Written answers

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Department of Defence

Public Information Campaigns

5:00 pm

Photo of Charlie O'ConnorCharlie O'Connor (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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Question 34: To ask the Minister for Defence when it is proposed to run the public information campaign on emergency planning; the research, consultations and planning that have gone into preparing the campaign; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13413/08]

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Question 49: To ask the Minister for Defence the progress made with regard to the distribution of a new handbook on emergency planning to every household here; when the distribution of the booklet will begin; when it will be completed; the anticipated cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13559/08]

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 49 together.

The Public Information and Awareness Campaign on Emergency Planning will be formally launched by An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D., on Monday next, the 14th of April, in the National Emergency Coordination Centre. The campaign follows the outcome of market research conducted in 2006 that showed that a majority of people were unaware of the State's plans to deal with major emergencies or what actions they themselves should take in the event of an emergency occurring.

On foot of this research, the Government approved a strategy for the implementation of the public information campaign that provides for:

the production and countrywide distribution of a handbook on emergency planning

a media advertisement campaign to let people know what the handbook is about and to provide reassurance that its publication is part of the continuing development of emergency planning and therefore not a cause for alarm

the use of structured exercises on an ongoing basis by the State's departments and agencies to deliver key messages on their emergency plans to the wider public.

The Office of Emergency Planning is coordinating the implementation of the campaign and a firm of public relations consultants was engaged to support the process. There has been significant consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in the preparation of the handbook. Extensive discussions were held with the key government departments and agencies. The National Council for the Blind and the National Disability Authority were consulted for advice on their member's requirements. Finally, the draft handbook was submitted to a focus group drawn from various backgrounds for their views and opinions.

A national advertisement campaign commenced this week. The handbook, which has been printed in Irish and English, will be distributed to each household commencing on the 14th April and its nationwide distribution will take approximately two weeks to complete. The handbook is also available in braille, large print, audio cd, and 'easy to read' versions. It will be available on-line in Polish, Russian and Chinese on the emergencyplanning.ie website. The total cost of the campaign will be approximately €2.25 million.

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