funded as part of the Large Scale Emergency Readiness (LaSER) project: A Public Health Approach.

Project Sponsor : U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the NYU Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response . Start Date: January 1, 2005 .


Project Summary

Understanding risk communication principles is critical to building effective capacity to reduce the consequences of terrorism. Under crisis conditions, communication should be planned based on message content, the characteristics and needs of message senders and recipients, and the technology being used to convey messages in order to minimize response delays. The nature of these factors differs for pre-disaster, during disaster, and post-disaster conditions. The overall goal of the risk communication task (3A) of the LaSER project is to develop and test critical communication strategies and plans via scenarios for community public health preparedness, response, and mitigation of event consequences before, during and after a large scale, urban terrorist event. An interdisciplinary approach is adopted drawing on social psychology, communication technology, and risk communication directly applied to health threats. The project is initially targeted to a large scale, biological, chemical or nuclear terrorist act in the New York City Region, but is scalable to other U.S. cities. This work is a part of and supports other components of the LaSER Project, directed by the NYU School of Medicine.


Key activities:

1. Literature review. A survey of literature on risk communication and behavior in disasters, covering a broad range of medical, sociological, and risk analysis publications, articles, and case studies.

2. Identification of risk communication indicators. Indicators and measures of communication and behavior from the literature review by category (e.g. trust, technology, personal experience, culture)

3. Framework for disaster communication. A framework portraying parties involved in disaster communication (government, public, media, specialists, and services/industry/health care), their roles, and mode of interaction

4. Scenario development. In coordination with other LaSER tasks, construction of worst, moderate, and mild case scenarios for terror attacks to be modeled and associated communication approaches

5. Message development. Creation of messages for each of the above scenarios for various recipients and messengers and alternative communication technologies

6. Development of communication and response inputs for computer modeling. Probabilities of recipient response to above communications and scenarios for input into the computer model