Tools to prepare for an emergency

Indiana Tornadoes 2012“Emergencies can hit without warning, and the aftermath can affect small businesses and schools the most,” says Dominick Tolli, Vice President of Preparedness for the American Red Cross.

The good news is that pre-planning tools exist to enable businesses, ­organizations and individuals to measure how ready they are to deal with ­emergencies. Check out the self-paced Red Cross Ready Rating program at

The program encourages members to recognize five essential components of preparedness.

1. Commit to preparing. The steps are making preparedness a priority, engaging senior leadership and appointing someone to assess your readiness level.

2. Understand threats to your place of work. Gather information about possible emergencies that could impact you or your business, and understand your ability to respond to and recover from a disaster or other emergency.

3. Ensure you have the right equipment and your facility is ready. Have a ­written plan and make sure that you have supplies, equipment and other resources on hand to support your emergency plan.

4. Practice your plan. The key to implementing your plan is to make ­preparedness a way of life. By conducting drills (at home or at work), you can test your plans and make sure everyone knows what to do.

5. Help your community get prepared. Preparedness cannot be done in a vacuum. “In order to be a truly resilient community, all its parts (households, businesses, schools, non-profits and the government) rely on each other in many ways,” Tolli said. “If everyone is prepared, that positively influences how well the community bounces back from a disaster situation.”

For instant access to expert guidance, the free Red Cross First Aid app gives advice on how to handle the most common first aid emergencies. Also try the Red Cross Emergency app.

Courses on first aid, CPR and the use of AEDs are also available. To learn more, visit

Source: American Red Cross