Orange County California officials have an interesting new strategy to get the word out to the public about preparing for disasters — ask the public to give them their word they will prepare.
ReadyOC is launching the “Promise to Prepare” campaign requesting local residents publicly commit on its web site that they will take at least one preparedness step. On the site, users can click on the “Promise To Prepare” button where they will be asked to pledge to do one or more readiness activities: create an emergency supply kit (or update existing kit), develop an emergency plan (or update existing plan), volunteer, attend preparedness training, or sign up for AlertOC. Once the resident makes the pledge, a ticker registers it on the site, and the user is offered resources to help fulfill the commitment.
This creative new initiative comes in response to the frustration officials have had making inroads on citizen readiness, highlighted by a study that found while more than 90% of Orange County residents are aware that emergency preparedness is important, 93% have made little or no preparations.
ReadyOC will be officially kicking off the “Promise to Prepare” campaign pegged to National Preparedness Month in September. It is seeking to achieve at least 32,000 promises in 2010 which would be approximately 1% of Orange County’s total population, according to spokesperson Jhovanna Midencey. (”Promise to Prepare” is currently in a soft launch and has not been publicized; nevertheless, 408 pledges have been made to date.) Midencey says the County is optimistic about the campaign based on experience in the field: “We have had individuals make a promise at an event, go buy an emergency supply kit and come back to show us they had followed through on their promise.”
I very much like the “Promise to Prepare” approach: it asks the citizens to take responsibility (and make a public commitment to ReadyOC and their fellow OC residents) but in a helpful and fun way. And guilt is not the only lever being used, ReadyOC is offering some incentives. Every pledger is automatically entered for a chance to win prizes (including deluxe emergency supply kits).
I ‘promise’ to provide follow up coverage about the campaign on the blog.