chapter  9
Communicating Actionable Risk: The Challenge of Communicating Risk to Motivate Preparedness in the Absence of Calamity
ByMICHELE M. WOOD
Pages 16

This chapter focuses on communications designed to motivate household preparedness before an event occurs and introduces the concept of “communicating actionable risk”, a shift in communication away from emphasizing risk to emphasizing what to do about risk. Three specific recommendations are offered. First, learning processes via public education and information campaigns designed to increase public preparedness should emphasize the actions people should take to become better prepared rather than the physical impacts of disasters or increasing perceptions of risk. Second, given that one of the strongest motivators of taking preparedness actions is when average people share with others what they have done to prepare, the focus of public education campaigns should shift from representatives of governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations to members of the public who have already taken steps to become prepared. And third, information campaigns should distribute information that is dense (i.e., communicated consistently by multiple sources, over many different communication channels, over time). Thus, public education programs that incorporate peer role models, adopt social network-based strategies, and encourage public display of social cues to preparedness action are likely to be most effective.