; Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Makes A $50,000 Grant To Improve Disaster Preparedness
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Press Release

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Makes A $50,000 Grant To Improve Disaster Preparedness

March 6, 2012

ROCHESTER – The American Red Cross says that 20,000 more people in upstate New York will be prepared for house fires, floods, ice storms and other disasters thanks to a $50,000 grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

The grant will enable American Red Cross officials to offer “Be Red Cross Ready” disaster preparedness programs in 33 counties of upstate New York, including the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Southern Tier regions. In addition to community presentations, thousands of people will now be able to access informational literature to help them prepare for disasters on their own.

“Many of our employees learned the value of disaster preparedness when Tropical Storm Irene devastated the eastern parts of the state this summer,” said Chris Booth, president and chief operating officer, Excellus BCBS. “Part of our mission is to improve the quality of lives in the communities we serve, and having a prepared community does just that.”

Excellus BCBS and its parent company employ 6,600 employees in 50 locations throughout upstate New York. On Aug. 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene devastated the Schoharie office of Support Services Alliance, an Excellus BCBS affiliate. Excellus BCBS’ offices in Binghamton also closed for a few days due to the storm.

The Be Red Cross Ready program will target seniors, faith communities, youth and under-served individuals such as those with disabilities.

The program has three goals, which are to help participants:

  • Get a kit – Include basic supplies such as water, non-perishable foods, a battery-powered radio and medication;
  • Make a plan – Determine where they should meet if individual family members are separated and decide where participants would go if evacuated; 
  • Be informed – Learn which disasters are more likely to occur in their areas and how to protect themselves from such events.

“Natural and human-caused disasters can strike suddenly and it’s critical that as many people as possible are prepared,” said Leighton Jones, Director of Disaster and Emergency Services for the Finger Lakes NY Region of the American Red Cross. “We’re grateful for Excellus BCBS’ continued support and recognition that such programs help save lives.”

About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit excellusbcbs.com


The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.