Policy Briefs

Communicating with Citizens in a Crisis

Communication is an essential building block when aiming to enhance collaborations between citizens, public authorities, and first responders. ENGAGE advocates for steps to be taken towards a new communication ecosystem- one that is inclusive, take the diversity of citizen needs into account, and recognizes their invaluable contributions to disaster management.

Involvement of spontaneous volunteers in disaster management

Spontaneous volunteers, or “ordinary people” as ENGAGE also refers to them, are often the first individuals that arrive on the scene of a disaster or emergency, and their actions often continue even after emergency services have left the scene. These contributions constitute an “untapped potential” when it comes to strengthening joint formal and informal response to disasters and enhancing the overall resilience of societies.

Public Warning

Enhancing the availability of and access to public warning systems can ensure that citizens are provided with accurate risk information that allows them to take timely action when an emergency occurs. In this way, not only can effective communication be fostered between public authorities and citizens, but overall risk awareness and preparedness can be enhanced which, as a result, strengthens the capacity to rapidly recover from a natural disaster or a hazardous event.

This document outlines a few recommendations which can be utilized by public authorities when implementing or further developing existing public warning systems in order to contribute to building resilience.

Tapping into societal resilience: Takeaways for first responders

Ordinary people (or informal actors as they are referred to in this document) often are, as the case studies exemplify, not only first on site during a crisis and complement professional tasks during the unfolding event, but they also take decisions that affect the overall disaster management when they, for example, choose a site to care for the wounded or decide to engage a perpetrator.

This document outlines a few recommendations which can be utilized by first responders and disaster management professionals who are interested in incorporating the work of informal actors on the scene of a crisis in their own strategies for emergency response.

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