In recognition of National Preparedness Month and Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), FEMA and the Ad Council released new Ready Campaign PSAs developed specifically for the Latino community as part of FEMA’s approach to advance accessibility and cultural competency in boosting the nation’s preparedness. The new “Prepare to Protect” PSAs in Spanish and English inform people living in communities across the country how to prepare for natural disasters. These new PSAs represent a first for FEMA with the specific focus on the Latino community and will supplement the other elements of this year’s campaign’s work to reach all audiences around the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino community is the fastest growing community in the nation, growing by 23 percent over the decade. This growth drove FEMA’s focus for this year’s Ready Campaign to help all residents better prepare for disasters. FEMA used a data-driven approach to identify and develop culturally competent messaging tailored to resonate with the Latino community to encourage audiences to develop emergency plans. The Latino focused ads seek to build on the Latino community’s commitment to personal planning for occasions and family milestones as a bridge to also planning for disasters. This aims to help address a gap identified in FEMA’s 2020 National Household Survey which shows 98 percent of households acknowledging that at least one disaster could impact where they live, yet less than half made an emergency plan or talked to others about getting prepared.
“Disasters transcend language and cultural barriers, and so should the way we talk about them. Our campaign, ’Prepare to Protect,’ taps into Latinos’ culture to plan for life’s most common and special events to bridge a connection to their desire to prepare their loved ones and protect them against disasters,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The power of this strategy is that we can all see ourselves in this message and establish a direct connection between planning for everyday life, and planning for a disaster.”
FEMA’s Ready Campaign PSAs were developed pro bono by Lopez Negrete Communications in coordination with the Ad Council. FEMA’s very own Hispanic/Latino Employee Resource Group was also tapped to help shape the ads. Throughout the month, Ready will emphasize unique aspects of preparedness, including making a communications plan, building a kit and teaching communities how to engage their families on emergency preparedness.
FEMA is putting equity front and center and is committed to accessibility and leveraging cultural competency across the agency to better communicate with all cultures. This new, evolving approach builds on the work the agency is promoting to help the people FEMA serves and its workforce understand, and practice emergency preparedness.
“This one-of-a-kind campaign is a step in a new direction for our agency that is committed to putting people first and reaching communities where they are. It is our hope that more people will use these resources to prepare ahead of disasters this year,” said Administrator Criswell.
“We are proud to be part of this very important effort and to have the opportunity to craft messages specifically targeting the American Latino audience, both in-language and in-culture, taking into account the specific insights and context that are in play for our community,” stated Lopez Negrete Communications’ President/CEO, Alex López Negrete. “Ours is a strong, resilient community that has gone through its fair share of disasters and is adept at planning for everything from a complex quinceañera to a multigenerational family celebration, yet, very much lives in the ‘now.’ This campaign reminds and encourages our Hispanic audience to take those skills and apply them toward emergency preparedness for the sake of our families and loved ones.”
“When it comes to preparing for disasters, one of the most helpful things you can do is create an emergency plan and talk about it with your family,” said the Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer, Michelle Hillman. “This latest creative work reminds all of us that planning is a simple step everyone can take to help keep safe during emergencies.”
These PSAs build upon the annual month-long Ready Campaign activities that kicked off with President Biden’s proclamation for the month. The Ready Campaign continues to release other creative content to engage communities to promote the steps to prepare for disaster in a variety of languages to help everyone have access to critical and life-safety information.
This round of creative work for the ReadyCampaign is the latest in 18 years of educating communities about disaster and emergency preparedness. For more information and to get started on your emergency plan, visit ready.gov/plan or listo.gov/plan.