In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Today’s New York City Anti-Smoking Day Offers Lessons For Citizen Preparedness

June 3rd, 2008 · 1 Comment

It’s “NYC Quits Day” here in New York. The day is part of a major anti-smoking effort, which has been a major priority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

And why am I mentioning this in a citizen preparedness blog? Because I believe that there are a couple key financial and publicity elements in the City’s anti-smoking initiative that I think are instructive for developing effective campaigns for public emergency preparedness. For example, the City is:

*increasing the cigarette tax to hit smokers where it (in the short term) really hurts

*giving away free nicotine patches (at about $60 a patch) to make it easier for them to start stopping

*and creating a special day to consolidate public and media attention

Like smoking, civilian emergency preparedness requires a major change in public behavior. It will not happen unless the government gets really serious and takes advantage of some of the levers it normally uses when it wants to change public behavior (as the City is doing in its anti-smoking effort). We need to be willing to utilize financial incentives — such as tax-free holidays on emergency supplies — to get people to prepare. And I have suggested that similarly there is a need to pick one day for everyone to focus on preparedness.




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