A new UNL video series is offering a fun exploration of obvious facts while delivering emergency preparedness reminders to campus.
Launched in July by UNL Police, “Really Obvious Preparedness Facts” is an animated video series that features a silver-haired, safety vest-wearing emergency preparedness guy walking viewers through topics ranging from the best way to contact UNL police to how to lock up bicycles.
The creative spark behind the videos is Mark Robertson, UNLPD’s emergency preparedness coordinator.
“The videos are designed to present some very basic, but important information with a little humor mixed in,” Robertson said. “The ultimate goal is for people to take a moment and think about what they should do in these situations. If we can get them to just take that moment, then they are more prepared than before watching the video.”
Each video is between 30 to 60 seconds long and framed so the character — voiced by Robertson — presents the important information before encountering a related humorous situation. The videos close with the same tagline, “When you know the facts, it’s obvious.”
Robertson uses an animation program to create the videos. He selects topics based on relevance (like the need to drink water before August football games) and overall importance.
“Chief Yardley originally asked that I make these videos with me presenting the information,” Robertson said. “Since I have a face that’s only good for radio and no one wants some old guy telling them what to do, I thought using cartoons would be a little more fun.
“It’s an approach that some in the emergency preparedness field may not be thrilled about, but it’s a good way to reach students.”
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency agrees, as it named Robertson winner of its 2014 Excellence in Risk Communication Award for his work developing the series. The honor is part of the state’s annual Be Prepared Awards, which celebrate excellence by Nebraskans in making communities safer.
Nine videos are available in the series with more to be added as time allows, Robertson said.
“I love doing these videos because it really gives people the chance to think about some things they might not otherwise take time to consider,” Robertson said. “Self reliance is a huge advantage in an emergency situation. And if people just take a couple of minutes to watch these videos, they may help them be a step ahead if an emergency situation arises.”