Public Engagement

How the public participates in and perceives a response is important to the success of disaster risk management and thus it is important to listen to and engage with members of the public. This also requires widening the diversity of data and the understanding of data needs in a successful disaster management CIS.

Guiding Questions

How are the public made aware of activities of drm within the CIS?
What might individuals and communities be able to contribute?
How can information sharing acknowledge diverse understandings of risk?
When would an awareness of different approaches to risk by the public be beneficial to the collaboration?

Further Information

In the decade 2005-2014, 1.7 billion people were affected by disasters. Around 90% of these disasters were climate related floods, storms and heat waves, which were, with some degree of precision, predictable. Yet, even though some risks can be anticipated, residents of affected areas often do not take appropriate precautions even if they are given notice of a danger. At the same time, communities may hold significant knowledge and capacity to contribute to risk assessment, mitigation, response or recovery, they often construct their own risk assessments and are often the ‘real’ first responders when an incident occurs.

These activities are often ignored or there may even be attempts to suppress them, in no small part due to the power of ‘disaster myths’ about how disasters lead to a breakdown of social order, cause ‘ordinary people’ to panic, or loot (Tierney et al 2006).


A key action point in the latest report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is to study why residents do not evacuate in time (UNISDR 2015). [under construction]


Latonero, M. and Shklovski, I. (2010). "Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service ": Emergency Management & Social Media Evangelism. In Proceedings of the 7th International ISCRAM Conference - Seattle, Vol 1. 2010. [DOI] [Link]
Tierney, K., Bevc, C. and Kuligowski, E. (2006). Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 604: 57-81. [DOI]

UNISDR. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015. [Link]


Weick, K. E. (1988). Enacted Sensemaking in Crisis Situations. Journal of Management Studies, 25(4), 305–317. [DOI] [Link]

Related Key Terms