Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TACTIC Report Summary

Project ID: 608058
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - TACTIC (Tools, methods And training for CommuniTIes and Society to better prepare for a Crisis.)

Executive Summary:
TACTIC’s main objective was to develop an online platform together with practitioners which can improve community preparedness to cross border and large scale hazards. Tactic was a two year transdisciplinary research process that aimed at developing outcomes in close collaboration with about 160 stakeholders working and involved in the field of disaster risk management both operationally as well as on the policy-level. Therefore, TACTIC selected four case studies from across Europe, representing different types of crisis and disasters and allowing the consortium to take into account different kinds of preparedness activities and strategies in order to develop a multi-hazard approach to risk communication and community preparedness. More specifically, we focused on terrorism, on floods, on epidemics and on earthquakes.

TACTIC as developed the following key outputs:

• A self-assessment for organisations engaged in the management of floods, earthquakes, terrorism and/or epidemics. This self-assessment allows responsible organisations to (re-)assess their risk communication activities and develop a comprehensive risk communication strategy.

• Based on the outcomes of the assessment, organisations will receive a feedback report that outlines their strengths as well as the aspects that could be improved in the future. To do this, organisations are also provided with good practices that organisations might consult to learn more from other examples.

• Therefore we created a library of good practices that is organized according to pre-defined criteria that allows organisations not only to search the library for these criteria, it is also a way of linking specific practices with the specific needs of organisations.

• A self-assessment for the general public, which is exposed to the risk of flooding, earthquakes, terrorism and epidemics. This self-assessment, which we labelled as preparedness-check for the general public allows residents facing different risks to assess their own preparedness including the provision of a short feedback report and selected links to useful websites. Additionally, the preparedness assessment also allows responsible organisations to evaluate how effective their communication activities are and how they influence residents’ knowledge, motivation, networks, etc. As a result organisation can also re-evaluate established risk communication practices and reflect upon what they might need to adapt, revise or substitute by alternative, more suitable practices.

Project Context and Objectives:
TACTIC’s main objective was to develop an online platform together with practitioners which can improve community preparedness to cross border and large scale hazards.

While it is challenging to prepare for any kind of crisis or disaster; large-scale and cross-border disasters and crises pose particular challenges for both emergency management agencies as well as for communities at risk. Such events are not very common and quite often take agencies and residents by surprise. Moreover, such events are complex and often associated with cascading effects resulting in (potentially even more disastrous) secondary interdependent impacts (e.g. the Fukushima nuclear disaster can be considered a secondary impact as it occurred as a consequence of a tsunami). Preparing for and responding to such events requires the collaboration of a wide range of actors and cuts across a wide range organisational and institutional responsibilities. Therefore, while large scale and cross border disasters and crises pose a severe challenge for emergency management agencies they profoundly affect the citizens who are at the same time also likely to be those who react first in response to their needs as well as to those of their peers.

Based upon this, the specific objectives of TACTIC are to:
(1) Identify factors that lead to a better understanding of how risk perception affects whether individuals take preparedness actions or not as well as identify good practices of existing preparedness programmes that are particularly effective in regards to encouraging preparedness actions to large-scale and cross-border disasters and crises;

(2) Develop a participatory multi-hazard community preparedness self-assessment that allows communities (e.g. organisations responsible for disaster risk management as well as local actors (the public, NGOs, etc.)) exposed to various risks to assess how prepared they are or feel to a range of hazards;

(3) Develop demand-oriented preparedness communication and education material and practices with an emphasis on large-scale and cross-border disasters and crises (including the collection of training curricula and tools to inspire organisations to improve their risk communication as well as provide the general public with information about a given hazard) that are based on and designed for the expectations of different communities and their different needs;

(4) Develop, test and validate the community preparedness audit as well as its preparedness communication and education material and practices in a collaborative and co-productive way by involving various stakeholders from science, policy-making, administration and civil society operating in the field of terrorism, natural disasters (e.g. floods and earthquakes) and epidemics; and

(5) Synthesise the central output and insights of the project within a long-term learning framework for improving community preparedness to a wide range of hazards. This framework includes the community preparedness audit as well as the preparedness communication and education material and practices. It will also include indicators to evaluate the overall quality of the process as well as the outcome of the process. The framework will be presented by means of a publicly accessible, user-friendly interactive and web-based platform.

Generally, TACTIC included three different phases.

During the first phase, TACTIC was engaged with documenting the state-of-the-art by doing desk-based research and by conducting interviews with experts and scientists. The aim was to identify and better understand the pathways from risk perception to preparedness. This was mainly done in “WP 1 - risk perception and preparedness” and resulted in a high-level document providing a unique cross-hazard perspective on how risk perception and other factors shape preparedness of individual and communities to the risk of terrorism, flooding, epidemics and earthquakes. In “WP 3 – preparedness and communication and education material and practices” we focused on reviewing existing preparedness programs and practices and identified good practices of communication and education which were presented to participants of a workshop. At the same time, the technical requirements for the online platform were specified.

The steps taken in phase one, provided the basis for both intensive stakeholder interaction processes in the second phase of TACTIC as well as a close interaction between thematic advancements and technical development in WP 9 “Online training and audit platform”. As stated above, a central means to ensure close interaction with stakeholders was the organisation of two workshops in each of the four case studies in order to develop, test and validate outcomes in a collaborative and co-productive manner. The single workshops as well as the overall approach in the case studies followed a similar rationale: After an initial phase aiming at exploring the different governance contexts and mapping networks and learning needs, a first version of the self-assessment was presented in order to receive feedback from each of the case studies. Furthermore, the needs of participating stakeholders with regards to communication practices were addressed and taken into account. During a second workshop conducted in each of the case studies, the self-assessment for organisations and the general public were presented and evaluated with regard to different criteria. During this phase the interaction between the rather thematically oriented work packages, the work packages responsible for organizing the workshops and the stakeholder process and the technical development of the platform were particularly intense. While it was initially foreseen we would evaluate the process and the intermediate outcomes by means of the online survey, we decided to restrict the evaluation to the single workshop interaction as we received rich and profound feedback during the workshops that helped us considerably to shape the outputs in a way that would make sure we meet the demands and needs of the stakeholders we interacted with.

During the final phase of TACTIC we focused our efforts on further consolidating our main output, which included the development of a final version of the two sets of self-assessments, one for organizations, one for the general public, the consolidation of the feedback reports, the final implementation of the library of good practices as well as the consolidation of the long-term learning framework presented in this document. This included also an overall summary of the evaluation of the single steps as well as the overall outcome. Great efforts were also undertaken in producing a final version of the web-based platform to present the central outcomes of the project by means of a practical and interactive user interface that will be used and remain accessible after the end of the project. We therefore translated our central output and made them available in our case study languages; that is English, German, Turkish and Polish. This shall ensure that the platform will be used beyond the duration of the project and hence ensure the sustainability of TACTIC’s outputs.

Project Results:
1 Introduction

This report summarizes the main outputs of the TACTIC project. This report is based on a two year transdisciplinary research process that aimed at developing outcomes in close collaboration with about 160 stakeholders working and involved in the field of disaster risk management both operationally as well as on the policy-level. Therefore, TACTIC selected four case studies from across Europe, representing different types of crisis and disasters and allowing the consortium to take into account different kinds of preparedness activities and strategies in order to develop a multi-hazard approach to risk communication and community preparedness. More specifically, we focused on:

• Terrorism: Countries across Europe, including European Union Member States have past experiences of acts of terrorism. Whilst some attacks were aligned to a single country, such as the 2011 attacks in Norway which saw approximately 75 people killed and another 75 injured, some acts of terrorism were large-scale in nature, whilst others led to long-term cross-border effects (World Terrorism Database, 2012). Examples of such acts of terror within Europe include a series of what appeared to be large-scale co-ordinated attacks on Madrid (Spain) transport network in March 2004 which resulted in 191 fatalities and approximately 1800 injured individuals and the more recent attacks in Paris.

