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DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

Our Approach

Grainger works to support long-term resilient communities. Our community affairs efforts focus on disaster preparedness and response, education and workforce development and local and community engagement. We leverage the thought leadership of our executives, the at-the-ready spirit of volunteerism of our Business Resource Groups, our team members’ depth of knowledge in supply chain operations and our 90 years of experience with the communities where we live and work to help drive social benefits across North America. We work collaboratively with our community partners through a combination of resources including in-kind donations, team member volunteerism and our 3:1 matching gifts program.

Disaster Preparedness and Response     As the threat of disaster intensifies, disaster philanthropy must evolve radically in order for communities and economies to thrive. Organizations well-versed in supply chain and logistics, like Grainger, have a unique obligation to provide support when disasters occur. We combine years of experience, the knowledge and capabilities of our Corporate Emergency Response Team and the partnership of the Red Cross to deliver products and financial support before, during and after natural disasters.
Learn More About Disaster Preparedness and Response

Education and Workforce Development     We believe at the heart of opportunity lies education. As the world evolves, the need for education becomes increasingly important. Grainger is dedicated to helping those who desire an education so they can better themselves, their families and those around them. We are proud of the education and workforce development progress we support, but we are most proud and inspired by those who endeavor to achieve more and strive for a better tomorrow.
Learn More About Workforce Development and Education

Local Civic and Community Engagement     Led by our industry-leading 3:1 matching gifts program, our local engagement pillar provides team members with the opportunities to direct support and in-kind donations to the organizations their communities value most.
Learn More About Local Civic and Community Engagement


As most agree, disasters around the world are increasing in frequency and severity, predominantly due to climate change. The economic and social effect of these events is predicted to reach unprecedented levels within the next four decades. Overwhelmingly, corporate gifts are directed to immediate disaster relief, as opposed to risk reduction before disasters or recovery efforts after. Despite the fact that the number of natural disasters continue to rise, disaster relief accounts for only two percent of overall corporate giving. In fact, more than five times as much relief is spent on immediate disaster response versus reduction or recovery globally.

Grainger provides service and support to communities affected by regional, national and global emergencies. Through these disasters, we have acted as trusted partners to restore the resilience of our communities. Grainger has been there, time and time again, to provide our customers and communities with a consolidated source for critical supplies and equipment needed to prepare, respond and recover. We assist first responders, first receivers, private sector organizations and non-profit partners with a wide range of emergencies. We seek to continually improve our response capabilities based upon lessons learned from each recovery effort.

American Red Cross

Pride in service, our products and our supply chain expertise make us a natural leader in disaster preparedness and response. For that reason, we have been a long-time partner of the Red Cross. In fact, Grainger has donated more than $18 million in cash and product to the American Red Cross since 2001, and the Canadian Red Cross since 2009. Grainger offers the broadest product portfolio in the preparedness market. The product categories presented are based upon recommendations from authorities including FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross.

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to disasters across the country—from home fires to tornadoes and severe winter weather, hurricanes and floods to transportation accidents and explosions. The Red Cross not only provides food, shelter and clothing, but also offers comfort and care to those affected by disasters during their time of greatest need. Through our partnership with the American Red Cross, we continue to leverage our resources, best practices in logistics, team member engagement and technology to assist in the accomplishment of their mission.

The Future of Disaster Philanthropy     The United Nations has said that every dollar invested into disaster preparedness saves $7 in disaster aftermath. As a supporter of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program® (ADGP), Grainger invests in disaster relief before the disaster occurs, ensuring the Red Cross can pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles and train volunteers nationwide.

In 2017, we committed to the $1 million level of ADGP support for the American Red Cross. These funds were used to provide for activities like smoke detector distributions and installations, increased volunteer engagement opportunities and the sponsorship of local emergency response vehicles.

Hurricane Harvey / Irma Response
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a category-4 hurricane near Rockport, TX. As the storm tracked toward landfall, Grainger activated the Corporate Emergency Response Team for briengs every morning and afternoon including weekends. Supply chain teams quickly repositioned critical supplies within the Grainger distribution network of branches and regional DCs. Grainger’s Roanoke DC, located near Fort Worth, played a central role in the distribution of supplies throughout response and recovery operations. Grainger transportation managers expedited deliveries in coordination with state, county and local emergency offices. Grainger supplied 10 truckloads of Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water to support evacuation shelters.

Through our partnership with the American Red Cross, we delivered $250,000 worth of in-kind donations to the affected areas in Texas, Florida, California and Puerto Rico. Also, our team members rallied, packing 2,500 comfort kits benefitting those living in shelters in Texas, Florida and California. The kits included basic necessities such as toiletries, wash cloths and more.

Team Member Activation

Grainger is the National Founding Sponsor of the Red Cross Ready When the Time Comes® (RWTC) corporate volunteer program in the U.S. and Canada. More than 1,700 Grainger team members have been trained as RWTC volunteers.

Home fires are the most common disaster in the U.S., and the Red Cross responds to one every eight minutes. In 2014, the Red Cross launched a nationwide campaign aimed at reducing home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent in the U.S. by 2020. Grainger supports the campaign with an annual donation of smoke detectors, which are installed by volunteers and fire departments in at-risk communities. The campaign makes a huge difference, as more than 656,000 smoke detectors have been installed since the beginning of the program, including more than 68,000 donated by Grainger thus far, and more than 332 lives have been saved, including 97 in 2017 alone.

Ready When the Time Comes® Volunteer Profile
In 2017, Laura Lacher and her daughter participated in the Sound the Alarm Event in Waukegan. They conducted disaster planning with a resident and local fire chief.


“I left the Sound the Alarm Event with a sense of pride resulting from the time we spent in our community; and for Grainger’s role in partnering with the Red Cross and Fire Department to make this community support happen. I think that more Grainger team members should participate.”
Laura Lacher, Executive Assistant

Putting the World’s Vulnerable People on the Map
Disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people each year. Many of the places where these disasters occur are “missing” from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which our team members help to map areas where humanitarian organizations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people. In 2017, Grainger partnered with the American Red Cross on its Missing Maps Project. During Grainger’s inaugural “map-a-thons”, team members used their computers to identify buildings and infrastructure in “unmapped” areas across the world to provide the Red Cross and emergency responders with better access in times of disaster. After the mapping session, volunteers were equipped to continue mapping on their own to provide additional support. Through our efforts this year, 41 team members provided 1,980 edits to disaster recovery areas and mapped 1,952 buildings, including locations in Puerto Rico, to assist in hurricane recovery efforts.

Missing Maps Areas of Mapping


Road Through Our 90th year