Skip to main content.

Course Summary

Emergency risk communication is the process of sharing information to help the public:

  • Make informed decisions
  • Understand risks
  • Protect themselves during events marked by high levels of anxiety and emotion
  • Protect themselves during events marked by high levels of anxiety and emotion

The intensity of emotion can impact communications by influencing individuals' perceptions of risk and potentially hindering their ability to listen, understand or act on your messages.

You can get past the outrage and overcome the mental noise by using the fundamental principles of ERC, including:

  • Acknowledging people's emotions
  • Giving them a choice of actions
  • Getting your messages out quickly while ensuring their accuracy
  • Establishing your agency as a trusted and credible source of information through early and transparent communication
  • Coordinating consistent messages with community partners

Plan for emergency communication in advance by:

  • Establishing the protocols and procedures you'll use
  • Identifying the best communication channels for target audiences
  • Building relationships with partners that will help you get your messages out.

To help you craft your messages, follow the guidelines in this course, such as:

  • Using plain language
  • Addressing public concerns clearly
  • Giving specific guidance on what to do and why
  • Pretesting your messages with your target audience

The media are a crucial link between you and the public:

  • Respect their deadlines
  • Be courteous
  • Prepare in advance for interviews
  • Stay in control of the story by being concise and sticking to your key messages, using bridging, sign posting, and flagging.

Try to anticipate what questions and concerns the media and the general public will have. Be responsive to these concerns by:

  • Making yourself accessible
  • Creating opportunities for people to express how they feel
  • Preparing to listen and respond to their concerns