OKLAHOMA - In Spring, travelers throughout Oklahoma learn ways to decrease their risks for damage when severe weather comes to their neighborhoods. Each April, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) partners with private and public entities to spearhead a month-long, public education campaign. During the campaign, people learn readiness tips for weather events like tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and hail.
OEM Public Information Officer Michelann Ooten said, “A host of partners plan and implement the month-long campaign. A central partner is McDonald’s, where an average of 1,000 customers per day receives readiness information from the 166 restaurants that participate.”
Because of McDonald’s continued involvement, the program is called “McReady.” In addition, the coordination and participation of OEM and other program partners has proved invaluable. Media outlets, non-profit organizations, utility providers, the National Weather Service (NWS), and Citizens Corps provide information and arrange events that bring the messages home. The project has expanded from a single event held in Tulsa in 2003 to a program that stretches throughout the State providing information needed to prepare for the worst weather Oklahoma can bring. In 2007, OEM received recognition for the “McReady” program from the International Association of Emergency Management (IAEM) that recognized the program’s contributions to public awareness and weather preparedness.
In 2007, the public education campaign included funding from OEM and an estmated $170,000 in cash and in-kind donations. Estimates from 2007 show nearly five million citizens were exposed to “McReady”during the 30-day April campaign. The 2007 cost per citizen was less than $12.
Tulsa Partners Director Tim Lovell who helped start the program said, “Keys to the success of the ‘McReady’ program include an organized central message, a growing, involved partnership of private and public entities, and a long-term commitment to delivering the program.”