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Fundamentals for Establishing a Risk Communication Program

Ng, K. L.; Hamby, D. M.

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This paper provides a suggested outline for developing a risk communication organizational plan that could be used by a variety of federal, state, or private agencies. Drawing on various techniques presented in the literature and on the authors' insights, suggestions are provided as to how to formulate and convey risk messages. First, the paper provides a few risk communication fundamentals including definitions, the goal of informing vs. influencing, the importance of public participation in risk management, building trust and credibility, the consideration of outrage, and the importance of oral and visual communications. Second, a stepwise approach synthesized by the authors is presented that can be applied in developing a risk communication program. The approach is a 13-step method based on the premise that the risk communication program should be dynamic, flexible, and involve interaction with the public at every possible step.

(C)1997Health Physics Society


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