Washington, D.C. (PRESS RELEASE – June 5, 2011) – Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or man-made disaster never reopen, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In a nationwide effort to raise the business community’s awareness about how to prepare their businesses and employees in the event of an emergency, the Advertising Council, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross, announced recently the launch of new public service advertisements (PSAs) on behalf of Ready Business.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all employers. Unfortunately, small to medium-sized businesses are also the most vulnerable in the event of an emergency. An Ad Council survey reported that nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they do not have an emergency plan in place for their business. By taking steps ahead of time, many of these businesses can be better prepared to survive and recover after an emergency.
“Businesses small and large make up the backbone of economies in communities across our country,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that businesses and organizations will not only survive and recover themselves, but also help their neighbors and communities recover more quickly.”
Produced pro bono by advertising agency Brunner, the new television, radio, print, outdoor and Web banners encourage owners of small- to medium-sized businesses to take steps to prepare and plan in advance of an emergency in order to reduce the risk of losing their business in the event of a disaster. All of the PSAs direct audiences to visit www.ready.gov/business for online resources, including the Red Cross Ready Rating business preparedness assessment tool. This free, interactive tool provides business owners with a clear picture of the preparedness level of their business and what further steps they need to take to get their business ready.
“We never know when or where disaster may strike, but we all want to be ready to protect our employees, families, and our communities,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “Everyone needs to play a role in emergency preparedness, and Ready Rating™ helps businesses and organizations understand if they are ready for an emergency.”
“We are proud to partner with the Red Cross and FEMA to provide small business owners nationwide with the vital tools they need to take precautionary actions in advance of emergencies,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “I strongly believe that these new PSAs will engage and motivate the business community to take the proper steps towards preparedness to protect their employees, operations and assets.”
“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. “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.”
Launched in 2004, Ready Business is an extension of FEMA and the Ad Council’s Ready campaign. Since its launch, media outlets have donated more than $129 million in advertising time and space for the PSAs. The new PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media.
About the 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.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.
About the Advertising Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.