• Floods are the most costly disasters (EEA 2010) in Europe. Although floods are quite common in many parts of Europe, they still pose a profound challenge to emergency and risk management agencies particularly with regard to increasing preparedness and risk communication. This is particularly true in the large-scale river basins that run through different national (and regional) territories.

• Epidemics: This case study used the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) crisis in 2001 as the reference event from which to learn how to prepare for and respond to similarly complex threats. Foot and Mouth Disease is an acute infectious disease which spreads very quickly if not controlled and represents an enormous challenge for communities’ preparedness.

• Earthquakes: The 1999, 17 August Marmara and 12 November Düzce Earthquakes in Turkey caused massive devastation which has been a turning point for the realisation of the vital importance of community involvement in disaster risk management. The 1999 earthquakes devastated the highly industrialised and densely populated urban areas in Turkey and led to 18,000 deaths, and left 44,000 people severely injured. Many residential, commercial buildings, bridges, motorways and infrastructure were damaged. Thus, following the earthquake major attempts at legislative change, structural mitigation and community involvement initiatives have been instituted (e.g. increase in non-governmental organisations getting involved in mitigation and preparedness, formation of neighbourhood volunteer groups, various community awareness and training programs).

2 Risk communication as a means for social learning for increasing community preparedness

Increasing preparedness is a complex task that involves multiple stakeholders and is ideally organized in an iterative manner. Simply providing information by means of a flood hazard map, encouraging home-owners exposed to earthquake risks to build earthquake resistant homes or demanding farmers to develop an emergency management plan in case of epidemic event might threaten their livestock, will not be sufficient to actually make individuals and communities more prepared to deal with the impact of large-scale or even cross-border disasters. Also the characteristics associated with terrorism (e.g., uncertainty and the human intention to induce fear) pose challenges for risk managers responsible for communicating risk information about terrorism. All this, at the least, is suggested by decades of research on risk perception, preparedness, risk communication and social learning.

TACTIC has therefore engage with three concepts more thoroughly, that is “social learning”, “risk communication” and “community preparedness” by outlining the cornerstones of a strategic framework that aims at increasing communities’ preparedness to both large-scale and cross-border disasters through risk communication.

TACTIC’s approach to social learning: Social learning, risk communication and community preparedness are closely interrelated, as social learning is a deeply interactive and communicative activity that is ideally based on some kind of two-way exchange taking place on the personal or the supra-individual level and includes the transmission of information as well as more deliberative forms of exchange. Furthermore, social learning is an iterative process that aims to initiate both incremental as well as more fundamental learning processes. It is based on and tries to enhance, the capacities of individuals as well as collective actors involved in the process and thus also has a transformative potential in order to increase community preparedness in the long-run. For putting these general ideas into practice, TACTIC developed a framework for evaluating the very practice of social learning.

TACTIC’s approach to risk communication: Risk communication can have quite different rationales; it can be guided by instrumentalist interests as in the risk instrument model or the risk government model or can be inspired and guided by more normative, value and norm-driven motives as in the risk dialogue model. At the same time, communicating about risks can either happen in a distant one-way setting with an emphasis on information provision; it may also involve a more engaged two-way approach that aims at exchanging attitudes on underlying values and norms. In order to put these general considerations into a more practical context, TACTIC developed a strategic approach to risk communication that is based on different steps such as defining the goals and audiences of risk communication activities, as well as identifying appropriate methods for achieving these goals.

TACTIC’s approach to community preparedness: Community preparedness describes the capacities (i.e. knowledge, motivation, networks, responsibilities and resources) of a community including its residents, the voluntary sector, private actors (e.g. local companies), and organisational actors from responsible organisations to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. TACTIC has developed a self-assessment that allows assessing the preparedness of communities to the four different hazards outlined previous.

Bringing it together: Based on the previous arguments, TACTIC understands social learning as a social practice that is ideally interactive, iterative, directed towards transformation and aims at enhancing the capacities of both responsible organisations as well as individual people exposed to various risks to prepare for future disasters on the level of communities. Risk communication is a central means for achieving this goal; it can follow different rationales (e.g. instrumental, dialogical etc.), follow different aims and rely on different methods.

To stimulate and guide social learning in the manner outlined above, TACTIC has developed an online platform that includes different self-assessments, feedback reports as well as a comprehensive library of good practice. All the single outcomes aim at supporting communities at risk to increase their preparedness. The general guide in the sense of a handbook is provided in this document. More specifically, this online platform includes:

• A self-assessment for organisations engaged in the management of floods, earthquakes, terrorism and/or epidemics. This self-assessment allows responsible organisations to (re-)assess their own risk communication activities and develop a comprehensive risk communication strategy. The platform provides organisations with a feedback report that outlines, based on their answers to the assessment, their strengths as well as the aspects that could be improved in the future. To do this, organisations are also provided with good practices that organisations might consult to learn more from other examples;
• A self-assessment for the general public, which is exposed to the risk of flooding, earthquakes, terrorism and epidemics. This self-assessment, which we labelled as preparedness-check for the general public has two objectives. On the one hand, it allows residents facing different risks to assess their own preparedness in the sense of a preparedness check including the provision of a short feedback report and selected links to useful websites where additional information is provided on relevant preparedness activities. Additionally, the preparedness assessment also allows responsible organisations to evaluate how effective their communication activities are and how they influence residents’ knowledge, motivation, networks, etc. As a result organisation can also re-evaluate established risk communication practices and reflect upon what they might need to adapt, revise or substitute by alternative, more suitable practices;
• An evaluation of overall social learning processes that allows different stakeholders involved in risk management activities to assess whether the overall process is interactive, iterative and reflective, whether it sufficiently directed towards enhancing capacities of actors to both engage in the process and to better prepare for future crises situations and whether it is leading to incremental or transformative changes.

All the self-assessments, as well as the library of good practices are openly accessible and the assessments are provided in English, Turkish, Polish and German.
If you want to have a look at the online platform, please go to:

3 Developing an organisational risk communication strategy

The organisational self-assessment allows organisations to develop or rethink an existing risk communication strategy. This chapter provides organisations involved in risk and disaster management with basic information about steps to be taken to develop a comprehensive risk communication strategy.
Generally, a communication strategy is a crucial part of organisational and therefore, community preparedness (Richie et al, 2008). A communications strategy can help organisations charged with managing risk overcome difficulties such as knowing how and when information should be communicated, by whom, to whom (Kasperson, 1986; Convello and Sandman, 2001; Otway and Wynne, 1989). One of the aims of the TACTIC project is to provide organisations with information and inspiration for the development or improvement of a risk communication strategy.
A risk communications strategy is a strategic plan that is developed and put in writing by an organisation that communicates risk. This formal strategy should be evaluated regularly. TACTIC therefore develops two assessments that help to develop and evaluate a risk communication strategy. The risk communication strategy TACTIC is suggesting has been adapted from Environment Protection Agency (EPA) (2012). It includes the following steps:

• Context of the organisation’s work conditions and its risk communication practices
• Current aim(s) of risk communication activities
• Intended audience
• Key messages
• Choice of communication method
• Barriers and good aspects of risk communication

The results of the self-assessment for organisations will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of current risk communication with the general public. Based on these results, a feedback report will be provided which points out the potentials for improvement. It will be supplemented through examples of successful communication practices from the TACTIC library of good practices. The results of both the self-assessments and the preparedness-check will be available for information exchange between organisations/communities and members of the general public with the aim of improving communication between organisations responsible for managing risk and citizens at risk.

