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After the Pandemic Effective Risk Communication Effective Risk Communication Laura Blaske 360-236-4070

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Presentation on theme: "After the Pandemic Effective Risk Communication Effective Risk Communication Laura Blaske 360-236-4070"— Presentation transcript:

1 After the Pandemic Effective Risk Communication Effective Risk Communication Laura Blaske

2 Risk Communication  What is it?  Lessons learned during H1N1.  The importance of planning.  Moving forward.

3 The trusted source. Which is true:  Cockroaches can live for a month with their heads cut off?  Lemmings will follow their leader, even over a cliff?

4 Warning!  Do not use while sleeping. Sears hair dryer  Fits one head. Shower cap box  Do not turn upside down. Bottom of Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert box  Product will be hot after heating. Marks & Spencer bread pudding

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6 Cut through the noise. Be First. Be Right. Be Credible.  Provide clear and consistent information.  Accessibility.  Empower people to make good choices.

7 What is Risk Communication?  Communicating effectively and accurately during a issue of high concern to allow individuals and the community to understand the risks and…  Cope  Make informed decisions  Understand sensitive issues

8 Crisis or Catastrophe  We can’t stop every crisis.  What can we control?  In a crisis, how can you help make the difference between:  Danger or Safety?  Mistrust or Compliance?  Fear or Empowerment?  Uncertainty or Choices?

9 Assessing Personal Risk  Risk communication helps people assess personal risk…  Most people over- or under-estimate personal risks.  A risk communication plan can help strike a balance.

10 What influences risk perception?  Is it familiar?  Vulnerable populations?  Easy to understand?  Controllable?  Intentional or naturally occurring?

11 What Determines Credibility in High Concern Settings? All other factors 15-20% Competence/ Expertise 15-20% Honesty/openness 15-20% Listening/caring/ Empathy 50% Source: Randall Hyer, National Immunization Conference, 2005

12 Confusing Risk  Assessing risk is emotional.  Risk is often hard to comprehend: 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 1 million?  Risk needs a “face.” Connection to the audience.

13 All about Audiences

14 Consider your audience  Clients and community members  Staff and co-workers  Stakeholders and partners  Media  People who serve the general public (teachers, childcare providers, etc.)  Emergency response workers, law enforcement  Civic and political leaders (local, state, and national)  Family and friends

15 Common Concerns  Am I/Is my family safe?  What have you found that will affect me or my loved ones?  What can we do to protect ourselves?  Who or what caused the problem?  Can you fix it?

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17 H1N1 Challenges  Vaccine availability  Different messages  Length/severity of event  Target audience

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19  Web  Print  Direct outreach  Television  Radio  Contacts  Twitter

20 Top Messages 20 Q: What would you say were the top one or two main messages from the ads you saw or heard?

21 Health Decisions 21 Q: Did the ads provide information to help you make health decisions?

22 Breakdown 22

23 Reasons 23 Q: Why haven’t you gotten vaccinated?

24 Young moms… 24

25 Risk Communication Lessons

26 Common Concerns  Am I/Is my family safe?  What have you found that will affect me or my loved ones?  What can we do to protect ourselves?  Who or what caused the problem?  Can you fix it?

27 Consistency  Communication Chain:  Answering phones.  Printed information.  Public contact positions.  Interactions with stakeholders.  Information on Web site.  Social media.

28 Social Media

29 In an issue of high concern… Everyone in the organization is a spokesperson.

30 First Messages in a Crisis 1.An expression of empathy 2.What you know-confirmed facts and action steps 3.What you don’t know 4.What’s the process 5.Statement of commitment 6.Where people can get more information

31 Answer concerns but don’t…  Say more than you know.  Give your opinion.  Over-reassure.

32  Technical jargon  Condescending or judgmental phrases  Attacks  Promises or guarantees First Messages NO…

33 Media & the public will edit messages…  “Beam me up, Scotty.”  “The British are coming.” …so keep it short.

34 Short isn’t easy… …always test & check

35 A few things to remember… What is important to remember when developing first messages?  During a crisis, a person’s ability to listen to and understand information goes down  Use simple words and phrases  People forget 80% + of the information they hear  People remember the first and last things said

36 What you say… Use of N95 respirators or facemasks generally is not recommended for workers in non-healthcare occupational settings for general work activities. For specific work activities that involve contact with people who have ILI, such as escorting a person with ILI, interviewing a person with ILI, providing assistance to an individual with ILI, the following are recommended: workers should try to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from the person with ILI; workers should keep their interactions with ill persons as brief as possible; the ill person should be asked to follow good cough etiquette and hand hygiene and to wear a facemask, if able, and one is available; workers at increased risk of severe illness from influenza infection (see footnote 3 of table 1) should avoid people with ILI (possibly by temporary reassignment); and,table 1 where workers cannot avoid close contact with persons with ILI, some workers may choose to wear a facemask or N95 respirator on a voluntary basis.

37 …and how you say it.

38 “This explains it all.”

39 Is the focus on your key message?

40 Be first. Remember, developing and communicating first messages DOES NOT mean having all the answers. It DOES mean showing that someone is in charge, and that response is underway.

41 Be right.  Tell the truth.  Tell people what you’re doing to get the facts.  Explain the situation in a way that the general public can understand –  Avoid jargon.  Avoid technical terms.

42 Be credible.  Show empathy.  Take concerns seriously.  Avoid humor.  Don’t over-reassure or try to tell people more than you know.

43 Is the glass half full?  Are you the trusted source?

44 Resources Washington State Department of Health:  Emergency communication toolkit:


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