U.S. Forest Service, NFPA and Ad Council launch PSA campaign encouraging Americans to adapt and prepare for wildland fires

Published on June 6, 2012
 
Nearly 70,000 communities in the United States are at risk of damaging wildfires this season

WASHINGTON, DC / June 6, 2012 In the midst of wildfire season throughout much of the country, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Ad Council announce the launch of a new public service advertising (PSAs) campaign, Fire Adapted Communities, which aims to help individuals prepare their homes and communities for the threat of wildfire. Created pro bono by advertising agency Draftfcb, this campaign addresses the issue of proactively mitigating wildfire damage in fire-prone communities.

Nearly 70,000 communities nationwide are at risk from wildfire, according to the National Association of State Foresters. Embers from a wildfire travel great distances, often causing new wildfires more than a mile from their origin. It can take years for communities and local ecosystems to recover from a wildfire. In addition, wildfires cost government, businesses and individuals billions of dollars each year in suppression costs and damage to homes, infrastructure, the economy and resources.

“This campaign will help individual homeowners and communities safeguard their homes from wildfire threats,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We are pleased to partner with the Ad Council and the National Fire Protection Association to help educate communities – especially those next to wooded areas – on simple steps they can take to help protect their property and families when wildfires strike.”


Lew Southard, Assistant Fire Director for Partnerships, USDA Forest Service, addresses the crowd. 
Wildfire is an inevitable fact of life. This campaign raises awareness that those living in fire-prone communities must prepare in advance to mitigate wildfire damage when it occurs. The more proactive actions a community takes, the more fire adapted it becomes.

“Wildfire threat is a reality to thousands of communities across the United States. We are proud to play an active role in Fire Adapted Communities as we continue our efforts to provide tools and information to encourage the public to prepare for wildfire and reduce their risk," said NFPA President Jim Shannon.

The television, radio, print, outdoor and web PSAs aim to empower residents to proactively take the steps to make their communities fire adapted by reinforcing that “you can’t control where a wildfire ember will land – but you can control what happens when it does.” The ads direct audiences to visit a new comprehensive website, www.FireAdapted.org, where they can find a host of resources on how to prepare for wildfires. The new web portal is a one-stop shop for the latest developments in wildfire safety, best practices, toolkits and programs of the nation’s leading wildfire organizations.

“We are proud to join with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Fire Protection Association on this important and first-of-its-kind campaign,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We hope that our efforts will influence property owners and community leaders in fire-prone areas to take the necessary steps to prepare in advance of a wildfire, improving the safety and resiliency of their communities.”

“Draftfcb has enjoyed a long history with the Ad Council and U.S. Forest Service, working to empower individuals to prevent wildfires through Smokey Bear’s message,” said Hilary Hamer, senior vice president and group management director at Draftfcb. “It is an honor to join forces again to encourage communities to be prepared, protect themselves and prevail over the threat of wildfires.”

For more than 68 years, the Ad Council has worked with the U.S. Forest Service and Draftfcb to address the issue of wildfire prevention with the iconic character Smokey Bear and his famous tagline “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” The Ad Council partnered again with the U.S. Forest Service in 2009 to create its Discover the Forest campaign encouraging families to unplug and reconnect by getting outdoors and enjoying the wonders of nature.

The Fire Adapted Communities PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The U.S. Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and The Advertising Council. The Wildfire Prevention campaign, featuring Smokey Bear, is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has produced, distributed and promoted thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas of health & safety, community and education.

Draftfcb
With an equal focus on creativity and accountability, Draftfcb is the first global, fully integrated marketing communications agency for the digital age to operate against a single P&L without any silos. The agency is driven by a singular focus on consumer behavior, recognizing the importance of producing brilliant creative ideas that really matter to consumers in the brief amount of time they are willing to give marketers in today’s media-saturated world. The Draftfcb network spans 153 offices in 90 countries and employs approximately 9,300 people.

Press contacts:

Joe Walsh
U.S. Forest Service
+1 202 205-1294

Jennifer Jones
U.S. Forest Service
+1 208 387-5437

Abigail Quesinberry
The Ad Council
+1 212 984-1971

Lorraine Carli
National Fire Protection Association
+1 617 984-7275

Michelle McGowan
Draftfcb
+1 312 425-6013

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