight the success of businesses and employees helping others in need following the May 24th 2011 tornado outbreak acrossCentral Oklahoma.

The Ready When the Time Comes launch and news conference will be held at the National Weather Center in Norman at 120 David L. Boren Boulevard beginning at 11:00 a.m.

“We are extremely pleased to bring this program toOklahoma,” said Janienne Bella, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Central and Western Oklahoma Region.  “Having trained volunteers will help us be pro-active in the event of local disasters such as inclement weather and fires. Our goal is to form partnerships with local businesses and organizations and train more volunteers so we can fulfill our mission of helping people during their greatest time of need.”

Ready When the Time Comes allows the Red Cross to recruit and train volunteers from local companies and organizations so they can be mobilized quickly. Program volunteers receive specialized training in crucial disaster response such as shelter operations, large-scale feeding efforts, and damage assessment. In the event of a local large-scale disaster, the Red Cross can count on Ready When the Time Comes corporate partners to support their disaster response efforts.

“Clearly, the greatest resource a business can contribute to disaster relief is its employee’s time and dedication,” said Steve Rasch, Grainger On-Site Services Consultant.  “Grainger has been part of the Oklahomabusiness community for many years. The Ready When the Time Comes program means our employees will be prepared to lend a hand when it’s needed most.”

Ready When the Time Comes exemplifies how businesses across the nation are getting involved to ensure their communities are prepared to respond when disaster strikes. More than 450 companies and organizations in 55 cities have joined Ready When the Time Comes, training more than 14,000 employee volunteers in disaster relief.

As national founding sponsor of Ready When the Time Comes, Grainger is committed to emergency preparedness and helping the Red Cross meet its volunteer and disaster response needs. On average, the program has increased Red Cross capacity to respond to local disasters by 37 percent.

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