purpose of this guide is to assist those who provide disaster
safety information to the general public. The information
presented is based on historical data for the United States
and is appropriate for use in the United States and its territories.
Some of the information may not apply to other countries.
Users of this guide may include emergency managers, meteorologists,
teachers, disaster (natural and human-caused) educators, public
affairs/public relations personnel, mitigation specialists,
media personnel, and communicators. If you would like more
in-depth or scientific information, please contact your local
emergency management office, local National Weather Service
American Red Cross chapter,
state geological survey office, state foresters office, or
local fire department.
member organizations of the National Disaster Education Coalition,
which work to deliver disaster preparedness information to
the public, recognize that it is important for all agencies
to provide consistent disaster safety messages. As a result,
relevant messages in this guide have been reviewed and approved
at the national level by the member organizations with expertise
in those areas.
affiliates of the National Disaster Education Coalition’s
member organizations have contributed to this guide, and their
national organizations encourage them and their members to
use the messages.
messages and the information that supports them are intended
to be used in educational presentations, displays and bulletin
boards, print and electronic media, radio and television,
and any other medium in which disaster safety is communicated
to the public. The information is in the public domain
and is intended to be used and shared without copyright restrictions.
If you wish to cite the source when you use this material,
the following is suggested: From: Talking About Disaster:
Guide for Standard Messages. Produced by the National Disaster
Education Coalition, Washington, D.C., 2004.
Is in This Guide
This guide contains awareness and action messages intended
to help people reduce their risk of injury or loss in the
event of natural and human-caused disasters. Awareness messages
provide general information about the threats presented by
each type of disaster. These are found at the beginning of
each chapter in a question-and-answer format. Action messages
describe what people should do to prepare for and get safely
through a disaster. These are found above detailed explanations
of how to do it. Also included are statistics and other supporting
information that reinforce the credibility and importance
of each message.
to this edition of the guide is a section in most chapters
on "Facts and Fiction.” This section describes
some of the common folklore, or fiction, about hazards and
provides factual information that refutes the fiction. “Facts
and Fiction” will help you answer commonly asked questions
and communicate accurate information to the public, as well
as help you avoid unintentionally passing on information that
is not true.