Burson to handle $4.6m initiative on crisis preparation

WASHINGTON: Burson-Marsteller picked up a $4.6 million contract to run an emergency preparedness push for the national capital region last week.

WASHINGTON: Burson-Marsteller picked up a $4.6 million contract to run an emergency preparedness push for the national capital region last week.

Burson was chosen from among nine national PR firms. It will be responsible for the development and implementation of a regional public awareness and education campaign for a major emergency or disaster, such as a terrorist act.

The contract is funded with a Department of Homeland Security grant known as the Urban Area Security Initiative, said Merni Fitzgerald, director of the Fairfax County, VA, Office of Public Affairs, which is the project manager for the campaign.

Fitzgerald added that, though the contract calls for Burson to be involved through May, the contract period will likely be extended through October.

The effort's goal is to have 50% of people in the national capital area report that they've taken steps to be prepared, said Burson GM Chris Simko, who will lead the account.

She also said that, in addition to conducting PR and research, Burson will partner with ad and community-outreach agencies. About 33% to 50% of the budget will go toward advertising.

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