Two Titans Team Up for National Preparedness and Response

By Matthew Harwood

The American Red Cross and the Business Roundtable are collaborating on a new initiative to help the private and nonprofit sectors work better together when disaster strikes.

The goal of Partnership for Disaster Response is to awaken the private sector's spirit of public service and have it contribute its time, money, and resources to help make disaster response and recovery faster and more efficient.

"The generosity of the private sector in this country is unparalleled," said Mark W. Everson, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. "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."

As part of this collaboration, timed to coincide with National Preparedness Month, the two organizations unveiled their strategy to create a more dynamic public-private response to disasters.

The partnership will create new communication channels between businesses and the Red Cross to make communications easier and efficient; use the partnership's Web site to share business' disaster reports to speed up response and recovery efforts; strengthen systems to ensure communities needs are matched with the right businesses to satisfy those needs; enhance corporate and individual employee preparedness; expand Red Cross volunteer training program; and install a representative from the business community in the Red Cross' operation center.

These activities all aim to bolster the four phases of disaster response: prepare, respond, recover, and rebuild.

Recent disasters like Hurricane Katrina, said Harold McGraw III, chairman of the Business Roundtable, show how important companies are to disaster response and recovery.

"We are confident that this intiative 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."





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