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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Now's the Time to Make a Plan

Entered in Public Service Announcement


We wanted to spread awareness about the importance of having a home fire escape plan. We were inspired by the National Fire Protection Association’s theme for Fire Prevention Week 2022: “Fire won't wait. Plan your escape.” Our hope was to both inform listeners of the importance of creating a plan, and empower them to take steps towards improving the safety of their homes through humorous and entertaining audio PSAs.


Our first goal was to teach listeners what a fire escape plan is. We wanted people to understand that proactively creating a plan is an option.


Our second goal was to inform the listener that it is their individual responsibility to make sure their family knows what to do in a fire. In schools and businesses we rely on professionals to think about and ensure our safety. In our homes, however, that onus lies on us. We put special emphasis on the importance of including the youngest and oldest family members in fire escape plans.


The third goal was to provide actionable, realistic steps listeners can take to make their own plan. 


Our fourth goal was to motivate people to start making their plan now rather than putting it off until some future date. That is why each of the three PSAs end with the phrase, “don’t wait, now’s the time to make a plan.”

Strategy and Execution

We began by thinking about who our target listener would be. We decided that adults in the rough age range of 30 to 60 years of age would benefit most from this type of information. Our reasoning was that people in that stage of life were the most likely to feel responsible for the safety of other family members. We hoped that listeners of all ages would enjoy and benefit from these messages, but we put special emphasis on trying to reach people who act as guardians for children and/or older relatives.


Next we needed to determine which lessons would be most beneficial to this group. Our primary information source was a document called NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference. We felt it was important to use lessons only from authoritative sources in order to avoid spreading misinformation. This guide provided an enormous amount of up-to-date safety messaging which we were able to narrow down to the most relevant lessons for our chosen theme and demographic.


Once the lessons were chosen, we worked on the concept for the PSAs campaign. We decided to make three audio spots featuring the same two characters at different points in their lives: childhood, adulthood, and old age. This would allow us to depict the unique safety considerations for each age group.


Our creative team then met with our voice performers via videoconferencing. The actors, Firefighter Alysia Reiner and Firefighter David Alan Basche, were presented with the safety messaging. They were then told the nature of their characters’ relationship in each spot (childhood friends, a married couple living with young children, and an older couple living on their own).


The actors were then asked to improvise each of the three scenes in order to develop the characters and generate humorous dialogue. Each scene was improvised twice with feedback from the director shared in between.


The creative team reviewed the recorded improv sessions and rewrote the dialogue. All attempts were made to preserve the most entertaining improvisations while still delivering helpful safety information. One of the key challenges at this stage was editing the script down to fit the allotted time slots (two at 30 seconds and one at 45 seconds).


The final scripts were then sent to the actors who were joined by the director and producer via video. Lines were recorded and edited into the final form, which took several cycles of revisions.


We felt we were able to fit all of our planned safety messaging into the three PSAs while keeping each piece short and entertaining. We were pleased to see that the first PSA got more than 43,000 views on Instagram. The recordings were also sent to various terrestrial radio stations, and while we can’t know how many people our messages reached that way we feel confident that a significant number of people heard, enjoyed, and heeded our messages.


Video for Now's the Time to Make a Plan

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Saltaire Volunteer Fire Company


Entry Credits