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Red Cross Tests Ready Rating Program

<p> Tornado and wildfire season in Texoma is quickly approaching and one non-profit organization is helping businesses get prepared.</p> <p> Mechell Dixon spoke with American Red Cross officials as it kicked off a new program and joins us now with more.</p>

Several states are part of the American Red Cross' Ready Rating Program, which helps businesses plan for disasters.

Now, that program is kicking off in three Texas towns, including one right here in Texoma.

American Red Cross workers pounded the pavement in Archer City to help business owners.

Disasters can strike at anytime and experts say at that point it is too late to a make a plan after the alarm sounds.

That's where the non-profit agency's new program can help.

"The Ready Rating Program is a program where businesses go to a free on-line based program where business go, take a survey and it gives them back information on what they need to do to be prepared if a disaster happens so it helps you come back faster after a disaster," says Katrina Farmer, executive director with the American Red Cross.

The local red cross chapter was selected to start the program in one town and officials chose Archer City.

"We wanted to find a community that was close enough to Wichita that it was easy to get to but also a community that was the right size for us that we thought could have an impact so we want to see how successful we are here cause this is a brand new program," says Farmer.

It's a program that will help assess the readiness of business owners before a tornado roars through or a wildfire wipes out the area.

That way officials say businesses can be prepared beforehand.

"If the school burned down, what are they gonna do? Maybe they'll move the kids to the courthouse. Maybe that's their plan. But they have a plan. That's the whole idea... to have a plan of what you're gonna do in case there's a disaster so that you're ready for it. So you're not in the middle of a disaster going, uh oh, what do we do," explains Farmer.

Red Cross officials visited 20 Archer City businesses today and say half decided to participate by take the 79 question survey.

Once Archer City is completed the Red Cross plans to start implementing the program in Wichita Falls.

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