7. Involving the public in Resilience Management

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Involving the public in Resilience Management

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7.1. Communication strategies for interacting with the public

The response of the general public that is potentially affected by a crisis, or could be helpful in resolving a crisis, has an impact on the outcome of the crisis response work. Therefore, organizations need to develop and implement communication strategies for Interacting with the public that can help facilitate beneficial responses to crises and crisis response efforts. Communication and interaction with the public during a crisis will be facilitated if daily communication strategies and regular interaction with the public is already well established. The recommendations presented here are aimed at both public and private entities at all levels that are involved in crisis management, in particular crisis managers and roles within the organizations related to design, development and evaluation of communication plans and strategies. Even though not all personnel involved during a crisis or incident needs to communicate directly with the public, being aware of communication strategies aimed at the public and the need of communication competencies can be of use.

Establishment of a process to systematically (re-)design, review, validate, and update crisis communication strategies based on the state of the art in communication with the public and lessons identified.

Development of communication strategies, as well as training and use of these strategies by appropriate roles in the organization, taking into consideration the type of communication channels, collection, sharing and dissemination of information, trust, getting help from the general public, management of change, public preparation for crisis, avoiding misinformation, and learning lessons from communication during actual events.

Organizations (through the use of communication strategies) inform, guide, and interact with citizens that are potentially affected by the crisis or that could be helpful during the crisis, to:

  • Avoid being affected by the consequences of a crisis.
  • Avoid using resources more needed by others or otherwise interfere with the response.
  • Contribute resources/capabilities to the response effort.

Organizations need to see the potential contribution of the general public.

Further important enablers are:

  • Creating functioning networks of volunteers and leaders during non-crisis periods.
  • Developing two sided communication.
  • Taking into account the cultural characteristic of the public.


7.2. Increasing the public's involvement in resilience management

To integrate the organization in a network of relevant actors and agencies (community members and local business that typically don’t conduct crisis management). The integration is aimed at enhancing the organization’s ability to respond to the needs of both the organization as well as the local community in times of change and emergency.

Establishing a network that links between different agencies and actors enables to create, train and assess crisis communication strategies and involvement of the public in resilience management. based on the state of the art in communication with the public and lessons identified.

Advance relationships between organizations and the public including business sectors and NGO's, increasing personal communications, revealing communication channels and increase the trust between actors. In these situations, it easier to share information regarding needs and capacities of assistance.

Organizations that relate to other public functions and actors, create relationships and build capability to act in an efficient way during emergency situations. As a result, in a time of a crisis it might be helpful in building adaptive capacity by:

  • Increasing the ability to handle emergency situations by using external resources from the public.
  • Assisting public needs based on organizational specific abilities.
  • Sharing knowledge and information.

Organizations are part of the local community. As such, they have to be integrated in emergency response plans to mitigate both internal as well as external crises.