DEMA Puts Out Call to Action for Arizona Preparedness Month

DEMA Puts Out Call to Action for Arizona Preparedness Month

The "It Doesn't Take a Genius" PSA campaign launched in August to assure Arizonans of their ability to successfully prepare for emergencies.

What have you done in the last 365 days to be better prepared for emergencies?

If your answer is zip, zilch or zero, rest assured, you’re not alone. Getting people to prepare is harder than you might think. The topic of emergency preparedness is about as scintillating as long division.

Nevertheless, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) makes a point to advocate personal preparedness in the Whole Community wherever and whenever it can, especially in September. Gov. Doug Ducey has proclaimed September to be Arizona Preparedness Month to coincide with the 12th annual National Preparedness Month, an initiative managed by FEMA.

“It’s not easy to get people talking let alone thinking about what they might do if an emergency happened,” said DEMA Deputy Director Wendy Smith-Reeve. “Emergency preparedness is not something people typically talk about when they’re together, but it’s important that families have the conversation. What better time to have that conversation than during Arizona Preparedness Month.”

And while talking about personal preparedness is great start, DEMA spokespersons think Arizona Preparedness Month is the perfect time to put words into action. The Department is marking the occasion with a statewide public service announcement (PSA) campaign and its annual Emergency Kit Cook-Off.

“It Doesn’t Take a Genius”

DEMA launched the “It Doesn't Take a Genius” campaign in August with goal of reminding all Arizonans that “it doesn’t take a genius to prepare for emergencies, just the smarts to know you should.”

The campaign (#ItDoesntTakeAGenius) consists of bilingual radio and TV spots and billboards designed to parody the simplicity of basic emergency preparedness. The radio and TV spots will air statewide through the end of October.

Emergency preparedness is as much about having confidence in your ability to prepare as it is about making preparations. “It Doesn’t Take a Genius” is meant to assure all Arizonans that they needn't be a survival expert, have an engineering degree, or invest a lot of time and/or money to Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Be Informed and Inspire Others. Everyone can successfully prepare for the impacts of a disaster.

For more information on the “It Doesn’t Take a Genius” PSAs, visit the campaign website.

Emergency Kit Cook-Off

Since 2011, DEMA has sent an apron to everyone who submits a recipe to the annual Emergency Kit Cook-Off. Aprons are great, but for our fifth annual Kit Cook-Off, DEMA has partnered

It turns out that space food is not that different from what can be made using emergency supplies. As a play on that similarity, a bona fide NASA food scientist from the Space Food System Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) in Houston will rank and review five (5) Kit Cook-Off recipes that he/she thinks American astronauts might like to eat in space.

The public has until Wednesday, Sept. 30, to create a recipe that uses at least one Featured Ingredient and only nonperishable pantry and kit items. This year’s Featured Ingredients are:

  • Black beans
  • Tang (any flavor)
  • Dried tropical fruit (e.g., pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, bananas, etc.)
  • Honey
  • Quinoa

Recipes are accepted year-round at but only those who submit during National Preparedness Month in September will get a Kit Cook-Off apron and commemorative mission “patch,” while supplies last.

For more information on how to participate, visit Potential participants can also follow the Kit Cook-Off on Twitter and Pinterest, and “like” us on Facebook.

Carpe diem

Whether or not you submit an Emergency Kit Cook-Off recipe, DEMA encourages every Arizonan to take steps to make a plan, build a kit, be informed and inspire others. If you only fill out a family communication plan and start an emergency supplies kit during Arizona Preparedness Month it would be enough.

“Emergency preparedness is no small feat,” said Smith. “It takes time to get prepared for all hazards, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Begin by making a list of important phone numbers or buying enough bottled water to last your family for at least three days. Do enough of these small things over time and you’ll surprise yourself with how quickly you got prepared.”         

For more information emergency preparedness, visit