DHS Launches Anti-'Procrastination' Campaign for Small Businesses

As hurricane season approaches, the Department of 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 entitled "Procrastination" were released nationwide last week for radio, print, Internet, and outdoor media. Tapping into the natural tendency for individuals to put off making plans for another day, the PSAs focus on what can happen when business owners choose to place making an emergency plan at the bottom of their to-do list.

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 DHS 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."

The "Procrastination" 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. 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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