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The American Red Cross and W.W. Grainger Inc. on September 22 announced the continued expansion of the Ready When the Time Comes program with an additional 10 chapters set to join the program in 2011. The addition of these chapters will bring the total participating Red Cross chapters to 51 in disaster-prone areas across the country.
This announcement comes during National Preparedness Month, designated each September to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
The Ready When the Time Comes program, a workplace volunteer initiative in which the American Red Cross trains employees of local businesses who can be mobilized as a community-based volunteer force when disasters strike, was developed in 2001 as a partnership between the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and Grainger, the national founding sponsor of the program. Today, more than 11,000 employees representing 450 businesses and organizations in 41 communities across the country have been trained as disaster volunteers through the program. In 2010 alone, ten chapters will have launched the program including Red Cross chapters in Los Angeles and Boston which are holding kickoff events during the next several weeks.
"Ready When the Time Comes is a program that turns compassion into action by training employees of businesses nationwide to volunteer when disasters strike close to home," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. "We are gratified that Grainger and many other businesses are supporting the training and that so many of their employees have stepped forward to help provide comfort and care to their neighbors in need."
"We believe the greatest resource the business community can contribute to disaster relief is its employees. Grainger has partnered with the American Red Cross to encourage other companies across the U.S. to support disaster preparedness through the Ready When the Time Comes program," said Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, Grainger. "Every day, volunteers trained through this program are helping their local chapters respond to disasters. They truly exemplify the "People Power" that is at the foundation of any disaster response. Communities are supported by their helping hands in a crisis and the volunteers themselves are strengthened by supporting their communities."
The new chapters that will join the program in 2011 include the Red Cross King and Kitsap Counties, Seattle; Hawaii State Chapter, Honolulu; Puerto Rico Chapter, San Juan; Red Cross of Central Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma City; Red Cross of Central Florida Chapter, Orlando; Sacramento Sierra Chapter, Sacramento, Calif.; Connecticut Chapter, Farmington; Southwest Pennsylvania Chapter, Pittsburgh; and Red Cross of Greater Arkansas, Little Rock. The 10th Red Cross chapter will be announced in the near future.