The feedback report will provide explanations to following aspects:
• The relevance of a defined aim of your communication
• How your risk communication should address the intended audience and what to consider e.g. motivations, risk perceptions, communication behaviour
• The importance of a key message and how to develop it
• Methods for reaching your communication aim and their advantages, limitations and alternatives
• Barriers and good aspects of risk communication

Moreover, based on the results of the self-assessment, the TACTIC library of good practices will provide inspiration for future risk communication with the general public through examples of existing practices. Independent from conducting the self-assessments, everybody can search the library by clicking here

The self-assessment for organisations takes approx. 20-30 min to complete.

In the next sections we will provide readers with more detailed information about the single steps of developing a communication strategy.

Step 1: Understanding context, including cross-border communication

What is the organisational but also the regional context within which risk communication is taking place? Which are the most relevant hazards? How well is an organisation equipped with resources? These are some of the questions which are relevant for taking into account the context when developing a risk communication strategy. While some context-factors can be changed, other remain relatively stable over time and are independent of the organisational efforts to communicate or manage risks. Therefore it is often necessary to adapt to the contextual factors or aim at transforming them in the long-run.

Step 2: Aims of risk communication

Communication about risks can have very different aims and purposes. While some organisations aim at simply providing information to the public so they can draw their own conclusions from this information, other organisation might follow a very specific goal such as convincing residents exposed to the risk of an earthquake to take measures that help to increase their preparedness in case an earthquake strikes. Based on the literature and exchange with numerous stakeholders from across Europe, TACTIC has identified four overarching aims a risk communication strategy could contain. Being clear about the aims an organisation is following is a key factor for a successful communication strategy. It influences the choice of methods, good aspects but also possible barriers an organisation might face when communicating risks. TACTIC has identified four different aims.

Raising risk awareness: Being aware of a hazard is the first step towards preparing for a hazard. Only if people know that they are facing a certain hazard they can start the decision making process about how strongly they feel exposed, whether they feel responsible to mitigate possible negative consequences, and take concrete steps to increase their preparedness. Raising risk awareness comprises informing and exchanging with the public about the type, the expected intensity, probability and the anticipated consequences of the event, including cascading effects (e.g. when one hazard event – for example an earthquake – triggers a second event – for example a tsunami). Risk perception is influenced, among others, by the experience of a hazard, the information provided as well as trust in organisations (for a more detailed overview see Shreve et al., 2014; Wachinger and Renn, 2010). Particularly in cross-border contexts (e.g. a river crossing two national boarders) raising of risk awareness may be a challenging task, as the origin of a flood in the upper part of a river system quite often does not overlap with the down-stream areas where the most devastating consequences are experienced.

Strengthening capacities to act: Many communication activities are directed towards trying to strengthen the capacity of people to act before, during and after a disaster strikes. It is often assumed that people would have a lack of knowledge about the types of personal measures that can be taken to improve personal preparedness for floods. Therefore, great efforts are focused on communicating the types of actions that can be taken and the benefits of doing so. Yet, from many empirical studies it is well established that the capacity to act is largely influenced, among others, by such variables as self-efficacy, trust in the effectiveness of measures and in responsible organisations (Shreve et al., 2014; Wachinger et al., 2014). Therefore, simply providing detailed information about the hazard and possible steps to prepare will not be sufficient to strengthen the capacity to act. Working together with people at risk, to develop a shared understanding of the benefits and people’s ability to take specific preparedness actions is more promising.

Warning in case of emergency: Timely and clear warning in case of emergency can reduce hazard related damages. The population at risk can then be informed about when which impacts are expected. Most important is the clear and understandable formulation of a warning message including clear instructions of actions to take. The use of a combination of methods to disseminate warning messages is strongly recommended as people generally seek to have a warning message reinforced through a number of channels before they take the message seriously.

Resolving conflicts and building trust: Resolving dispute and conflicts and hence (re)building trust after events are key elements of a functioning and effective communication strategy. Trust is a result of ongoing interactions and takes time to be developed. If trust is low, smaller workshops and meeting could be organised to encourage deliberative discussions. Mutual trust is in many cases, fundamental for any risk communication. An advantage of being a trusted source is that it enables the communicator to communicate effectively, even when communication barriers exist. Individual trust, however, overrides organisational trust. Therefore, trust in an organisation depends also on the trustworthiness of the person communicating and how they present themselves (e.g. verbally and non- verbally).

Step 3: Who is the audience?

Who is actually your audience? With whom are you communicating? Are you simply talking to “the” general public, only to residents at risk? Do you also take into account the information needs of different audiences? Unless you know your audience, you face the risk of creating communication outputs that do not achieve their aim. Understanding the needs and interests of the intended audience is hence an important step in developing a communications strategy. Gathering information about your audience can help you to develop an effective and targeted communication strategy. Lundgren and McMakin (2013) suggest three potential types of audience analysis that can be conducted in order to achieve difference communications aims.
Baseline audience analysis: A baseline audience analysis is the simplest form of analysis and can usually be done without investing a great deal of resources. It collects information related to the audience’ s ability to comprehend the communication, such as reading ability, ability to speak the respective language in which a message is communicated, it engages with how and where an audience gets its information (communication channel) and with a general understanding of the level of trust/hostility. At least a baseline audience analysis should be conducted for any risk communication effort but is particularly relevant for the aim of warning.
Midline audience analysis: A midline analysis is a more comprehensive analysis than the baseline analysis. Midline audience analysis is suitable for the aims of raising risk awareness and strengthening capacity to act. It includes baseline information plus information about socioeconomic status, demographics, and cultural information, such as age, gender, and occupations. It also includes information about the kind of community a communication activity is addressing (e.g. is a transient community or a community with close social networks). A midline audience analysis will usually suffice if the communication aim is to warn, raise risk awareness and strengthen capacities to act. For example, if it is found that the intended audience is highly educated, it is recommended that the language used to communicate risk is detailed and academic. In regards to cultural information, it is important to know which language(s) the audience are likely to respond to. The preparedness-check for the general public (see chapter 5) provides information about the types of information the general public is interested in, their method of choice, the types of organisations that they trust and socio-demographic information. Therefore, the preparedness check provides the opportunity to directly link the information from a baseline and midline audience analysis. The categorisation of the library of good practices also includes a number of categories which aim to provide practice examples which have been specifically developed for specific genders, age and cultural groups.

Comprehensive audience analysis: This includes baseline and midline information plus socio-psychological factors, such as motivations and mental models of risk. Comprehensive audience analysis is suitable for the aims of strengthening capacity to act and solving conflicts and building trust. The preparedness check includes questions which aim to gain an impression of the outrage factors which are present in the community (see chapter 5). In addition, the model of information meaning-making and preparedness by Becker et al. (2012) based on Paton et al. (2003) also enables organisations to better understand the links between knowledge and action. A comprehensive audience analysis is usually necessary for strengthening capacities to act or resolving conflicts and building trust.

Step 4: Agreeing on a key message

What is actually the core of the message you are communicating? We encourage you to develop a clear key message for your communications strategy and make your communication as understandable as possible to reach as many people as possible.
There are a number of things to take into account when developing a key message:
• It should be developed based on the audience analysis you conducted and the special needs and interests of your audience (see intended audience section, above)
• The organisation needs to identify the “take home message” that they want the audience to remember and target this message to the particular intended audience group. This should be as short and concise as possible.
Lundgrun and McMakin (2013) suggest that the communicator asks themselves the following questions when developing the key message:
• Why am I communicating risk? (e.g. raising risk awareness, strengthening capacities to act, warn in case of an emergency, or for joint problem solving?). If your goal is to raise awareness or warn in case of an emergency you may only need information about reading or education levels and preferred ways of communicating. For strengthening capacities to act, you may need a more complete socio-demographic or even socio-psychological profile, including whether and why members of the intended audience are practicing preparedness actions or not, their perception of risk and what might be the motivating factors that encourage them to act. Similarly, if your goal is joint problem and conflict resolution, you may also need to know what the sources of the conflict or potential conflict might be (e.g. is the conflict substantial or procedural?), the intended audiences level of trust in your organisation as well as the organisations that they do trust, and the risk perception.
• Who am I trying to warn/inform/whose behaviour am I trying to change? (e.g. a group of workers, a specific group in a community, an entire community, or a specific group across a country?). Each group is likely to have differences in their risk perception as well as their preferred method of communication.
• Who should be involved in solving conflicts? (e.g. a federal agency, its contractors, concerned citizens groups, or industry representative?). Each group is likely to have differences in risk perception and perceived source of conflict.

Step 5: What is the appropriate communication method?

There are many different ways of communicating risks and what to do in case of an emergency. While in the case of an imminent emergency a warning needs to be disseminated and understood as quickly and as accurately as possible, in other cases it is not so much the effectiveness of transmitting information which is of relevance, but rather its quality and trustworthiness. It is therefore crucial to choose an appropriate method of communication to reach your audience and effectively achieve the goals you aim to achieve with your risk communication strategy. Based on Lundgren and McMakin (2013) TACTIC has identified the following communication methods:
1. Visualisation of risk: risk can be communicated through the use of graphical elements and relatively little text to carry simple risk messages. Examples include: photos, posters, displays, direct advertising, videos, and television.
2. Face-to-face communication: involves someone speaking directly to the target audience or listening while the audience speaks. Usually, the audience and the speaker do not interact, except perhaps to ask questions. Examples include: presentations, educational settings such as schools, training courses, tours and demonstrations.
3. Stakeholder participation: involves the target audience in some way in the discussion, analysis, or management of the risk. Examples include: advisory committees, focus groups, and workshops.
4. Technology-assisted communication: uses technology, often computer based, to discuss or disseminate risk information, or allow a member of the audience to query and receive a variety of information about the risk.
5. Information materials: are materials that the target audience will read and are generally printed. Examples include: newsletters, fact sheets, brochures, booklets, pamphlets, displays, advertisements, posters, trade journal articles, popular press articles, technical reports and can include games (e.g. board games).
6. Social media: involves using the Internet to share opinions, thoughts, and other information via text, graphics, and video on the risk relevant to the audience.
7. Press (mass media): the use of sources such as television, newspapers, radio, magazines, and the Internet to communicate risk information to broad audiences. Such sources can be powerful because they can reach large audiences and can be memorable and credible sources for many people.
TACTIC has developed an approach allowing to assess how the chosen methods match with the aims agreed upon.

Step 6: Barriers and good aspects of risk communication

There are many different barriers to a successful risk communication. Most apparently a message may not reach its intended audience since the communication is interrupted and does not reach its audience. In other cases, relevant information might not be shared with a larger group of stakeholders or certain groups of stakeholders may not have access to relevant information. In this chapter we outline how the barriers an organisation is facing in communicating effectively with the public not only depends on the relationship an organisation is having with its audience or the actual risk it is communicating about, it also depends on the general risk communication model and aims an organisation is pursuing.
Differences in risk perception – outrage factors
The perception of risk is quite often very different between organisations responsible for managing risks and those exposed to risks. In regards to the psychological barriers that influence risk perception, Blake (1995), Bennett et al (2010) and Covello and Sandman (2001) provide a list of “outrage factors”. These factors list general ways in which individuals and society may perceive a hazard. The higher the outrage the more likely people are to feel at risk. Gaining an understanding of how a target audience may perceive a given hazard can help inform appropriate risk communication.
Importantly, whether people perceive a hazard to be risky is based on more than just fatalities or pure economic impacts. What the public perceive as risk is much more complicated than expert’s calculations of risk and, therefore, there is no “right” definition of risk (Covello and Sandman, 2001; Otway and Wynne, 1989; Plough and Krimsky, 1987). As a result, risk communication is not just about explaining numbers, it is also about reducing outrage (Covello and Sandman, 2001) and recognising the differences between “expert” and “public” perceptions of risk (Lundgren and McMakin, 2013). Bennett et al (2010) point out that the way that the content is framed, how it is communicated and the impact it has is likely to vary depending on the audience. This is because, “risks are different”, “people are different”, “probabilities can be difficult to interpret”, and “debates about risk are conditioned by their social/ political context” (pp.7-8).
The risk message model – barriers with regard to warning
To receive a warning often implies stress, anxiety and uncertainty: “When people are in a state of high concern because they perceive a significant threat, their ability to process information effectively and efficiently is severely impaired” (Covello et al, 2001:385). The emotional reaction (e.g. anxiety and anger) which is aroused when an individual feels that what they value is being threatened may therefore create mental noise. “Under such circumstances, the ability to attend and retain information is estimated to be 80% less than normal” (Lundgren and McMakin, 2013:18). In order to make warning still effective Lundgren and McMakin (2013) suggest that communicators must make sure that messages are relevant to the intended audience and clearly communicate the severity of the hazard. Apart from that they clearly must reach their audience. The audience must be able to implement the recommended actions (e.g. physically, emotionally, socially and financially) and must believe that these actions will be effective. Therefore, they suggest that “risk information must be carefully packaged and more than three key messages, repeated frequently, should be used, along with reinforcement of verbal and written communications with visuals, and ruthless removal of jargon, technical terms, and acronyms” (p.18).
The risk instrument model – barriers with regard to raising awareness and enhancing capacity to act
Communication practices following the risk instrument model often aim at increasing awareness or enhancing the capacities of actors to act. They usually are based on seeing communication as a function of “sender” → “message” → “receiver” (Renn, 1992). Psychological barriers can impact upon the choice of communicator (sender), and the message communicated (message). These two choices need to take into account a range of potential barriers in order to successfully communicate the intended message to their audience (receiver).

Generally, individuals who receive risk communication are more likely to take action if they feel that the hazard is of relevance to them and if they feel like their actions can make a difference (e.g. control). In addition, unrealistic optimism, can often lead individuals to ignore or dismiss risk information. Many people believe that they are less likely than others to be involved in an accident or get cancer, for example. “Overconfidence and unrealistic optimism are most influential when the risk in question is voluntary, and when high levels of perceived personal control lead to reduced feelings of susceptibility” (Covello and Sandman, 2001:4). Such optimism is linked to experience with a given risk: “We tend to assign greater probability to events of which we are frequently reminded (e.g., in the news media, scientific literature, or discussions among friends or colleagues), for example, or to events that are easy to recall or imagine through concrete examples or dramatic images” (Covello and Sandman, 2001:3). In fact, it is argued that individuals apprehend reality in two fundamentally different ways “one labelled intuitive, automatic, natural, nonverbal, narrative, and experiential, and the other analytical, deliberative, and verbal” (Slovic and Peters, 2006:322; also see Kahneman, 2011). In addition, as a result of experience, people may also perceive themselves as being less at risk from the impacts of a disaster than others around them; this may result in them transferring the risk to others in the community (Paton et al, 2008) and thus not undertake preparedness action.

Also the very framing of information shapes the likelihood that actions are taken: Negative information is processed differently to positive information in high-concern situations. “People put greater value on losses (negative outcomes) than on gains (positive outcomes)” (Covello et al, 2001:386). For example, presenting risks in terms of the probability of survival versus dying can have a major impact on how individuals perceive risk (e.g. it was found that people were more likely to perceive the risk of cancer being high if they were presented the information: 1 in 100 people die from cancer, compared to those who received the information: 99 out of 100 people survive from cancer (Covello and Sandman, 2001). It is also suggested that information about options for reducing risk are framed in terms of losses, people are likely to make riskier decisions, whereas they are likely to ‘play it safe’ when choosing between alternative gains (Bennett et al, 2010; Kahneman, 2011; Covello and Sandman, 2001).

As a result, it is suggested that a negative message should be counterbalanced with solution-oriented and positive messages. This is because communications that “contain negatives (e.g., the words no, not, never, nothing, none, and other words with negative connotations) tend to receive closer attention, are remembered longer, and have greater impact than positive messages” (Covello et al, 2001:386). Therefore, it is suggested that the use of negatives is limited in risk communication as they may have a detrimental effect and overpower the positive message/solution and could also undermine trust. Moreover, “risk communications are most effective when they focus on what is being done rather than what is not being done” (Covello et al, 2001:386). Risk communication should therefore focus on the positives of taking action in addition to the risks of not doing so (Reynolds and Seeger, 2005).

The dialogue model – barriers with regard to (re-)solving conflicts and building trust
Trust is the cornerstone of any risk communication (Covello et al, 2001; Earle and Cvetkovich, 1995; Höppner et al, 2010; Earle and Cvetkovich, 1995). Individuals are more likely to follow the advice of risk managing bodies if they perceive them as trustworthy (Covello and Sandman, 2001). Only once trust is established can communication goals be achieved.

Individuals generally trust organisations that they deem to carry the same values as they hold themselves (Höppner et al, 2010; Slovic, 1987). Any message from a source that is seen to be untrustworthy is likely to be disregarded. People are generally reluctant “to change strongly held beliefs, and their willingness to ignore evidence that contradicts them” (Covello and Sandman, 2001:4). It is on these terms that people grant institutions the responsibility to manage risks on their behalf. Disagreements between experts; lack of coordination amongst organisations; lack of effective listening, dialogue, and participation between organisations and the public; unwillingness to disclose or sharing information with the public in a timely manner; and perceived negligence in fulfilling management responsibilities, can lead to a lack of trust (Covello et al, 2001).

Open dialogue and inclusive participation with a range of actors can be employed to increase trust and build relationships. To build trust, Rowan (1993) provides four options 1) “show understanding of and respect for an audience’s concerns”, 2) “offer to work toward mutually satisfactory solutions, rather than impose a reformulated one”, 3) “call for a fair hearing, just as you have given your audience”, and 4) “offer complete messages. Discuss both benefits and harms of substances you are asked about” (p. 369). In order to deal with suspicions regarding the communicator’s competence, Rowan (1993) provides the following suggestions 1) “describe your personal successes and relevant background in solving similar problems in the past”, 2) “explain how judgements were reached”, and 3) “indicate knowledge of an appreciation for local expertise” (p.370). In regards to dealing with suspicions about willingness, Rowan (1993) suggests: 1) provide names and phone numbers to call, so concerned citizens can monitor progress in resolving some problem”, 2) “describe ways you can personally benefit from serving your audience’s best interests”, 3) “locate power in entity larger than one-self”, 4) “speak with confidence in your position” (p.370).

Research suggests that individual and small group settings (e.g. workshops and public meetings) are the most effective approaches for communicating these factors. An advantage of being a trusted source is that it enables the communicator to communicate effectively, even when communication barriers exist. Individual trust, however, overrides organisational trust. Therefore, trust in an organisation depends on the trustworthiness of the person communicating and how they present themselves (e.g. verbally and non-verbally) (Covello, et al, 2001).

Step 7: Evaluation and Feedback

How effective is your risk communication and what impact do you have on community preparedness? Are you providing relevant information, do you use the right channels, do you reach your audience and if yes, what does it change? Evaluating your risk communication activities is crucial if you want to understand whether you are successful or not with your risk communication.

By evaluating an established risk communication strategy an organisation should aim at better understanding to what extent it achieves its expected impacts and/or its defined aims (see chapter 4). Simply focusing on quantitative outputs (e.g. how many brochures were printed or how often a website was visited) is not sufficient in this regard as it does not allow a grasp of the quality of information and how this might contribute to increasing preparedness. Similarly, to simply take into account to what extent the intended audience receives information provided by an organisation is not sufficient as it does not unravel which impact a communication activity had on people preparedness. Therefore, it is decisive to have a clear understanding of what an organisations actually means by “preparedness” in order to evaluate to what extent communication activities have contributed to increasing preparedness. In the next chapter we outline what TACTIC’s preparedness-check, structured along the components of knowledge, motivation, responsibility networks and resources. By distributing this self-assessment to the general public in a specific community, organisations will receive detailed information on both the level of preparedness among the general public as well as information needs expressed by the public. Based on the results of the “preparedness check” it is thus possible for an organisation to answer the following questions:

• Context: Did the context change within which communication between organisations involved in disaster risk management and the general public is taking place? How well is the organisation trusted by the public? Did the overall relevance of a “risk-topic” change since the risk communication strategy was established?
• Aims: Are the aims an organisation agreed on to pursue still of relevance? Are there alternative aims more relevant and hence need to be considered in the future? To what extent were the aims achieved and what are critical levels that need to be transgressed?
• Audience: To what extent was an organisation able to reach or interact with its audience? Were different cultural, but also socio-demographic and economic backgrounds of the audience taken sufficiently into account when communicating to or with the different audiences?
• Message: Did the key message come across; was it accepted and shared by member of the general public? Does it possibly need revision or is there a need to develop alternative key messages for future risk communication activities?
• Methods: Are the methods used for risk communication still appropriate and relevant? Do they help to achieve the aims an organisation agreed upon? Which methods are having a high and which a low impact – in which audience? Is there a need for alternative methods or are there new technological or socio-cultural developments that require new testing of new methods?
• Barriers: Are the barriers for an effective risk communication? What factors shape these barriers? Are the barriers with regard to the “transmission” of information or rather with regard to different perceptions and framings of risks? What needs to be done to overcome these barriers?

4 The TACTIC preparedness check for the general public

How prepared is an individual to cope with the consequences of an earthquake event? What can be done to prepare a household better for a devastating flood event? While the previous chapter outlined some basic steps for developing a risk communication strategy, this chapter engages with the development of what we call a preparedness-check.
Community preparedness describes the capacities (i.e. knowledge, motivation, networks, responsibilities and resources) of a community including residents, the voluntary sector and private actors (e.g. local companies) but also organisational actors from responsible organisations to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions.
A preparedness-check for the general public that has two objectives:
• It allow individuals to receive a short feedback on their risk awareness, on key factors that shape their risk preparedness, their information needs as well as on specific measures that can be taken to increase preparedness. The preparedness check is based on a socio-psychological model developed by Becker et al. (2012).
• It should allow organisations to evaluate the effectiveness of risk communication activities conducted by organisations engaged in disaster risk management by providing feedback with regards to current practices of risk communication in order to assist them in the improvement of their communications strategy.
The preparedness check is based on an assessment approach developed with regard to earthquakes, but was meanwhile also applied to other hazards (Becker et al., 2012; Paton, 2003; Paton, 2007; Paton, 2008; Paton et al., 2015; Paton et al., 2008; Paton and Johnston, 2001; Paton et al., 2000). The model has a very high explanatory power with regard to explaining preparedness actions before, during and after a crises event (see also Shreve et al., 2014) and is one of the best tested and most widely applied behavior-related models in hazard and risk research.

Step 1: Information and Knowledge

In many regions and localities across Europe a substantive amount of information and knowledge with regard to different risks exists, be it in the form of personal experience, narratives, leaflets or maps on the likely impacts of hazards or concrete practices of how to prepare for them. At the same time, this information and knowledge is all too often not shared among and between different authorities and organisations operating in the field of risk and disaster management as well as between authorities and the public. It is therefore vital to better understand to what extent information is provided and how this is perceived and how it interacts with individuals’ motivation to increase their preparedness; this includes knowledge generated through personal experience, passively “consumed” information or knowledge produced through active participation in decisions-making processes.
Personal experience: As previously stated (see section 4.2), the actual experience of a hazards is a decisive factor shaping the perception as well as the preparedness of people at risk. However, the role of experience is quite often paradoxical: Direct experience can have a positive effect on risk perception (reinforcing behaviours) by not only leading to higher risk awareness but also to an increased preparedness as people quite often know what to do if they experience a similar threatening event again (see. Wachinger et al., 2013). At the same time, experience can also have a negative affect for low severity and seldom experienced events as it can produce a false sense of security/misjudgment of the ability to cope.
Passive information: Making information available first of all relies on one-way communication with (almost) no feedback mechanisms. Most prominently, this relates to notice boards, mailing lists, public meetings to inform residents or other actors and making documents and plans publicly accessible. Such communication measures and strategies may have many different purposes such as raising awareness, enhancing the capacity to act, or warn residents at risk. The assessment focuses particularly on the sources of information and from which source of information one would like to receive more information. It is quite well document that this form of information can have an influence on raising awareness but only very limited consequences on the capacity to act.
Interactive information: Information can also be provided in a more interactive setting. The need for more effective participatory processes has become a significant theme in the scientific discussion on risk and disasters. For example, an influential statement of key principles of sustainable hazard mitigation (Mileti 1999) includes the importance of participatory processes and the involvement of more than those with scientific or technical expertise. Schneider (2002) stresses the need to integrate emergency management into processes of community planning and development and argues for the need to see disasters as “community-based problems requiring community-based solutions” (ibid., 143). Pearce (2003) similarly stresses the importance of public participation within a framework of community planning that integrates closely with disaster management. For Tompkins et al. (2008) ‘good governance’ of disasters is related to stakeholder participation in decision-making, democratic access to knowledge and transparency and accountability in relation to policy decisions. Wachinger and Renn (2010) therefore underline that “research indicates that people become more aware of floods and are more motivated to initiate protective action if they are involved in a participatory exercise. This seems mainly due to a shift towards greater trust in authorities and the experts”.

Step 2: Immediate outcomes of personal experience and communication activities

The immediate outcome of receiving information or personally experiencing a risk event is a change of awareness as well as a possible increase or decrease in feelings of preparedness. At the same time, information and knowledge may also stimulate thinking and talking about the risk one feels exposed to. Therefore TACTIC as developed questions and indicators that allows better understanding of whether the provision of information, or the participation in decision-making processes or an emergency exercise or the personal experience of a disastrous event results as an immediate outcome in a increased awareness and an increased or decreased preparedness.

Step 3: Beliefs, feelings and emotions about preparedness and risks

A growing body of literature suggests that particularly beliefs, feelings and emotions influence and shape people’s preparedness, particularly their motivation to take specific, quite often also costly action. It is hence less the immediate outcome of an information campaign that needs to be taken into account to really understand people’s preparedness and what motivates and shapes their preparedness, but rather their beliefs and emotions about risks but also about the measure they are expected to take. Many studies underline that in order to act, individuals need to have both a high awareness of risk as well as high self-efficacy and coping appraisal. If they have high threat appraisal but low coping appraisal, they are unlikely to act. Therefore, it is argued that coping appraisals like self-efficacy (e.g. the level of confidence in one’s ability to take action) or protective response efficacy (e.g. the belief that protective actions will be effective) play and important role in whether citizens take action in regards to different risks (see also Shreve et al. 2014)
In addition, we also included also questions on the perception of risk. The perception of risk is quite often very different between organisations responsible for managing risks and those exposed to risks. In regards the psychological barriers that influence risk perception, Blake (1995), Bennett et al (2010) and Covello and Sandman (2001) provide a list of “outrage factors”. These factors list general ways in which individuals and society may perceive a hazard. The higher the outrage the more likely people are to feel at risk. Gaining an understanding of how a target audience may perceive a given hazard can help inform appropriate risk communication as well as to better understand how the perception of risk is shaped by information and knowledge as well as other factors.

Step 4: Community, networks and trust

Individual preparedness is also shaped by how well a person is networked to other members of the community as well as the overall sense of community and trust in other members of a community (be they organisational or private). Social networks are not only relevant for interactions between and among organisations but also between organisations and the general public. Communication, for instance, occurs between individuals, groups, private and public institutions, in small or mass communication settings, face-to-face or mediated by technical devices. Communication may take place within and across local, regional, national or international levels. Involved actors can be regarded as nodes in communication chains or networks between which information and other resources flow in one or many directions. The strength, stability, frequency and direction of the information flow and the centrality of the actors are the defining characteristics of such networks. Social networks form an important nexus between the individual and social structures and are transmitters of different social capacities and also enable interactions between members of local communities and representatives of risk management organisations.

Step 5: Preparedness actions

Preparedness actions are the ultimate goal of many communication activities. Such actions include steps taken long before an event occurs (e.g. making a building more earthquake resistant), actions that are helpful during an event as well as actions after an event. TACTIC addresses the different actions and measure taken for different hazards in a very structured manner (see below).
Resources: Resources are decisive when it comes to taking preparedness actions as some of them can be very costly. A household may be very motivated to take an action but may not have the resource to do so. Therefore understand the resource portfolio of a household and how this relates to its preparedness is very important with regard to increasing community preparedness.

5 Social learning and community preparedness

Generally, the results of both the organisational self-assessment and the preparedness-check for the general public can be used in many different ways. Most importantly, they should be used as an empirical basis for exchange and interaction between organisations responsible for managing disaster risks as well as the general public; a point we return to below. However, results can also be used simply as an internal feedback within an organisation, for instance. In this respect, it may serve as a way of reflecting upon established practices and get a structured feedback on these practices through the feedback report. Similarly, a single household may use the preparedness-check in order to learn more about measures that might be relevant for the household to increase its preparedness, for epidemics or earthquakes, for instance.
However, TACTIC encourages both organisations as well as members of the general public to use the outcomes of the assessments as a basis for exchanging on questions related to enhancing community preparedness and hence understand the process of exchange as process of social learning, that is a deeply interactive and communicative activity that is ideally based on some kind of two-way exchange, organised iteratively and aims to initiate both incremental as well as more fundamental learning processes by enhancing the capacities of individuals as well as organisations to prepare for different kind of crises in a multi-hazard context.
There are many different possibilities of how the organisational self-assessment and the preparedness check can build upon each other. On the one hand, an organisation may develop its risk communication strategy based on the outcomes of the organisational self-assessment and use the preparedness-check to evaluate its own risk communication activities and practices. On the other hand, an organisation can also use the preparedness-check as a highly structured assessment to understand the current level of preparedness in a community and develop a risk communication strategy based on the results of the preparedness check and re-evaluate its practices some year later by using the preparedness-check again. Apparently, also other forms of interaction are imaginable.

Importantly, particularly during phases when risk communication strategies are evaluated and possibly adjusted or alternative ways of communicating and interacting with the public are thought about, a more engaged and interactive exchange is advisable as the outcomes of the assessment will still be open to interpretation and debate. This can be done in different degrees of intensity, as we will outline in the next section. There are some guiding questions, however, that may help to structure the interaction between organisations engaged in disaster risk management and representatives of the general public.
Social learning as interaction to increase community preparedness: As previously stated, social learning refers to a process that evolves “with the input of various actors (including those at the community level)” (Pelling et al., 2015, 2) and is thus a deeply “collective and communicative” social activity. As an implication, social learning is based on the interaction of various actors and their reflections about how to change their interrelation or the interrelations with their environment. TACTIC has developed an approach as well as an online platform that aims at stimulating and facilitating such exchange and interaction within a structure framework that allows the identification of strength and potential weakness with regard to risk communication as well as with regard to community preparedness.

In this section we outline which forms of interaction are relevant for organizing the exchange on the outcomes of the assessment results. Generally, it is advisable to interact with many different actors representing a great diversity of institutional, cultural and demographic backgrounds. There different forms of interaction possible.
• The basis of all learning processes is the sharing of knowledge and information. Therefore it is decisive that the results generated by the preparedness check are made publicly available and fed back to the general public in a specific community. This is at the same time the least advance method of interaction as information is simply provided and there is no possibility to feedback.
• By consulting member of the general public about both the results of an assessment and the conclusion an organisation is drawing from the results, the interaction becomes more advanced. This can be done through focus groups for instance.
• Involving member of the general public in the design and development or even in making final decision on how to develop a future risk communication strategy is probably the highest form of interaction, which can help to build trust and a highly credible communication strategy. At the same time is this form of interaction is very resource and time-demanding and may be beyond the scope of most organisations

The intensity of interaction depends both on the available resource as well as the gap between the results of the preparedness-check and the results of the self-assessment of the general public. If the level of preparedness, for instance, is quite satisfying and the overall feedback is rather positive, a less intensive form of interaction (e.g. informing the public about results) may be sufficient. However, if there are apparent gaps in the communication, unsolved conflicts or low level of preparedness more intensive forms of exchange is needed.

Social learning as an iterative process: Social learning is ideally organised as a cyclical process that includes different steps, such as interpretations of current or past situations, development of new ideas, designing new strategies or measures, implementing agreed upon steps, as well as the review and evaluation of past decisions in order to adapt and revise established pattern. It is therefore crucial to organise the interaction not simply as a one-shot event, but to rather organise a series of events that allow the interaction over a longer period of time. Ideally, this is also done through using different methods of communication and interaction. Below, we outline some key points you might consider.

Social learning as a transformative process: Social learning should not simply be about improving the status quo, it should rather aim at more fundamental changes in social networks, established stocks of knowledge and skills as well as in the wider societal and institutional structures. In this report we highlighted the idea of loop-learning, whereas:
• Single-loop learning describes the correction and amendment of specific organizational instruments which usually includes the definition of alternative strategies or measures to reach a well-established aim. As an outcome of one of the TACTIC assessment, it might be concluded by an organisation that agreed upon aims are not effectively reached by established modes of communication, which therefore need to be adapted.
• Double-loop learning is more fundamental as it is not so much concerned about how to reach established goals, but rather challenges these goals and objectives by questioning established values and policies and aims at changing the behaviour of actors. In this case, it the preparedness-check might unravel that established aims of an organisations (e.g. enhancing the capacity to act) are not shared by the members of the general public as they do not feel responsible or might even have a very different perception of the relevance of a risk. In this case more engaged forms of interaction and learning might be necessary.
• Triple loop learning is concerned with underlying governance norms and protocols that influence and shape processes with regard to single- and double-loop learning. Such fundamental learning processes are probably to very often to be observed. An example might be that increasing preparedness cannot be achieved through the means of risk communication or an enhancement of motivation of single actors as preparedness is, above all, a matter of missing resource. Therefore underlying modes of distributing resource and sharing the costs and benefits of preparedness actions need to become a matter of concern.

Social learning and capacities: Social learning is based on certain capacities and at the same time aims to enhance capacities. TACTIC has identified five overarching capacities that need to be taken into account in order to increase preparedness sustainably. Based on the preparedness-check profound results can be expected with regard to the five components of the preparedness and possibly strengths and weaknesses in a community can be identified and strategies developed to mitigate them (weaknesses):
• Knowledge: This relates to the general publics’ knowledge and information about the risk they feed exposed to as well as their information needs and information seeking behaviour. It also includes the individual experience of past occurrences of hazards in a specific community. This also includes individuals’ risk awareness
• Motivation: Relates to the general public’s believes and emotions related to the risk the feed exposed to. This includes self-efficacy as well as response and coping-efficacy and feeling about preparedness. Motivation is one of the most important factor shaping people’s decision to take preparedness action or not.
• Networks: This relates to respondents relationship with other actors’ as well as they trust in different organisational and non-organisational actors. It also includes their sense of community and their level of support
• Responsibilities: Relate to how duties are distributed between public/individual and private actors as well as how this distribution is perceived, in addition to being able to participate in decision and policy-making processes
• Resources: Include financial (land, physical material, buildings etc.) and human (e.g., personnel and skills) and provide the means to be able to know and act, be motivated, and establish networks.

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Potential Impact:
1. Impact of the project

The project, its objectives as well as its outputs attracted considerable interest, particularly in the case studies but also beyond. Generally, TACTIC aimed from its beginning to be able to make a difference on the practical level and therefore took the demands and expectations of stakeholders’ serious. TACTIC itself was organised as a transdisciplinary research process that aimed at developing its central outcome in close collaboration with stakeholders working and involved in the field of disaster risk management both operationally as well as on the policy-level. Therefore, TACTIC selected four case studies from across Europe, representing different types of crisis and disasters and allowing the consortium to take into account different kinds of preparedness activities and strategies. All of the case studies have experienced actual or potential large-scale and/or cross-border disasters and crises. In the case studies, TACTIC relied on established relationships with various stakeholders that were further enhanced throughout the project by creating and facilitating new relationships with stakeholders working in the different contexts. The collaboration with stakeholder was based on interviews, email exchange as well as on intensive interaction with workshop participants before, during and following 8 workshops that were organised in TACTIC’s four case studies.

During the TACTIC project we interacted directly with a minimum of 250 stakeholders. In total, 160 external stakeholders participated in 8 eight workshops in the case studies. Throughout the workshops the group of stakeholders was increasingly enlarged. While the majority of participants were governmental representatives as well as non-governmental representatives, we also involved representatives from academia, first-responders, journalists, students, religious representatives as well as stakeholders working in small and medium-sized enterprises. Since governmental organisations are the main potential users of the platform as they are in most European countries responsible for risk communication and for enhancing preparedness they were the largest group involved in TACTIC.

In addition, a thematically focused workshop was organized with scientists and high-level policy-makers aiming at identifying criteria for and good practices of increasing preparedness on the community level. In this workshop 12 external participants were involved.

In its final stage, a conference with more than 80 stakeholders from across Europe was organized in which the final outcomes and key insights from TACTIC were presented to a larger audience of stakeholders from across Europe. In addition, stakeholders were reached through the consortium’s participation in external events and through the dissemination activities on the TACTIC website and social media.
The usefulness of the outputs developed by TACTIC is underlined by the final evaluation of the outcomes of the TACTIC project, which was done during the final conference. After the overall idea and approach of the TACTIC project as well as central outputs, such as the self-assessments, feedback reports and the library of good practices was presented to the audience, attendees of the conference were asked to anonymously evaluate “How useful they consider the TACTIC self-assessment for your work”. 80 % of respondents (n=30) rate the self-assessment as “useful” or “very useful” indicating that the TACTIC platform is organized in a way that meets current requirements, demands and interests of many different stakeholders in Europe. This result is also underlined by the positive feedback we obtained in the workshop as well as the willingness to test the final version of both the organisational self-assessment as well as the preparedness self-assessment for the general public. Also among the participants of the final conference, by far the majority of participants were willing to test the final version of the self-assessments. 26 out of 37 respondents expressed their willingness to test the final outputs of TACTIC.

Through its outcomes (i.e. the organisational self-assessment for risk communication, the preparedness-check for the general public and the long-term learning framework) TACTIC aim at further enhancing the following impacts:
• Increasing the general preparedness of communities to different hazards across Europe by making the preparedness-check accessible for the general public allowing them to check their level of preparedness and providing them with web links that contain further information that relate to both emergency actions and measures as well as more long-term oriented mitigation measures and actions. More specifically, the preparedness check can contribute to develop people’s risk awareness (action-coping), their belief in the benefits of hazard mitigation (outcome-expectancy), their belief that they can do something (self-efficacy), reduce hindering factors (fatalism, denial, externalized responsibility) and hence not only contribute the financial impacts of risk events but also increase the social resilience of people exposed to different hazards.
• Increase organisations capacity to communicate risks more effectively across Europe by making the organisational self-assessment publicly accessible for disaster risk management organisations, municipalities and other organisations across Europe. The self-assessment allows responsible organisations to assess their activities in a rather learning-oriented manner and through that help them to improve their risk communication practices in a highly structured, transparent and cost-effective manner. This may not only help the organisation themselves to improve their performance but to also indirectly increase the preparedness of communities.
• Through the development of the long-term social learning framework TACTIC encourages active involvement of citizens in community affairs (community participation, NGOs) and also therefore made an effort to enhance communities’ ability to resolve collective issues (articulating problems, collective efficacy). On the organisational level, both the assessment as well as the long-term framework aims at helping organisation as well as individuals’ ability to influence what happens in their community (empowerment) and through doing this improve the level of trust community members’ have in organizations.

