Communicating Emergency Preparedness : Strategies for Creating a Disaster Resilient Public book cover
1st Edition

Communicating Emergency Preparedness
Strategies for Creating a Disaster Resilient Public

ISBN 9781420065107
Published May 26, 2009 by Auerbach Publications
286 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Recent events worldwide have made disaster preparedness and disaster communication to the public a crucial concern. September 11th, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and other mega-disasters have highlighted not only a woeful lack of community awareness of vulnerability but also the absence of a clear protocol for what to do as events unfold. The first book dedicated solely to the topic of pre-disaster communication, Communicating Emergency Preparedness: Strategies for Creating a Disaster Resilient Public presents the best ways to inform communities about disaster risk factors, response plans, and emergency procedures without fomenting panic or paranoia.

A public awareness campaign is the critical tool to help communities prepare themselves and to mitigate the human and economic impact of disasters. The authors provide an overview and history of public disaster preparedness education and then proceed to explore risk management and the development of a campaign strategy. They include specific instruction on how those charged with developing these programs can obtain funding from donors, foundations, and government grants.

Real Examples of Successful Programs

The second half of the book features a series of case studies which identify various public awareness campaigns that have been successfully conducted in different communities. The text provides program facts and contact information for those who designed and executed the campaigns to enable communities to model their own efforts based on what has worked in the past.

Recognizing that knowledge is the best defense, this comprehensive, practical resource provides public administration officials, emergency managers, evacuation coordinators, and community leaders at the local and national level with the background and tools needed to plan, design, and carry out effective public disaster preparedness campaigns.

Table of Contents

Public Disaster Preparedness: In Theory and In Practice
Communication Science: A Primer
Social Marketing
The Public Disaster Preparedness Process: A Systems Approach
Purpose, Goals, and Objectives
Seeing the Bigger Picture: Communication as One Component of a Larger Solution
Requirements of a Public Education Campaign
The Dangers of Failed Risk Communication

Managing Risk, Emergencies, and Disasters
Fundamental Emergency Management Concepts
The Management of Risk
The Management of Emergencies and Disasters: Emergency Management Functions
The Management of Emergencies and Disasters: Emergency Management Structures
Governmental Preparedness Actions
Individual and Business Preparedness
Jurisdictional Management and Control: Defining Responsibility
What is Public Emergency Preparedness?
The Advantages of a Trained Public

The Campaign — Step 1: Early Planning
Define the Problem
Market Research
Existing Program Research and Gap Analysis
Determine Project Feasibility
Establish Realistic Goals and Objectives
Form the Planning Team and Coalition
Drawing Up Partnership Plans
Project Management

Step 2: Develop a Campaign Strategy
Project Kickoff
The Campaign Strategy
Selecting Appropriate Settings, Channels, and Methods
Selecting Communication Channels and Methods
Selecting Communicators
Design and Develop Message Content
Creating Targeted Materials
Social Norms
Design Materials
Activities and Events Planning
Establishing a Project Timetable
Creating the Comprehensive Communication Plan
Pre-Testing and Adjusting Campaign Materials

Campaign Implementation and Evaluation
Campaign Launch
The Media
Objectivity in Evaluation
The Justification for Evaluation
Process Evaluation
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design

Program Support
Types of Program Support
Sources of Support
Implementing a Fundraising Strategy
Fundraising Strategy Factors
Asking for Stuff

Emergency Management Public Education Case Studies
Multi-Cultural Disaster Preparedness Campaign
Multi-Cultural Disaster Preparedness Campaign 
Preparing Children for Emergencies
Organized Training for Communities
Children’s "Edutainment" Program
Disaster Preparedness at Religious Institutions
Earthquake Readiness Taught to a Population Who Speaks English as a Second Language
Citywide Preparedness Effort
Volunteer Emergency Preparedness Program
Teaching Emergency Preparedness in Schools
Emergency Preparedness in Public Transportation 
FEMA Prepares Children for Disasters
Disaster Preparedness in Schools
Emergency Preparedness in Neighborhoods
Public Private Partnership for Disaster Preparedness
National Public Education Effort

Appendix: Websites and Downloadable Guides Found on the Internet




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Damon P. Coppola is the author of several leading emergency management academic and professional texts, including Introduction to Emergency Management, Introduction to Homeland Security, and Introduction to International Emergency Management. Mr. Coppola is also the co-author of several FEMA Emergency Management Institute publications, including Hazards Risk Management, Emergency Management Case Studies, Comparative Emergency Management, and NIMS and Incident Management Systems. As an independent consultant in the emergency management sector, Mr. Coppola has provided planning and technical assistance to emergency management organizations at the local, state, national, and international levels, and in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Mr. Coppola’s clients have included FEMA, The World Bank, Save the Children, The Humane Society, ACORN, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, Marriott International, and more. Mr. Coppola received his masters in Engineering Management (MEM) in crisis, disaster, and risk management from the George Washington University.

Erin K. Maloney  holds a masters in communication from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, and is working toward her doctorate of philosophy in communication with a specialization in environmental science and policy at Michigan State University. Ms. Maloney’s practical experience and research focus primarily on health communication, media, and research methods. Her research generally has implications for communication campaign message design and public processing of messages. Ms. Maloney consults on grassroots communication projects, most recently on a campaign that succeeded in passing a millage to preserve farmland and open space in the State of Michigan. Ms. Maloney is also an instructor and a research assistant in the department of communication at Michigan State University.


... communicating effectively is imperative in emergency response. Authors Damon Coppola and Erin Maloney, who are both communications consultants, understand how central communications are to disaster management. In this work, they explain important measures such as development of communication strategies, partnership planning, and launching a directed public awareness campaign to reach targeted populations. ... Communicating Emergency Preparedness is a solid read that provides substantive advice in a user-friendly format. This book is appropriate not only for communications professionals but also for government officials, emergency preparedness managers, risk consultants, and community leaders at all levels.
Brian M. Harrell, CPR M.A., writing in ASIS Book Reviews, August 2010

This book provides public safety and emergency management practitioners at local and national levels with the background and tools needed to plan, design and carry out public disaster preparedness efforts. It serves as an academic resource and a how-to guide. ... Although written with an emergency management focus, Communicating Emergency Preparedness provides public relations and communications information that can be easily used in any field of public safety or public service. ... this book is a quick and easy read that is well organized and jam packed with resources and references for further research. The book provides sidebars with tips for success and information, such as Web addresses and links. Each chapter ends with a list of additional publications and sources for more information. At the end of the book, there are roughly 20 pages of case studies, sample public education plans and an Appendix that lists organizations, Web sites and links to downloadable guides on public education and communicating with the public. ... Communicating Emergency Preparedness would be a beneficial addition to any public safety professional’s library, but especially for senior-level individuals tasked with some level of preparedness or public education.
Bob Smith writing in Public Safety Communications, 76(1):49

In Communicating Emergency Preparedness, Mr. Coppola and Ms. Maloney embark on an ambitious attempt to connect academic concepts in several fields to actionable strategies for public communication for emergency preparedness. ... the authors include a full chapter on Program Support, from funding sources and grant prospects to partners able to provide in-kind resources and even guidance on how a project team may learn to request support during the flow of the campaign. This piece de resistance may be just the ticket to help support the practitioner looking to convert the concepts of communication science and market research into actionable project planning to develop successful preparedness communication campaigns.
Steven C. Weiss, PhD, writing in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Vol. 6 [2009], No. 1, Article 70