News

PSAs Urge Making Emergency Plans

12/05/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

Washington— Appealing to families with young children, a series of public-service ads were released this week to encourage development of an emergency response to terrorist attacks.

“We can’t secure the country from inside the Beltway,” Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in announcing the second phase of the Ready Campaign on Monday at the National Press Club. “We need to have everybody engaged.”

READY-DOT-GOV

Nine public-service ads, created by the Ad Council, stress the need to prepare for emergencies, referring people to the Ready.gov Web site (www.ready.gov). To the comforting sound of a piano, one broadcast ad shows a young boy talking to the camera.

“So Mom, what if something happens?” he asks. “Should I stay where I am and wait for you?”

A voiceover then says, “There’s no reason not to have a plan in case of a terrorist attack.”

The boy continues: “Is there a place where we’ll meet? If the phone doesn’t work, how do I tell you I’m alright?”

Voiceover: “And one extremely good reason why you should.”

Since the campaign launched in February 2003, more than $310 million in advertising space and time have been donated, said Ad Council vice president Kathy Crosby.

“For this message to resonate most effectively, it must be delivered at the local level or at the community level where it will make a difference,” Ridge said. “We must continue to reach out to … city officials and first responders and citizens, to invest in the tools, direction and the necessary resources to prevent and recover from any potential disaster, whether natural or manmade.”

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association urged cable systems serving more than 70 million U.S. households to run the spots instead of paid advertising, and the public-service ads were distributed to program network members that provide more than 200 nationally delivered channels, said Robert Sachs, NCTA’s chief executive officer.

“This commitment is just the latest effort on the part of our industry to help educate Americans in this new era of preparedness, ensure the reliability of our communication systems and cooperate more closely with other media providers,” Sachs said. He noted the industry’s other efforts over the past three years, including public service announcements from disaster-relief groups in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

SURVEY RESULTS

An Ad Council survey found that 210 million people are familiar with the campaign, and 58% of Americans have taken at least one step to prepare for emergencies.

Broadcasters were encouraged to download the ads so the campaign could reach further.

“Local radio and television stations are uniquely positioned as first responders in times of crisis, and Americans know they can rely on broadcasters to keep them informed in the event of an emergency,” National Association of Broadcasters president Edward Fritts said in a statement.

States News Service

September