VashonBePrepared to begin ad campaign

VashonBePrepared plans to launch a public awareness campaign this week that encourages Islanders to prepare for the earthquakes or other kinds of natural disaster that organizers believe are inevitable.

Starting today, Islanders will see a variety of signs — all with the logo and message “Are you ready?” — posted at several locations. At 2 by 3 feet, the signs are meant to catch the eye, according to VashonBePrepared Vice President Bob Smueles. They will go up at Thriftway, Island Lumber, Vashon Market and Pandora’s Box; smaller versions will go up on the doors at True Value. The signs, with themes of household preparedness, Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations and volunteering, will stay up in one spot for a week, then be rotated to another location.

“We don’t want these signs to blend into the background,” Smueles said.

Smueles, who became vice president of the emergency preparedness organization earlier this spring, said the group deemed that further outreach to Islanders was important, though the information they have about Islanders’ readiness for disaster is anecdotal.

“There’s a feeling in the group that people on the Island are not as prepared as they should be,” he said. “The campaign is an attempt at getting people to wake up to the fact that we might be in a disaster.”

The signs, paid for by Vashon Island Fire & Rescue and designed by Islander Richard Farner, direct people to VashonBePrepared’s website for more information. Smueles said he hopes people will check out the website, learn more about the organization, the risk of disaster on the Island and how to best withstand such an event.

The signs are the first part of the campaign, he noted, and will be followed by other outreach efforts. The campaign is something of an experiment, he added, and organizers may change the size and locations of the signs. They’ll also seek feedback and monitor the website to see if there is an uptick in visitors.

“What makes disaster survivable is people taking their own responsibility,” he said.


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