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Red Cross Launches Disaster Preparedness Effort

The American Red Cross, San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter, announced a four-year partnership today with government agencies and community groups to train residents to prepare for disasters.

The initiative, called "Prepare San Diego,'' also involves the city and county of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, San Diego State University, KPBS and the San Diego Economic Development Corporation. The goal is get residents ready for a disaster, and to know what to do afterward.

"Based on research we know that only 7 percent of households in San Diego County are prepared for a disaster — that's not good enough," according to Tony Young, CEO of the local Red Cross.

"Prepare San Diego is a single integrated program that brings the entire community together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to make preparedness a priority,'' Young said. "We must look at everything through a preparedness lens and it's yet to happen as a collective effort until now."

A website at www.preparesandiego.org was created in conjunction with the initiative, with information about what to do in case of earthquakes, wildfires, home fires and floods. Seasonal safety tips, like for children returning to school or trick-or-treating on Halloween, are also provided.

Volunteer information is also provided on the website.

San Diego County has suffered from several disasters over the past decade, including devastating wildfires in 2003 and 2007, and a 7.2 earthquake centered in nearby Mexicali, Mexico, on Easter Sunday 2010.

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