FEMA and the Ad Council Unveil New Series of PSAs for National Preparedness Month

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of the ninth annual National Preparedness Month (NPM), the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ad Council unveiled a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) as part of their Ready campaign.  Created pro bono by advertising agency Leo Burnett, the new PSAs emphasize the message that “you never know when the day before is the day before” by utilizing imagery of infamous natural disasters juxtaposed with comparatively idyllic imagery what it looked like the day before the destruction.

The Ready campaign encourages individuals, families and businesses to make preparedness a year round activity in an effort to prepare all Americans in advance of a potential emergency.  FEMA recommends taking four simple steps when preparing for the unexpected: (1) Get an emergency supply kit; (2) Make a family emergency plan; (3) Be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen in your area and their appropriate responses; and (4) Get involved by finding opportunities to support community preparedness.

“This year’s wildfires, the derecho, and Hurricane Isaac are all important reminders that disasters can happen anytime, anywhere,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “By taking steps now to prepare for emergencies, we ensure that our families and communities are prepared to respond and recover from all types of disasters and hazards.  Together, our efforts will build a stronger and more resilient nation.”

The new TV, radio, outdoor, print and digital ads make use of real people and emergencies that have occurred; illustrating the importance of preparing today to help reduce the consequences of a disaster tomorrow. The Ready PSAs direct audiences to a new campaign microsite,, where they will find a downloadable family emergency plan, emergency kit checklists and guidelines on how to better prepare. Users can also access a clickable map to find contact information for state and local government agencies, where they can learn about specific emergency information in their communities.

“Most of us think about preparing for a disaster when we are in the middle of one,” said Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett. “By emphasizing that the time to prepare is on an ordinary day like today, we hope people and communities will be safer if and when that fateful day comes.”

According to a 2011 Ad Council tracking study, while 60 percent of Americans agree that it’s “very important” that all Americans be prepared for a national emergency and 71 percent strongly agree that taking simple steps to prepare beforehand could do a lot to protect them and their family in the event of a disaster, nearly 40 percent of Americans have not yet taken any action at all to prepare for a natural disaster and only 17 percent consider themselves to be very prepared.

“Our research shows that people are not inclined to prepare because they believe an emergency won’t happen in their community,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.  “In partnership with Secretary Napolitano, Administrator Fugate and the team at FEMA, these new insightful PSAs highlight the importance of year-round preparedness. The Ready campaign provides access to the essential tools and resources Americans need to make sure their family is ready for potential emergencies.”

In collaboration with the Ad Council and as part of FEMA’s Ready campaign, ESPN also created a television PSA encouraging viewers to prepare for emergencies and disasters. Titled “Hero,” the new ad calls on sports fans to build an emergency kit and develop a family plan so that they’re prepared to act when confronted with a natural disaster or other emergency. The spot features a voiceover by ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson as well as ESPN talent Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Bram Weinstein describing heroic moments in sports.  Created by advertising agency 77 Ventures, the spot communicates that real heroes are those who take the time to prepare their families for an eventual natural disaster. The TV and digital ads began running last month in donated media on ESPN in advance of NPM.

“Presented within the context of heroism in sports, we believe FEMA’s message will resonate with our fans and inspire them to take action to be prepared – for themselves and, especially, for their families,” said Aaron Taylor, vice president, marketing, ESPN.

In celebration of the launch, the new PSAs will be featured at an emergency preparedness fair held during the season home opener of the San Francisco (CA) 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012.  Coordinated in collaboration with FEMA’s private and public sector partners, the event will help raise awareness of the importance of preparing in advance of emergencies by providing free tools and interactive resources to the game attendees. FEMA and local experts will be on hand to answer preparedness questions and provide preparedness materials.

Launched in 2004, National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies throughout the year. All National Preparedness Month coalition members agree to distribute emergency preparedness information and sponsor activities across the country and focus on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness and helping Americans understand what it truly means to be ready.

The Ready Campaign has proven to be one of the most successful campaigns in Ad Council’s 70-year history. The ads have generated more than $955 million in donated media support, has received more than 69 million visits, and more than 30 million people have downloaded the campaign’s informational brochure. The new PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media.

Watch the Ad Council’s Emergency Preparedness videos on YouTube HERE.


Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of public service advertising campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube

Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett Worldwide ( is one of the world’s largest agency networks and the parent company of Leo Burnett and its marketing services arm, Arc Worldwide. Leo Burnett, a HumanKind communications company, has a simple and singular approach: put a brand’s purpose at the center of communications to truly connect with people. Leo Burnett, one of the most awarded creative communications companies in the world, creates “Acts, not just Ads,” for some of the world’s most valuable brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Hallmark, P&G, Allstate and Nintendo.


News Desk

Ad Council
Lisa Cullen
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Leo Burnett
Lynsey Roumell
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