The White House
President George W. Bush
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February 19, 2003

Department of Homeland Security Launches Citizen Preparedness Campaign

READY: make a kit, make a plan, and be informed

The Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with The Advertising Council and the Sloan Foundation, today launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign that will educate and empower American citizens to prepare for and respond to potential future terrorist attacks.

The PSAs offer practical suggestions to increase preparedness, including learning about serious threats, making emergency supply kits, creating a family communication plan and keeping emergency phone numbers near the phone. The ads direct Americans to call 1-800-BE-READY to access a free brochure or visit where they can learn the best ways to protect themselves and their families against terrorism. Every American has a role in strengthening the nation's preparedness.

The new campaign seeks to reduce fears and provide information by providing individuals specific actions they can take to protect themselves, their families and their communities in the wake of an attack, or another emergency situation.

Emergency Supply Kit:

Start with three days worth of non-perishable food and water. Remember, even if your community is not directly affected by an attack, your life and daily routine may be disrupted. You may need to shelter at home for a couple of days. Roads and stores may be closed - electricity may be turned off - your water supply might be interrupted.

Add flashlights and a battery-powered radio to hear the latest instructions from local authorities. Don't forget extra batteries, a blanket, a first aid kit and medicines, and a manual can opener. Stash away duct tape and pre-measured plastic sheeting for future use. Experts tell us that a safe room inside your house or apartment can help protect you from airborne contaminants for approximately five hours - that could be just enough time for a chemical agent to blow away.

Family Communication Plan:

Make certain that everyone knows how to get in touch, and knows what the emergency plan is for different types of attacks. Every state, every community, every school and every workplace should have an emergency plan. Find out what that plan is and who is in charge. If your school or employer does not have a plan, volunteer to be part of a group to create one. Choose a meeting place, maybe a friend or relative's house, that's well away from your neighborhood. Keep your gas tank half-full. And always make sure you have a set of emergency and contact numbers posted by the phone.

Be Informed and Aware:

Log onto or call 1-800-BE-READY. In the event of an emergency, listen to local authorities for instructions.

The Information Campaign:

Created pro bono by The Martin Agency, a Virginia-based advertising agency, the campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and Internet advertising. Ruder Finn Interactive developed the new website for the campaign.

The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have partnered with various organizations to extend the reach of these critical messages. One key partnership with The Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association will provide information about what to do in an emergency in each of its 550 million Yellow Pages directories over the course of the next year. Another vital partner, The U.S. Postal Service, will distribute preparedness brochures to consumers via their 35,000 post offices nationwide.

Additionally, the Salvation Army will distribute preparedness information from their 9,000 retail locations and the American Red Cross will provide terrorism preparedness training from their local Red Cross chapters. The OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) and the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) have generously offered to provide their support by helping to extend the reach of the messages.

Principal members of the OAAA have committed to donating outdoor advertising space throughout the next year for the PSAs. This commitment is preliminarily valued at $17.7 million. As a starting point, ClearChannel Spectacolor has generously donated a one-month long placement of the PSA on a billboard in Times Square. This donation alone is valued at $65,000.

The NAB has donated multiple satellite feeds to assist in the distribution of the PSAs to stations nationwide. In addition, Secretary Ridge is scheduled to address the 50 state broadcast associations and leading broadcasters from around the country at NAB's State Leadership Conference in Washington next week. The NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) is also donating a satellite feed to distribute the PSAs to their constituents, representing more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks.

Secretary Ridge appears in the PSAs, as do several New York City firefighters, Office of Emergency Management personnel, Port Authority officers and police officers. In the ads, these spokespeople tell Americans that they should not feel helpless or fear terrorism, but instead take simple steps to prepare for possible attacks, just as they do for other potential emergencies. The ads stress the need to "Arm Yourself with Information," which is meant to empower Americans by helping to see that they can take simple steps to protect themselves.

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