News Release
May 15, 2014

CDPH Launches Campaign in 15 Languages to Encourage Residents to help #PrepareChicago for Emergencies

City initiative returns for the second year to teach residents how to prepare for large-scale emergencies and disasters

Ryan Gage

CHICAGO – Today, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launches its “Prepare Chicago” public education campaign, providing tips for Chicagoans to prepare for large-scale emergencies and natural disasters. As part of CDPH's efforts to reach all Chicagoans where they live, work and play, the campaign features print and bus shelter ads in 15 languages, transit ads showcasing the diverse families in Chicago and in-game advertising at White Sox home games.
“Prepare Chicago” educates residents on how they can prepare their families, how to work together as a community and how they can volunteer during public health emergencies such as extreme weather conditions and natural disasters, deliberate releases of hazardous materials and epidemics of influenza and other communicable diseases.

“Chicago is best prepared when we are all prepared, which is why we are working to reach residents in every neighborhood in a variety of languages and formats,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. “Making sure all Chicagoans have the knowledge and resources they need to protect themselves in an emergency is imperative to our mission of ensuring the health and safety of our residents.”

As part of the campaign, emergency preparedness messages will be displayed throughout Chicago via the CTA and Metra transit systems, taxis, billboards, TV commercials and radio ads.  Chicago’s popular bike sharing system Divvy will display “Prepare Chicago” messages at stations throughout the City later this summer. This year’s campaign also includes foreign language online and print publications as well as bus shelter ads in the 15 most commonly spoken languages in Chicago: English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Tagalog, Arabic, Serbian, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, Urdu, French, Italian, Hindi, German and Greek.

“The best response to any emergency is a local response,” said Dr. Suzet McKinney, CDPH Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response. “If we rally together and prepare as a community, we can ensure an immediate and coordinated response to any large-scale emergency that occurs in our city.”  

Baseball fans also will get the opportunity to learn how they can best prepare for emergencies during Chicago White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field.  “Prepare Chicago” messages of family and community preparedness will be visible on digital display screens and in-park TVs. Fans will also see a video PSA from manager Robin Ventura during the pre-game warm ups reminding everyone that “When we prepare together, Chicago wins.”

The campaign reminds residents to take the following simple steps that could help save lives if and when an emergency occurs:

  • Make a plan. Establish a family emergency plan that details how you will contact one another in an emergency. Outline how you will get to a safe place and how you will get back together if separated.
  • Build a kit. A family readiness kit includes essential items that can keep your family safe and healthy in an emergency until additional help arrives. It includes items such as non-perishable food, water, copies of medical prescriptions and immunization records.  Make a kit for yourself, your family and your pets. A complete list of items to consider for you kit can be found here.
  • Check on your neighbors. Remember to lend a hand and assist residents who are more sensitive to weather conditions, especially the elderly, the disabled and those who live alone. Residents can also call 3-1-1 to request a well-being check from the City for a neighbor in possible need of assistance.
  • Residents looking for additional ways to help can volunteer their skills by signing up for the Chicago Medical Reserve Corps (CMRC). CMRC has over 400 medical and non-medical professionals who assist in public health emergencies and local disasters. Chicagoans can sign up to volunteer online or via email at

For more information, visit