Topic 1 Introduction

Communication in an emergency situation requires special attention. Of course, all usual communication skills and communication ways still apply but the information may be delivered in an different way.

During emergencies especially those which are very unexpected you should consider the communication environment and emphasize what is being done to control the emergency by others especially public authorities and follow their recommendation.

On a general basis : In a health emergency, there is an urgent demand for information, even while intelligence on the health threat is still being gathered and assessed.

Various audiences will have very different information needs;

for example, if people experiencing a crisis are not familiar with    health risk, they may feel they cannot do anything to stop it.

For effective emergency messages, communicators must carry out the following steps.

Evaluate the target audience’s level of concern or fear. Messages should:

  • highlight the audience’s ability at the individual or community level to protect themselves and others;
  • make visible the roles of trusted organizations who are taking action to protect health;
  • use clear calls to action to direct people towards actions they know they can do; and
  • demonstrate how the actions and/or policies will make a difference.

Direct special attention to the needs of those who may be more vulnerable such as children, pregnant women, older adults and individuals with disabilities. Show how community officials or other organizations are meeting their needs.

Provide frequent information updates through partners and global channels. Late announcements and lack of information allow rumours and non-credible information to fill the void.