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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Hazard

Public awareness

Hazard Knowledge

During major incidents it is important to deliver accurate, clear and timely information and advice to the public to:

  • Reassure those who may or may not be affected
  • Provide public safety information
  • Avoid mass panic
  • Reduce the burden of requests for information
  • Preserve the reputation of the organisation

Good public communication is vital to the successful handling of any emergency and will ensure public confidence is increased and ensure they feel well informed.

Co-ordination of information flow among stakeholders is a key issue during any emergency and will improve the consistency of the information provided by the different agencies involved. In the confusion that often follows a major incident, it can be a difficult and lengthy process to establish clear, concise and accurate facts and figures about what has happened. However, the media will constantly request this information and may seek to obtain it from any official or unofficial source they can.

Providing an inconsistent message to the media and the public may demonstrate the lack of joint working and shared situational awareness across emergency responders. Great care should be taken to avoid this as inconsistency may also lead to a loss of confidence in the responding agencies handling the incident.

Good public communication may include production and distribution of a core media brief for distribution among key stakeholders, central co-ordination of interviews, or even a centralised press office. It could also mean providing additional press officers by one agency to support the efforts of another agency that may be coming under particular pressure.