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Awareness rising

by Piotr Matczak, Darryn McEvoy, Ilona Banaszak, Adam Chorynski

[other options]

Awareness rising addresses the knowledge of individuals and organizations concerning flood risks. It takes a variety of forms: dissemination of printed materials on floods risks and prevention; organization of public meetings and training; professional consultation on flood prevention; informing through mass-media; using informal networks for information dissemination. It can be combined with establishment of community self-protection teams promoting self-reliance among residents and businesses to minimize risk to personal safety and property damage during a flood event. Building the ability to "live with floods" is getting importance in the awareness rising. Effective public communication system is essential for managing crisis situations involving threat to the public. The communication should be able to influence specific mass audience swiftly and effectively.
Extreme event: Drought; Floods; Heat waves; Sea surge
Type of option: Management best practice; Planning and design
Risk management: Risk identification and assessment; Risk reduction; Preparedness
Sector: Agriculture; Biodiversity (and nature conservation); Buildings and construction; Energy; Fishery; Forestry; Health; Industry; Insurance and financial services; Other; Tourism, leisure and lifestyle; Transport; Urban planning and design; Water resources
Landscape type: Urban; Rural; Coastal
Location: Austria; United Kingdom; United States; other
Drivers of change: Socio-economic: Growing risk despite high cost of structural protection. Spreading information is necessary element of protection and encouraging effective self-protection, self-diagnosis and reporting.

Policy: Local-government plays leading role in arrangements to protect communities; national emergency management programs.
How and who:
Implementation: National, regional and local media.
Institutional context: Warning culture is important as it builds collective awareness and readiness to act.
Potential barriers: Low trust between politicians, public, and the media; lack of warning culture pose a difficulty on option's efficiency. Predictability of cognitive and behavioural reactions on warnings is a problematic issue.
Implications for sustainable development:
Implications for sustainable development: No direct benefits though may be indirect consequences.
Self-help options help to etablish resilient communities. Regional and local leaders are usually more credible than national equivalents.
Option may be efficient, leading to reduction of property damage at relatively low investment costs.
knowledge transfer:

World Bank: Social Risk Management awareness campaign
Evaluation: Awareness rising is a complex task with results hard to predict. Proper design of information channels and a format of the message is important. One-on-one meetings are an appropriate and effective tool to promote risk reduction among those in highest risk areas.
Scientific references:
Granatt, M. (2004) On trust: Using public information and warning partnerships to support the community response to an emergency. Journal of Communication Management, 8 (4): 354-365.
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