Public Empowerment – engaging the public in crisis management
There is no one simple way to create community resilience and enhance the public response in different kinds of emergencies. There are no simple solutions, as resilience is a phenomenon that is determined by many variables. Nevertheless, there are strategies that can be used in certain situations, targeted to certain people, in preparation, response, and aftercare. In the recent past, some strategies can be noted to have worked, such as a citizen initiative that spontaneously occurred during a crisis, or a campaign in a community that really truly changed the attitude and behaviour of the target group. The European countries show great variety in community engagement, in both policies and practices. Their cultures and resources differ, as also do their political and economic structures and the interaction between local, national or international actors.
To educate people and include those who may not be particularly interested in preparedness and response information, better communication strategies for knowledge transfer need to be developed and utilized. These can include:
- Involving citizen and citizen groups in the planning and implementation of preparedness and response materials
- Providing information at the right time
- Making information accessible and more entertaining
- Utilizing social role models in disseminating information.