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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? An analysis of risk communication and fire safety

Conference contribution
Authors Gabriella Sandstig
Bengt Johansson
Published in ICRCC, BRIDGING THE GAPS, 12–14 March 2018, Orlando, Florida
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Subject categories Media and Communications

Abstract

The effectiveness of fear appeals is a well-researched area in risk communication. Even if conclusions of meta-analyses is that results to some extent point in different directions, there is a common agreement of some main findings: (1) fear appraisal works to get people’s attention, (2) and if combined with information about self-protective action, people might also internalize the threat and change their behavior (Peters et al 2013). One of the key points in previous research is the need to provide information to take action (Rogers & Decker 1975, Sellnow et al 2015), however sometimes the suggested behavior is not to act at all. One example is from fire safety in Sweden, where the general advice during a fire is to stay in the apartment and await help from the fire department. Studies of fire safety in Sweden also show that X percent refuse the advice to stay and wait for help during a fire (REF), which might be a result of the missing action part in fire safety communication. The present paper wants to test whether risk communication with threat appraisal in combination with coping appraisal increase the willingness to follow fire safety instructions. What we add in relation to present fire safety instructions is both active self-protective action and response efficacy. The former is to further stress which actions can be taken and the latter about convincing information about how long it will take until help arrives. Trust in X The study is based on a large-scale experiment of citizens in Sweden using the Citizen Panel at the University of Gothenburg. One group was exposed to material used in campaigns of the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency. A second group viewed a brochure with added information about self-protective actions. A third group got the same information as the second, but with more information assuring help will arrive on time.

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