TACTIC contributes with its outputs to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 by its outputs in the following way:

• Priority 1 – Understanding disaster risk (b, c. f, h, l, o; baseline, dissemination, communication technology, improve dialogues, education, collaboration at the local level): The self-assessment allows to develop a baseline scenarios with regard to disaster preparedness on the local and regional level and through a periodical re-assessment better understand how the level of community preparedness is changing through risk communication activities (or other measure to increase preparedness), the organisational self-assessment, the feedback report as well as the library of good practices allows to actively disseminate relevant information in a much more targeted manner. The online-platform can be used a communication technology as it is set-up and an interactive learning environment. The preparedness-check as well as the library of good practices can be incorporated in formal and informal education settings and all outputs aim at enhancing the collaboration among people at the local level through community involvement and exchange.
• Priority 2 – Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk (e, h; progress empowers local authorities). The self-assessments allow to contribute to assess and publicly report on the progress on the effective implementation of national and local plans and whether and how they contribute to disaster risk reduction through increased preparedness and the online tool represents and cost-effective and easy accessible approach empowering local authorities to work and interact with the civil society.
• Priority 4 – Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction (all sub-actions). The self-assessments, the feedback report as well as the library of good practices as well as the long-term learning framework contribute to all sub-action identified under Priority 4 as they aim directly at enhancing the disaster preparedness for effective response and long-term mitigation

2. Main dissemination activities

TACTIC relied in different dissemination activities, including classical one-way information oriented dissemination activities as well as more participatory forms of dissemination.
The TACTIC consortium reached through its dissemination activities the following numbers:
Dissemination tools
Website page views: 16-000+ views; Number of downloads: 18, 691+; Twitter followers: 365; E-mail responses: 132; Number of conferences/events presented: 14; Number of papers submitted: 3; Number of newsletters: 5

More interactive, face-to-face oriented forms of dissemination: During the TACTIC project we interacted directly with a minimum of 250 stakeholders. In total, 160 external stakeholders participated in 8 eight workshops in the case studies. In addition, a thematically focused workshop was organized with scientists and high-level policy-makers aiming at identifying criteria for and good practices of increasing preparedness on the community level. In this workshop 12 external participants were involved. In its final stage, a conference with more than 80 stakeholders from across Europe was organized in which the final outcomes and key insights from TACTIC were presented to a larger audience of stakeholders from across Europe. In addition, stakeholders were reached through the consortium’s participation in external events and through the dissemination activities on the TACTIC website and social media.

Throughout the workshops we involved stakeholders with very diverse institutional backgrounds. While the majority of participants were governmental representatives as well as non-governmental representatives, we also involved representatives from academia, first-responders, journalists, students, religious representatives as well as stakeholders working in small and medium-sized enterprises. Since governmental organisations are the main potential users of the platform as they are in most European countries responsible for risk communication and for enhancing preparedness they are the largest group involved in TACTIC.

In addition, to the workshops in the case studies an initial thematically focused workshop was organized aiming at identifying criteria for good practices in disaster risk preparedness programs and communication as well as education activities. Twelve external stakeholders were invited to participate. While this workshop was directed towards an academic audience (8 stakeholders), policy-makers, and representatives of governmental bodies as well as non-governmental organisations participated (4 stakeholders).

TACTIC presented its final outputs as well as central empirical findings at its final conference in Brussels, which was jointly organized with the POP-Alert project. In total, there were more than 80 persons from 18 countries who participated in the TACTIC and POP-ALERT conference. As the figure shows, countries from across Europe were represented, in addition to two participants attending from the United States of America (USA).During the conference, the final outcomes were presented to a larger audience during the final conference, which also included a feedback on the usability of the products developed.

3. Exploitation of results

The TACTIC project experienced considerable interest during its duration, both in the case studies but also beyond. Therefore the consortium decided to further maintain and test the platform and establish a strategy for exploiting its results more systematically. The Coordinating institution will further pursue the exploitation strategy, which comprises of the following corner stones:

• Testing, consolidation and development: The first objective is to test, validate and further develop the platform. Therefore, different case study partner have expressed their interest to test the platform. A first pilot test site was already agreed upon. In August and September the preparedness-check will be tested by the district of Bautzen (Germany) with approx.. 300.000 inhabitants located in the State of Saxony, at the border to Poland and Czech Republic. To further develop the tool the consortium will look for funding and is therefore in close contact with local, regional and national institutions. As the project is also helpful for communities and the public we will also have a look at the possibility of crowdfunding. In addition we will further clarfiy possible data security issues and who to solve them. Generally, the current version of the platform considers all relevant security aspects and has already established a high data protection standard (see. Del. 9.1, Chapter 5.4). In addition we will futher explore next steps to be taken to establish a high standard of data protection and hence incease the credibility of the platform.

• Networking and transformation: TACTIC has established and will further consolidate its connection and exchange with other relevant EU-funded but also nationally funded research and innovation projects in order to connects its output with the work of other projects. The DRIVER project, for instance, will use and test parts of the organisational self-assessment as well as the PLACARD-project, which will use both the self-assessment as well as the library of good practices. Similar activities are foreseen in the ANYHWERE project and close collaborations are also established with the FROTRESS project. It is also foreseen to engage with the Smart Mature Resilience Project (SMR). Through such activities we ensure that central insights and outcomes of the TACTIC project will be used, tested and further developed in the context of other research and innovation actions.

• Building alliance and agenda setting: We will further build alliance and aim at agenda setting with an emphasis on further developing the interaction between experts from the natural and social sciences, technological developers, social media and stakeholders from disaster risk management and community engagement from across Europe. There have recently be funded a serious of project that engage more thoroughly as in previous project with social science concepts and try to raise awareness, increase preparedness and stimulate cooperation and interaction between different stakeholder groups as well as between the civil society and organisations operating in disaster risk management by relying on and further developing technical tools (online tools, social media). We consider this as a fairly recent development that needs more exchange and interaction between different groups of actors and therefore pursue two different strategies:

1) Forster exchange and agenda-setting within the scientific community. It is foreseen to organize a thematically focused workshop and as an outcome publish an edited Special Issue in a highly visible interdisciplinary risk-focused journal. The aim is to bring together scientists as well as stakeholders working at the science-policy interface as well as on the interface of (social)-science and technology with a focus on disaster risk management in order to get an overview about recent development socio-technical advancement in the field of disaster risk reduction and put these developments into the larger economic, societal and technical context as well its associated governance changes. Contacts were established by the UFZ with the coordinator of the FORTRESS-project and it is aim at organizing an agenda-setting workshop spring 2017. We will get in contact with other relevant projects and will draft an open call for paper. High quality papers presented at the workshop will be encouraged to further developed in order to be include in a Special Issue.

2) Foster exchange and develop joint pathways towards innovation and market-update for socio-technical innovations in the field of disaster risk reduction: The consortium suggests to have a more practice-oriented joint workshops with projects that are following a similar aim and are also similarly set-up in order to prepare a common vision of next steps to be taken to ensure that currently develop tools and approaches meet the demands and requirements of possible end-users and have the potential to be taken up by the European market and spread across communities in Europe. This will be done in close collaboration with other European funded projects.

List of Websites:

Contact: Dr. Christian Kuhlicke, Email:

Related information


Annette Schmidt, (EU - Liaison Officer)
Tel.: +49 3412351663


Record Number: 191428 / Last updated on: 2016-11-10
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