Keywords: bushfires, community, earthquakes, trust, preparation, risk communication, volcanic eruption, natural hazard mitigation, risk management, emergency management, protective measures
Risk communication and natural hazard mitigation: how trust influences its effectiveness
In areas prone to natural hazards, a key goal of risk management is mitigating risk by encouraging people to adopt protective measures. Despite the efforts of civic emergency management agencies, the goal of ensuring the sustained adoption of these measures has proved elusive. This paper argues that one contributing factor has been a failure to accommodate the relationship among the complexity of hazards, peoples' lack of experience of them and the need to rely on others to acquire pertinent information within the risk communication process. This paper discusses (a) how familiarity with a hazard and the availability of information about it affects the relative influence of trust on decisions to adopt protective measures and (b) how trust mediates the relationship between structural characteristics (e.g. participation and empowerment) of a community and natural hazard preparedness. The implications of the findings for risk communication are discussed.