Less ‘gloom and doom’, more action ahead of winter storm

The impending winter storm slated to hit the Mid-Atlantic region has prompted several states to declare emergencies, and triggered widespread closures. Keith Tidball, an expert in emergency response at Cornell University, says communicating actions to the public instead of ‘gloom and doom’ would prompt citizens to get prepared.


Tidball says:

“There are three key ways to motivate preparedness. First, by the information that is observed or heard, which focuses on actions others have already taken. Secondly, the information content – which specifically details what actions to take and how actions cut losses. The last key factor is information deliverywhich needs to come from multiple sources and over multiple communication channels.

“There are still some that remain unprepared. Despite efforts to engage in risk reduction, many people still do not prepare for storms. Common excuses for not preparing include ‘the government will take care of me’, ‘my faith will carry me through’, or ‘I can’t afford to prepare.’

“Much of this apathy could be mitigated by a change in the way we talk about storms, emergencies, and disasters. Traditionally we communicate ‘gloom and doom’ risk to the public, and then hope that people infer action. Instead, we need to be communicating actions to the public and let our citizens themselves infer action.”




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