SPRINGFIELD – In commemoration of National Preparedness Month, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled a new initiative aimed at increasing personal preparedness for all types of disasters. The “Ready Illinois High School Challenge,” a public service announcement contest, encourages high school students to develop a 30-second script that addresses disaster preparedness measures and directs people to the state’s Ready Illinois website. The winning spot will be professionally produced and aired statewide on radio and/or TV as part of the state’s campaign to encourage people to prepare for natural and man-made disasters.
“We can’t prevent disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and ice storms, from happening,” said Governor Blagojevich. “But each of us can take steps to make sure we’re better prepared when disaster strikes. The ‘Ready Illinois High School Challenge’ will tap into the wonderful creative talent of our high school students by encouraging them to develop public service announcements that spread the word about personal preparedness.”
The Blagojevich administration unveiled the Ready Illinois website in September 2007. The website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov
) offers comprehensive information on steps people can take before emergencies happen, what to do once a disaster has occurred, and tips for recovery after the event. During disasters, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) posts vital information about the situation, including shelter locations, road closures, volunteer opportunities and updates on the situation.
“There are some very basic steps that everyone can take to be prepared for disasters,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. “The Ready Illinois website provides information on such things as how to put together an emergency supply kit, how to develop a family communications plan and how to prepare if you have family members with special needs. Following these guidelines can make an emergency situation much less stressful and can even save lives.”
The “Ready Illinois High School Challenge” contest is sponsored by IEMA in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA).
In addition to having their spot professionally produced and aired statewide, the winning student or team will be recognized by IEMA and the IBA at a school assembly and presented with commemorative plaques. The winners’ school also will receive a $10,000 award to be used for school curriculum or instructional supplies/activities. The prize money is being provided by the IBA.
“This contest provides the perfect vehicle for taking the ‘Ready Illinois’ broadcast public education media campaign to the next level,” said Dennis Lyle, IBA President and CEO. “We're delighted to be associated with a contest that taps, and ultimately rewards, the creative talent of Illinois high school students in creating a message that speaks to Illinois citizens of all ages.”
Entries for the “Ready Illinois High School Challenge” can be submitted between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2008. Judging of entries will take place in January, and the winning student or team of students will be notified prior to Feb. 28. Official contest rules and online entry form can be found at www.Ready.Illinois.gov
. People with questions about the contest can contact IEMA at 217-558-1334.
The winning spot will become the latest addition to Governor Blagojevich’s efforts to increase awareness of the Ready Illinois website and the need for personal preparedness. This summer, the state launched three radio spots and a TV spot that encourage people to visit the website for preparedness information.
Since the Ready Illinois website was unveiled in September 2007, nearly 63,000 unique visitors have checked out information on current emergencies, personal preparedness and more.