Security Newswire

Small Businesses To 'Define Day After' Disaster

May 20, 2008
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As hurricane season approaches, Homeland Security's Ready Campaign and The Advertising Council are reaching out to small businesses and encouraging them to "define their day after" by putting emergency preparedness at the top of their to-do list. A series of national public service advertisements (PSA) entitled "Procrastination" were released nationwide today for radio, print, internet and outdoor media. These PSAs focus on what can happen when a business owner chooses to place making an emergency plan at the bottom of their to-do list. The theme taps into the natural tendency for individuals to put off making plans for another day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses employ more than half of all Americans. However, Institute for Business and Home Safety research shows that, at the minimum, one in four businesses never reopen following a disaster.

"Research conducted by the Ad Council found that more than 85 percent of small businesses understand that emergency preparedness is important, yet only four in ten businesses have a plan to protect their businesses," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "The ability of these businesses to survive and recover quickly from both natural and man-made disasters directly benefits employees, customers, the community and the local, and even national, economy."

These PSAs were created by Neiman Group and mark the third round of national PSAs created for Ready Business, a component of the Ready Campaign. Ready Business is designed to help owners and managers of small- to medium-size businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency by providing practical steps and easy-to-use templates. To date, the Ready Business effort has received more than $91.1 million in donated media support; its Web site has received more than 29.7 million hits and more than 2.6 million unique visitors; and more than 2.3 million Ready Business materials have been requested or downloaded from the Web site.

"In speaking to a number of small business owners, we understand that making an emergency plan often takes a backseat to the numerous tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily basis," said Ad Council President and CEO Peggy Conlon. "Ready Business provides critical resources and encourages businesses to take the time to protect what they have worked so hard to build. We hope these new PSAs will encourage all business owners to put making an emergency plan at the top of their to-do list and serve as a reminder of the information readily available to help prepare businesses for an emergency at ready.gov."

The Ready Campaign

February 2008 marked the Ready Campaign's fifth year at the Department of Homeland Security. Launched in 2003, in partnership with The Advertising Council, Ready was designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. It has proven to be one of the most successful campaigns in Ad Council's more than 65-year history. Since its launch, the campaign has generated more than $703.2 million in donated media support. Individuals interested in more information about family, business and community preparedness can visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

The U.S. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration provides long-term disaster recovery in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations. The SBA continues to advocate the importance of disaster preparedness via public service announcements, participating in emergency planning events staged by local chambers of commerce, and partnerships with private sector organizations. In November 2007 the SBA teamed up with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company to produce a 10-page disaster preparedness guide for small business owners.

For more information on SBA's disaster program and preparedness tips, and links to the public service announcements and the Nationwide disaster guide, visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/disasterpreparedness/index.html.

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