|The first Soviet nuclear bomb test, August 29, 1949|
With this new, exceptionally lethal weapon at their disposal, a single Soviet bomber could lay waste to an American city if it was able to slip through air defenses. What could be done to prepare residents for this potential threat? Enter our friend Bert the Turtle.
|Bert the Turtle|
Of course, Bert does the right thing. He ducks and covers when he sees the flash of the firecracker, and his fast thinking saves the day. Across the country in school rooms, students were shown the film with the catch jingle and told to do exactly what Bert did - duck and cover.
|A duck and cover drill|
What Bert also did was help to flip the mindset of the American public. Before these movies were released, people thought it was pointless to protect themselves from the dangers an atomic bomb could bring to bear. Instead, it gave them some concrete steps to take in the event of an attack that they could use to save their lives.
|The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy|
I can't tell you how many times I have gone to a preparedness presentation and have been told by one of the audience members that once I spoke they were terrified by the prospect of living through a hurricane. Why would I tell them to build a survival kit, get boards for their windows and find their evacuation level if everything was going to just be destroyed? Why even bother? After all, we're all going to be victims.
|FEMA Director Craig Fugate|
Unless you are in the morgue, you are a survivor of a disaster.
Think about how profound that statement is. Once we couch our preparation efforts ... our education efforts ... around that statement, what can't we do? It paints for them a scary reality, but also an attainable goal. It tells them that while emergency responders will work hard to restore essential services, it is their responsibility to take care of their families for a minimum of 72 hours.
It gives them an action they can take to make their survival a priority.
Isn't that our goal?
Tom Iovino, Public Relations Strategist
Hillsborough County, Florida