Risk communication: How you say it
In a crisis, "how" information is communicated to the public is as important as "what" information is communicated — especially when it comes to WMDs and radiological scenarios.
By educating the public and other professionals about the true risks from radiation exposure, radiation experts can help to reduce the public's misunderstanding of, and consequent fear of, radiation. If the public's perception of the risk of a situation, such as radiation exposure, is closer to the actual risk of the situation, they can make better decisions about how to protect their health and safety and that of their loved ones.
Three key points to keep in mind:
- Risk communication procedures must be thoroughly integrated into agency response plans to ensure that the general public remains well informed at all phases of a terrorism event.
- Communication must occur throughout the planning stages before an event occurs, during an event to provide reliable and timely information about the situation, and after the event to foster as speedy a recovery as possible.
- By effectively and empathically communicating with the public before the next terrorism event about what might happen, what safeguards are in place to prevent terrorism events from occurring, and what plans and infrastructure are already in place to rapidly respond to the public's needs in the event of a terrorism attack, we can decrease the terror from a terrorism attack.
Reference: "Understanding Radiologic and Nuclear Terrorism as Public Health Threats: Preparedness and Response Perspectives," The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, October 2006, CONTINUING EDUCATION; Pg. 1653, 27354, 6956 words, Barnett, Daniel J; Parker, Cindy L; Blodgett, David W; Wierzba, Rachel K; Links, Jonathan M, Copyright 2006 ProQuest Information and Learning