As part of FEMA’s ongoing approach to advance accessibility and cultural competency in boosting the nation’s preparedness, FEMA and the Ad Council created new PSAs developed specifically to reach Black and African American communities, which will air nationwide.
Today, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks will also visit Howard University, a founding member of the HBCU Emergency Management Workforce Consortium, for a series of events kicking off National Preparedness Month and announcing the new Ready Campaign.
Black communities are on the frontlines of climate change and related extreme weather events. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that socially vulnerable populations, including Black and African American communities, may be more exposed to the highest impacts of climate change. Specifically, with global warming, Black and African American individuals have a 10% higher risk of living in areas with the highest projected inland flooding damages compared to reference populations.
“Black and African American communities often suffer disproportionate impacts from disasters. This is something that we must work to change and that starts with how we prepare,” said Administrator Criswell. “Our 2022 Ready Campaign speaks directly to the communities who need our help the most and who deserve equitable access to preparedness resources that protect people and property. By continuing to advance accessibility and cultural competency in our preparedness messaging, we can make sure that everyone is ready when disaster strikes.”
The new Ready Campaign PSAs, entitled “A Lasting Legacy,” are meant to help mitigate these discrepancies by encouraging Black communities to protect the lives they have built and the legacies they will leave behind through preparation and disaster readiness. These new PSAs build upon the work the FEMA is doing to advance equity and ensure everyone gets the help they need before, during and after disaster.
“Preparing for disaster is not just about protecting people and property, it’s about safeguarding the lives we’ve built and the legacy we will leave to our children and the generations to come,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks. “With this campaign, FEMA reaffirms our commitment to equity and says loud and clear that every community deserves to be protected from hazards.”
FEMA’s Ready Campaign PSAs were developed pro bono by Creative Theory Agency in coordination with the Ad Council and will be available in TV, radio, print, out of home and digital formats. Throughout the month, the Ready campaign will emphasize unique aspects of preparedness, such as making a plan, building a kit and teaching communities how to engage their families on emergency preparedness.
“We want to make sure that all Americans feel represented by FEMA and this latest work,” said Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer Michelle Hillman. “This creative leans into the importance of family and reminds us that, with preparation, we can make sure that our legacy endures whatever disasters life sends our way.”
“This is the work that gets us excited! We’re honored to partner with FEMA and the Ad Council and make history with their first ‘readiness campaign’ targeting the Black community,” said Creative Theory Agency Co-Founder & CEO, Tamon George. “At our core we seek to tell real stories through marketing and advertising and this campaign allows us the unique opportunity to create work that impacts our community, friends and family in tangible ways.”
This round of creative work for the Ready campaign supports and extends FEMA’s annual National Preparedness Month activities to engage communities and promote the steps to prepare for disasters. Last year’s theme was “Prepare to Protect” and was designed to resonate with Latino communities. As a direct result of that campaign, the Listo.gov—the Spanish version of Ready.gov—had a 500% increase in visits to the “Make a Plan” page and a 400% increase in visits to the “Build a Kit” page.
This is the latest round of work in 19 years of educating the public about disaster and emergency preparedness. For more information and to get started on your emergency plan, visit ready.gov/plan or listo.gov/plan.