Helping Businesses Survive Disasters

FEMA, Red Cross Partner With Ad Council in New PSA Effort

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross have partnered with the Ad Council in a new PSA effort to help companies prepare for natural or manmade disasters as part of the "Ready Business" campaign, launched in 2004.

The campaign targets small-to-midsize businesses, which are the most vulnerable companies in an emergency, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. A survey by the Ad Council found that 62 percent of respondents said they don't have an emergency plan for their businesses.

The new PSA series, produced pro bono by advertising agency Brunner, includes TV, radio, print, outdoor and Web banners encouraging owners of small-to-midsize businesses to take steps before an emergency to reduce the risk of losing their businesses. According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster never reopen.

The PSAs direct viewers to to find online resources. Among those is the Red Cross Ready Rating business preparedness assessment tool, a free interactive tool that gives business owners an assessment of their preparedness level and suggestions as to what they need to improve that determination.

"We are proud to be associated with the important work FEMA is doing to educate Americans about being smart when it comes to preparing for disaster, especially at a time when many areas of the country are experiencing such dangerous and unpredictable weather," said Brunner President Scott Morgan in announcing the effort. "The creative dramatizes the aftereffects of a disaster in order to give small-business owners a sense of the potential magnitude of the destruction. Our goal is to get them to be preemptive and develop a contingency plan well before disaster strikes."

"Ready Business" debuted in 2004 as an extension of the "Ready" campaign from FEMA and the Ad Council. To date, media outlets have donated more than $129 million in time and space for the PSAs.