FEMA’s Ready Campaign Celebrates Its 20th Year, Launches New Ad Campaign with the Ad Council to Urge Older Adults to “Take Control” When It Comes to Emergency Preparedness

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Release Date:
November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON -- Over the last few years, FEMA has designed campaigns to meet the needs of specific communities, and this year’s Ready campaign focuses on older adults, specifically those with limited financial resources, living with disabilities and those living in rural areas. As part of the FEMA Ready campaign’s goal of empowering all people to take steps to become disaster resilient, FEMA and the Ad Council launched new PSAs today, developed specifically for older adults. In the campaign’s 20th year, the new “Take Control” PSAs empower older adults and their caregivers to take three simple steps to prepare for an emergency: 1) assess needs, 2) make a plan and 3) engage support networks. This is the first time FEMA has created a campaign to reach older adults with tailored messaging and information specifically for them. FEMA also released an older adults guide available on Ready.gov/OlderAdults to aid people viewing the ad creative and to ensure that the content is accessible to them.

“While older adults may be more vulnerable to disaster consequences -- especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability or live in rural areas -- they can also be force-multipliers for preparedness,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “I encourage everyone, especially older adults, to engage your support networks on emergency planning, because your friends, family and neighbors depend as much on you as you do on them. I also urge FEMA’s partners, including those who work with and support the older adults in our communities, to work together to bolster preparedness for this particularly vulnerable group.” 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020 about 1 in 6 people in the United States were age 65 or older. To meet the specific needs of this growing segment of population, FEMA met with organizations focused on caring for older adults, and the Ad Council held focus groups with older adults to develop new resources on Ready.gov/OlderAdults and Listo.gov/AdultsMayores. These new resources include a Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults, providing easy-to-read, user-friendly worksheets that walk individuals and caregivers through a self-assessment to identify specific needs and checklists that create a personalized plan.   

FEMA’s Ready Campaign PSAs were developed pro bono by Lopez Negrete Communications in coordination with the Ad Council. Building on Ready’s National Preparedness Month work in September, this year’s PSAs emphasize how all communities can prepare for disasters and amplifies best practices to engage loved ones on emergency preparedness using the three easy steps.

This year’s older adult PSA follows in the path of the last two years of community-focused efforts, which engaged the Black and African-American and Latino communities specifically, and the nation at-large in individual and national preparedness. Since its launch in 2003, the Ready campaign generated over 100 million unique visitors to Ready.gov, where individuals, families and communities can learn how to best prepare for disasters. 

“We are very proud to once again have an opportunity to put our strategic thinking and creative resources to work on this campaign targeting older, diverse adults for FEMA through the Ad Council,” stated Lopez Negrete Communications’ President/CEO, Alex López Negrete. “The research conducted uncovered some powerful yet complex insights that required unique creative activation. Sometimes, those who have been through a lot in life consider themselves invulnerable and put themselves at unnecessary risk when disaster strikes -- when all it takes to avoid putting themselves in danger are three easy steps. We are optimistic that this work will cut through the clutter and make a difference in encouraging our older adults to prepare properly.” 

“Unfortunately, with disasters, we know it’s not a matter of if, but when they’ll strike. And this can be especially devastating for vulnerable populations,” said Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer, Michelle Hillman. “We’re particularly proud of this new creative developed specifically to empower older adults to be proactive and take control in three steps to stay safe and prepare for those moments.” 

This round of creative work is the latest in FEMA and the Ad Council’s 20-year partnership of educating communities about disasters and emergency preparedness. For more information and to get started on your emergency plan, visit ready.gov/plan or listo.gov/plan.   

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