use this guide, you should first get to know your intended
audience. Consider the ages and socioeconomic, ethnic, and
educational backgrounds of the audience members. Be sensitive:
audience members who are struggling to provide food for their
families may be unable to purchase supplies and foreign-born
audience members who learned safety actions in their native
countries may be wary of information that contradicts what
they were previously told. Also, remember that persons with
disabilities may have difficulty hearing, seeing, or understanding
warnings and other critical messages. Announcements should
be concise, clear, and calm. Open captions of verbal information
should be used in emergency telecasts, and scrolling should
not be allowed to block captions. Television announcers should
provide clear, verbal descriptions of events for persons who
are blind or have low vision. It is also important to consider
your area's specific hazards and disaster history. The East
Coast will not prepare for volcanic eruptions, and the West
Coast will not prepare for hurricanes.
you deliver “what to do” action messages, word
them in a positive manner that helps those hearing or reading
the message know how to act. For example, in fire education,
instead of saying, "Do not panic," you might say,
"Remain calm. Get out as quickly and safely as possible.”
This allows those hearing or reading the message to focus
on what they can and should do in case of fire. For this message,
you might next offer submessages on what "safely"
means (crawl low under smoke to your exit; feel the doorknob
and the space around the door with the back of your hand before
opening the door; etc.).
addition, you can use awareness messages to reinforce the
importance of knowing what to do. Awareness messages help
people realize that disasters do happen in their communities
and that they can take steps to prepare for disaster and lessen
has seen the horrific results of disasters on the evening
news, but viewers often do not perceive them as real or as
local. In fact, seeing too much disaster news often causes
people to “tune it out,” because they feel there
is nothing they can do to protect themselves or their property.
For some people, testimonials from local residents about their
personal experiences with disaster can bring the reality of
disaster closer to home; for others, hearing statistics on
area disasters can be a wake-up call.
you are preparing a presentation, news release, or article
about a particular type of disaster, consider selecting three
to seven messages from the relevant chapter. Feature your
chosen messages and add to them with submessages and supporting
information from the guide.
time or space is limited, evaluate your audience and the chosen
topic to determine the most important messages. For disasters
with little or no warning, what to do during the disaster
is generally most important. For disasters with plenty of
warning time, preparation may be most important.
your message, physical props will help you provide the greatest
learning experience. Try to use, for example, photos or drawings
for print materials, soundtracks for radio presentations,
videos for television, and aids like videos, posters, Disaster
Supplies Kit items, and mock-ups to make presentations interactive.
Keep in mind that your audience will include persons with
disabilities who may have difficulty seeing, hearing, or understanding
you would like further information, brochures, or materials
about disaster safety or information about developing community
disaster education presentations, you may contact any of the
National Disaster Education Coalition member agencies or their
local counterparts. Keep in mind that the local affiliates
of these national agencies may have additional resources and
information specific to your audience.
the five actions for emergency preparedness that everyone
can take are: