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TitleDeveloping a post-earthquake communications strategy for seismologists
AuthorLamontagne, M; Wynne, J P
SourceSeismological Research Letters vol. 82, no. 1, 2011 p. 158
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100271
Subjectseducational geology; geophysics; seismology; seismological network; aftershocks; earthquakes; earthquake risk; geological hazards
ProgramIncreasing Personal Preparation for GeoHazards, Public Safety Geoscience
AbstractIn the aftermath of a largely felt earthquake, it is the traditional role of seismologists to provide factual information on the event and its seismological context. In this paper, we suggest that seismologists make use of this Teachable Moment opportunity to provide earthquake preparedness and mitigation information to the population. If the earthquake has caused damage, the message conveyed by seismologists should be adapted to meet the needs of the population in the epicentral region and contact should be maintained. It should also send clear and positive messages that develop and maintain public's trust. With this strategy, seismologists can help attenuate post-earthquake public anxiety, relieving unnecessary anxiety and promoting positive preparation. The strategy aims at empowering the population in the epicentral region by making residents active rather than passive. The paper will present examples when this post-communications strategy was used following the year 2010 Haiti, Chile and Val-des-Bois, Qc, earthquakes.
It will also present some communications challenges that seismologists may be confronted to, such as the possibility of strong aftershocks, unfounded rumors, and multiple sources of conflicting information.