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Risk Communication Training: Research Findings and Recommendations for Training Development

Effective and consistent communication is essential for ensuring that communities are resilient to disasters (Norris, Stevens, Pfefferbaum, Wyche, & Pfefferbaum, 2008; Chaskin, 2008; Sherrieb, Norris, & Galea, 2010). But despite the topic’s importance, 80% of those individuals charged with disaster communication do not receive formal communication training, learning instead through experience (Coombs, 2007).  This figure is troubling because effective communication is difficult to learn a midst disaster when careful yet quick decisions are necessary (Covello, Peters, Wojtecki, & Hyde, 2001).  In an effort to combat this problem, the Department of Homeland Security’s Resilient Systems Division identified the need for new, scientifically rigorous risk communication training.  To that end, this report highlights the results of a needs assessment survey involving 140 risk communicators and an examination of 173 English-language risk communication training programs.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Madden, Stephanie, Katherine Worboys Izsak, Brooke Fisher Liu, and Elizabeth Petrun. 2013. "Risk Communication Training: Research Findings and Recommendations for Training Development." College Park, MD: START (February).