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Stylepark Newsletter #286 | 05/2013
Nowadays, and not really to anyone’s surprise, there are specialists for just about everything. Only recently we read an interview with two sociologists who turned out to be female specialists for “crisis communication”. Yet it swiftly became clear that really difficult issues are involved. For example, when it comes to how the authorities warn the population in the event of all manner of disasters, what they provide information on, and whether it would not be better to keep silent on some things to avoid a panic. Be it hail storms, chemical accidents, or horse meat in yoghurt – anyone who has been informed where danger lurks can be better prepared.
Once upon a time, as some will remember, there were sirens for some of these events: When they sounded, everyone knew that something bad had happened. Whereby the siren didn’t tell you what exactly had happened and what measures needed to be taken. Today, in especially bad situations, alongside radio, TV and the papers the authorities are encouraged to send out text messages. Our two sociologists omitted to say whether there are still cars with loudspeakers on them that drive through the streets informing people by word of mouth.
They did, however, report on people’s basic uncertainty as regards how to behave in the event of a disaster. Sure, exercises are important. However, if you here warning sirens each week, as is the case in the Netherlands, then possibly you may mistake the real thing for just another practice. In Germany, the experts said, there are far too few exercises. Here people often don’t even know how to react. Starting with the one half who say “If I hear a siren, I go inside and close the windows.” While the other half says “I go outside and try and find out what’s happening.”
That’s the way it always is, and not just when the sirens call: It never hurts to know what needs to be done. Enough said as regards crisis communication: Simply stay at home, keep the windows closed, and start reading.
Wishing you a lot of pleasure browsing, reading and thinking.
Your Stylepark Team