Our marketing strategy helped FEMA instill a culture of emergency readiness among young people in communities nationwide.

Promoting preparedness through targeted change makers.

We can’t prevent emergencies and disasters, but we can educate ourselves on how to be prepared and stay safe. Getting people to proactively embrace this position, however, can be a challenge in and of itself. Over the course of several years, CHIEF supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) through key initiatives to promote emergency preparedness and awareness among youth and the whole community. CHIEF also strengthened marketing and outreach programs for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) National Program Office. Our long-term partnership connected FEMA to target audiences in order to convey the importance around community preparedness and resilience.


Marketing & Communications Strategy

Youth and Whole Community Preparedness

Demystifying the idea of emergency response gives people the knowledge and confidence needed to keep themselves safe in an emergency. Our approach focused on targeting key communities that could serve as influencers in amplifying this message—specifically youth and underrepresented communities. More specifically, our work to target youth aimed to empower teachers, parents, scout leaders and youth ambassadors to teach kids these valuable skills—because the kids of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

To do this right, CHIEF crafted a collection of strategic plans and tools to help individuals launch youth preparedness programs in their communities, complete with workshop materials to foster face-to-face engagement. Via a direct technical assistance center, we shared resources and connected youth preparedness practitioners nationwide—so we could support knowledge exchange to strengthen and amplify awareness around preparedness. A few key efforts included development support and the promotion of the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education, and the writing and distribution of the monthly Children and Disasters e-newsletter.

FEMA Booklet Covers

Youth preparedness support materials ranged from an implementation guide for youth preparedness programs to specialized guides on funding and liability to a catalogue that captured programs and resources throughout the country.

In addition to supporting programs for youth, CHIEF provided critical support for FEMA’s efforts working with youth via the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council (YPC)—a select group of bold youth leaders who are passionate about promoting preparedness within their respective communities. All of our work—from managing applications and the selection process, to crafting YPC promotional materials and providing media training to the Council—coalesced to provide members with holistic support throughout their terms. Setting these youth leaders up for success was a critical part of FEMA’s work to drive youth preparedness nationwide.

One of the weightiest tasks we undertook each year was the comprehensive planning and management of the annual Youth Preparedness Council Summit—a forum to launch new and existing Council members off on their specific projects for that year. CHIEF drove end-to-end support to ensure a smooth and successful Summit each year, including the development and design of session materials, logistics and staffing coordination, and photography, to name only a few key components.

FEMA Summit at CHIEF

The Results

CHIEF’s work provided a solid foundation for individuals starting and operating preparedness programs in their communities—including specialized funding and liability guides to make sure those practitioners were set up for long-term success. Our efforts to support the Youth Preparedness Council empowered young people to become force-multipliers to amplify the message of preparedness. The Council also became a powerful channel through which FEMA could learn about the needs of youth, from youth, in order to adapt their outreach strategies to produce greater impact.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The CERT program sparks local preparedness action by providing a framework for organizing and training disaster volunteers. To help streamline internal efforts and rally support around CERT, CHIEF developed tools and templates that communicated the work and value of the program—including implementation materials, talking points and sample social media content. Focusing on the two key settings where Americans spend most of their time during the day—work and school—CHIEF also developed tailored resources for Campus CERT and Workplace CERT programs. Newsletters allowed us to showcase CERT success stories across the country, and we leveraged our instructional design expertise to develop visually captivating online and in-person training materials for local CERT programs and individual participants.

The Results

Bolstered by our end-to-end marketing and design efforts, FEMA ensured that individuals have effective tools and resources to undertake preparedness efforts in their homes, neighborhoods, and beyond. Strengthening individual and community preparedness means that we, as a nation, have the power to stand up against disasters when they come our way.