Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

March 06, 2009 11:23 ET

Canadian Red Cross: New Website Launched to Help Plug Gaps in Canada's Disaster Response Capacity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2009) - In response to dire predictions of more natural disasters and research showing gaps in Canada's disaster response capacity, a group of concerned voluntary sector and emergency management organizations have launched a website to help boost the levels of disaster preparedness across Canada.

The Ready For Crisis website offers practical tools to help communities and voluntary sector organizations disaster proof their services and their resources. The site features an on-line tutorial for service continuity planning, a readiness survey and a community resiliency handbook containing activities for organizations to understand risk factors in their communities and to help take inventory of vital resources that could be used in a disaster.

In addition to the website, a series of Community Connections roundtables have been started across the country to get voluntary sector organizations, governments and community groups talking about their emergency management and disaster response capacity.

The website and the tools were developed after results of Canadian Red Cross research uncovered three major weaknesses in Canada's disaster safety net: the security of high risk populations, the efficient mobilization of resources and sufficient recruitment of volunteers.

"We found millions of vulnerable Canadians depend on voluntary sector services for their daily survival, but many of those organizations have no disaster plans in place to protect their service delivery in times of crisis." says Don Shropshire, National Director of Disaster Management at the Canadian Red Cross. "Our research indicated the voluntary sector is a large part of the solution but it needs help."

The Ready for Crisis website is one part of the Voluntary Sector Project, a large, cross Canada initiative led by Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army and St. John Ambulance in collaboration with Volunteer Canada and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development at Carleton University. The initiative is made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The project is supported by more than 10 partners in the voluntary sector and their mission is to educate organizations on making sure their core services can be provided during an emergency and to create a dialogue between the public authorities and the voluntary sector to foster understanding and cooperation.

Please note the official launch of the public website on health emergencies is March 6, 2009.

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