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May 12, 2009

New Statewide Emergency Preparedness Ad Created by High School Student from Springfield
Lanphier High School junior recognized for winning entry in PSA contest, school receives $10,000 prize

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ campaign to encourage people to be prepared for disasters has a new TV spot thanks to the creative efforts of a high school junior from Springfield.  Lanphier High School student Brittny Barger learned Tuesday afternoon that she submitted the winning entry in the “Ready Illinois High School Challenge” contest, and her script has already been produced as a 30-second TV spot.  The contest was sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF), in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA). 

“This new TV spot is a welcome addition to our statewide campaign to increase personal preparedness,” said ITTF Chairman Mike Chamness.  “While we never know when disaster may strike, being prepared – at home, at work, at school or in your car – can keep you and your loved ones safe during any type of emergency.”

Nearly 50 high school students from around the state submitted entries for the contest, which asked teens to develop a 30-second script that addressed disaster preparedness measures and directed people to the state’s Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) for more information about preparedness. 

During an award ceremony Tuesday at Lanphier High School, ITTF Chairman Mike Chamness presented Barger with a plaque commemorating her winning entry, along with a home disaster preparedness kit for her family.  Barger and nearly 300 members of the LHS junior class were also treated to a premier of the finished TV spot based on her entry.  In the spot, a woman and her dog Spencer grab their pre-assembled preparedness kits and head for the basement as outdoor warning sirens blare in the background.  The TV spot was produced by Southern Illinois University – Carbondale student Rafal Kos.

Lanphier High School was also recognized for Barger’s efforts.  Dennis Lyle, IBA President and CEO, presented LHS Principal Shelia Boozer with a check for $10,000.  The IBA provided the school prize money, which can be used for curriculum or instructional supplies/activities. 

"This contest, and the resulting media campaign, speaks volumes to the spirit of partnership and cooperation between the broadcasters of Illinois, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and of course the Illinois Emergency Management Agency," said Lyle.  "It's win-win for all involved and particularly the citizens of Illinois who, thanks to Brittny's creative vision, will again be reminded of the value of the Ready Illinois website."

Student entries were judged by a panel of professors from Illinois universities that teach broadcast copywriting.  The winning spot will begin airing on TV stations throughout Illinois on May 18 as part of the ITTF’s disaster preparedness broadcast campaign. 

The Ready Illinois website was created in 2007 to provide one-stop information about what people can do before an emergency happens, what to do once a disaster has occurred, and tips for recovery after the event.  The site has also become an important tool for providing up-to-the-minute information about on-going disasters, most recently for the H1N1 flu outbreak and the severe storms that ripped through southern Illinois on May 8. 


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