FEMA encourages consumers to plan for emergencies

LOS ANGELES: FEMA and the Ad Council launched a campaign this week encouraging Hispanic Americans to take steps to prepare for an emergency.

LOS ANGELES: FEMA and the Ad Council launched a campaign this week encouraging Americans, particularly Hispanic Americans, to take steps to prepare for an emergency. At an event in Los Angeles on September 16, featuring Mayor Antonio Villaraigos, the campaign introduced the PSAs.

"Each year, we roll out a public awareness campaign, and we alternate between English and Spanish," said Darryl Madden, director of FEMA's "Ready" campaign, which includes this new campaign. "This year, we developed a Hispanic-focused ad and one of the things we realized is that we can up it with a campaign that worked effectively with both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking audiences."

The campaign revolves around the PSAs, and the Ad Council and FEMA also did an SMT and RMT with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Tim Manning, FEMA's deputy administrator; and Mayra Lopez de Victoria, FEMA's multi-lingual outreach spokesperson. The traditional media outreach targeted both Spanish- and English-language outlets.

"We recognize that the Hispanic market is lagging a little behind," said Kathy Crosby, SVP and group campaign director for the Ad Council. "Only 42% have said they have taken steps to have an emergency preparedness kit." The campaign's message is one of planning, reminding consumers to take steps now, before an emergency, to be prepared.

The campaign will also "focus in on specific risks," Madden said, such as earthquakes and hurricanes that would be specific to certain regions and make the ads more local.

FEMA and the Ad Council handled PR internally. Online, they posted a multimedia press release, and FEMA is using its social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

"Our goal was to raise awareness during times when people have time to prepare," Crosby said. "We can drum up support from an evergreen standpoint."

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