October 7, 2013
Earthquake PSAs around the world
Posted by Austin Elliott
Earthquake public service announcements run the gamut from trite and dry to hip, beautiful, and even charming.
The production quality of recent campaigns attests to both their importance and the practicality of raising awareness inexpensively through the Internet Media Machine. Public awareness and training about earthquake risks forms the foundation of any risk mitigation effort; building retrofits cost tons, but people can be trained how to protect themselves for far less. Production cost of a catchy, informative awareness campaign pales in comparison to widespread construction and infrastructure upgrades, and it’s aided when the internet can work its viral magic.
Underpinning the worldwide message is “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” agreed by experts to be the most basic and consistent way to reduce your risk of injury during strong ground motion–and other natural threats. However, catering preparedness campaigns to individual countries with vastly different cultures is truly a marketing challenge, and the results are illuminating… or at least fun. My favorite, and a charming video that I could watch [read: have watched] 1,000 times comes from GetThru New Zealand. This awareness campaign serves a country that has seen a humongous surge in quake-preparedness resources and public awareness following the spate of devastating urban earthquakes down there. Strap in your cutebelts:
Contrast that charm with these culturally tuned videos from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority
What do you do?
When you’re done dancing, have a look at this snarky, ironic PSA from the U.S.’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (“Winging it is not an emergency plan”):
For Spanish-speaking Southern California and the connected hazards of northern Baja, ShakeOut paired with Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design for this slapstick bit (“Don’t Fight the Inevitable”):
On a more emotionally somber tone, Noka Productions made a collection of beautiful videos to raise money for Japanese quake and tsunami victims. Note that these are to raise money, not to inform people of hazards; that plays a big role in the tone of the clip.
Undoubtedly there are plenty more that I haven’t yet come across. If you know of good ones, let us know in the comments. I’ll leave you with what I consider pretty much the best–although it doesn’t replace a snappy 30-second spot–the earthquake scenario video developed by ACCD for California’s ShakeOut drill, which is coming up on October 17!
These are great! They remind me of the KRS ONE Disaster Kit rap, featured here:
Not technically an earthquake PSA but still one of my favorites.
The topic of communication with the public regarding an impending earthquake hazard has assumed great importance since 7 senior Italian Geophysicists were sentenced to jail by Italian Court in L’Aquila Earthquake trial. This has caused a great unrest in the Geo-scientists’ fraternity world over, as the Geo-scientists were held Legally responsible for lack of communication with the public. Geo-scientists should only be expected to give a learned opinion to the Government. Communicating to the public and issuing warnings with high or low degree of emergency, is the role of concerned Government Department. Creating awareness about hazards and helping the society to stay prepared is of course the job of Geoscientists, Social workers, Government Departments, NGOs, in other words every concerned citizen.