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.

"Earthquake Cause Salamis" - Kids Know Best

“Earthquake Cause Salamis” – Kids Know Best

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!