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Press Releases

Homeland Security and The Ad Council Launch New Ready Campaign Public Service Advertisements

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
For Immediate Release
November 22, 2004

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Ad Council unveiled new Ready campaign public service advertisements (PSAs) today. The PSAs are designed to encourage people to develop a family emergency plan in case of a terrorist attack or other emergency. The new PSAs, which feature children questioning parents about what to do during an emergency, are the second series of advertisements for the Ready campaign.

"The message is simple: 'Everyone should have a plan'," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "The Ready campaign is another way in which we are galvanizing public preparedness efforts along with our partners in cities and community organizations across the country."

Secretary Ridge unveiled the new Ready PSAs at an event at the National Press Club hosted by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), two organizations that have pledged their continued support for the campaign. The event also featured remarks by American Red Cross President and CEO, Marsha Johnson Evans, who discussed the importance of emergency preparedness and the joint efforts of Homeland Security and the Red Cross in promoting this issue.

"I hope these ads will encourage parents to take a little time to sit down and map out their family emergency plan today, so they’re prepared for a terrorist attack, natural disaster or any emergency in the future," said Ridge.

The Ready campaign, launched in February 2003 by Homeland Security and the Ad Council, is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. The goal of the campaign is to get citizens involved and, ultimately, to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do three key things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.

The new version of the PSAs unveiled today, which were created pro bono by BBDO Worldwide, are aimed at parents and speak particularly about the value of a family emergency plan. The television advertisements feature children asking such questions as, "How do we keep in touch with each other if the phones don’t work?" "If we can’t make it home, who’ll pick us up?" and "Shouldn’t we pick a place to meet?" Homeland Security advises that by simply taking a little time to create a family emergency plan, parents can help uncover the answers to these critically important questions. In addition to the television advertisements, there are also new Ready campaign radio, print, outdoor and internet PSAs.

"The Department of Homeland Security is working to prepare all Americans, including families, seniors, business owners, educators, children and single people," said Ridge. "The version of the campaign that we unveiled today is aimed towards families."

The Ad Council has declared Ready one of the most successful campaign launches in its 62-year history. Since its launch, more than 210 million people have seen or read about Ready; its website ( has received over 1.8 billion hits; and the campaign has received more than $310 million in donated media support.

While it is too early to effectively gauge the long term effects of the campaign on public preparedness, thus far there are indications of progress.  A survey conducted by the Ad Council in early September 2004 found that 58% of Americans have taken at least one step to prepare for emergencies.  The number of individuals taking specific preparedness steps has also increased:

  • 36% now have an emergency supply kit, an increase of 10% since the start of the campaign
  • 24% now have made a family emergency plan, an increase of 9 %
  • 16% have sought more information about what to do in an emergency, an increase of 11% since the start of the campaign

The new public service announcements combined with Ready Business and the future launch of Ready Kids are directed at engaging more Americans on emergency preparedness.

One of the Department of Homeland Security’s key priorities is helping communities become better prepared to protect against or respond to a terrorist attack or major disaster. The Ready campaign, along with over 1,400 Citizen Corps Councils, helps engage citizens to prepare for emergencies. These programs are a critical part of a better prepared America.

The Ready campaign is a national public service advertising campaign produced by the Ad Council in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ready is designed to educate and empower American citizens to prepare for and respond to potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. Citizens interested in receiving a "Get Ready Now" brochure may call 1-800-BE-READY or visit for more information.