[LINK] Homeland defense drives citizens to Web
Thu, 20 Feb 2003 10:53:43 +1100
Homeland defense drives citizens to Web
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
February 19, 2003, 1:31 PM PT
The Bush administration unveiled Ready.gov on Wednesday as a touchstone for
a massive public-awareness campaign to prepare Americans for a potential
terrorist attack. The Department of Homeland Defense kicked off a $100
million campaign in the form of print, radio, direct mail and outdoor
advertisements that will feature the Web site. The site, whose motto is
"Don't be afraid. Be ready," offers information, tutorials and checklists
on how to protect oneself in the event of biological, chemical or nuclear
The campaign was launched in response to the Department of Homeland
Security's growing, perceived threat of terrorism in the United States. In
the last two weeks, the department put the nation on high alert against
potential warfare for the second time since the suicide bombings of Sept.
11, driving many people to hardware stores to buy duct tape and water.
"While this department and organizations around the country work hard every
day to prevent terrorist attacks and strengthen our national protection,
individual citizens can help too," Tom Ridge, U.S. Department of Homeland
Security secretary, said in a statement. He introduced the campaign and Web
site Wednesday morning at the Cincinnati American Red Cross.
Security is also a big issue in operating the Web site. Ruder Finn
Interactive, which developed the site in partnership with the Advertising
Council, teamed up with security firm International Networking Services
(INS) to ensure that the site would be safe against potential hackers or a
cyberterrorism attack. INS has a team overseeing the site's security at all
times, according to Steve Bergman, program manager for INS. He said it was
built using National Security Alliance guidelines.
Producers for the site said they built it with the knowledge that many
people flock to the Web in a crisis. They evaluated traffic levels for some
of the highest profile sites during the Sept. 11 attacks and the recent
NASA flight explosion, including CNN.com and NASA.org, to model the site's
"It was designed to perform well at the highest expectation of Web sites,"
said Brad McCormick, product manager at Ruder Finn. He said the site was
build in about three months.
The organizations plan to update the site in coming months with local
information such as evacuation plans in the top U.S. cities in the case of
an attack. They also plan to create versions of it in other languages
including Arabic. As part of the campaign, the U.S. Postal Service will
send out brochures to every American. All of the ads will direct people to
call 1-800-BE-READY to access a free brochure or visit the Web site.
Be alert, we need more lerts.