Develop a personal “culture of preparedness”


People who are informed about local hazards and know how to prepare for, and respond to, disasters that may happen in their locality are more likely to be able to keep themselves and their families safe in the event of a disaster. Information about how citizens can prepare disasters is available from many different media.By making a habit of keeping an eye out for such information, actively collecting and discussing it with others on a frequent basis, and assuming the responsibility to do so, citizens have the opportunity to develop a personal “culture of preparedness”

Applicable to:

Stakeholders: Citizens

Disaster Phases: Preparedness, Response, Recovery

Types of Actors Concerned: Non-active citizens, Active citizens, National civil protection bodies, Local authorities, Red Cross, Healthcare and emergency services, Media

Hazards: Natural hazards, Man-made non-intentional hazards or emergency situations, Man-made intentional hazards

Cultural Map Entries:

Vulnerable groups needing priority assistance during a disaster

Use of the safety check feature by region

Differences in risk culture and preparedness level determines differences in user approach to LastQuake's safety check feature

Further research needed to determine country differences around safety check behaviour

Long-term disaster effects in the perception of threats

General association with cultural factors: Communication


Recommendation A

1) Be always on the look out for publicly displayed information about how to prepare for disasters, which is often displayed in public places, e.g., posters and signs in buses, waiting halls, entrance areas of sports stadiums, shopping centres, concert halls or hotel lobbies.

2) Make a point of reading and memorising such information, and encourage people who are accompanying you, especially children, to do the same.

Related cultural factors: Communication

Recommendation B

1) Identify and memorise “safe spots” or “safe zones” in your homes, your workplaces, and your local area.

2) Keep in mind that such safe places may be different for different types of disaster

3) Share and discuss these safe places with family members, friends and colleagues.

Related cultural factors: Communication, Social networks

Recommendation C

1) Search online for reliable sources of information (e.g., the Civil Protection website) or ask your local council for information about how to prepare yourselves and your family and friends for disasters.

2) Download this information or ask the authorities to send you any available brochures.

3) Update yourself at least once a year.

Related cultural factors: Communication

Recommendation D

1) Set up personal emergency plans together with your family and friends by discussing emergency contacts, meeting points, means of communication etc.

2) Use simple reminders to have these emergency plans and information readily available (e.g., as a pic on your mobile phone, in your purse, or to stick on the fridge).

Related cultural factors: Communication, Social networks

Recommendation E

1) Find out which information channels can be used in case of a disaster, e.g. websites or social media sites of your local police force, Civil Protection etc.

2) Make sure you know how to access them, bookmark the links and test them regularly.

3) Encourage and help other family members and friends to do the same.

Related cultural factors: Communication, Social networks

Recommendation F

1) If you have a smart phone, find out what mobile phone apps are available in your country and local area that are specifically designed for disaster communication, such as providing warnings and alerts, recommendations for appropriate disaster preparedness and response, and important points of contact in case of a disaster.

2) Become familiar with the features of such apps and test them frequently.

3) Encourage friends and family members to download and use this app as well.

Related cultural factors: Communication, Social networks

Recommendation G

1) If you travel abroad, make it a habit to gather in advance information about local emergency procedures, e.g. via websites of Civil Protection, Red Cross, your country’s local embassy, or by asking at the hotel reception of your travel destination.

2) If you use mobile phone apps, find our whether there is a “disaster app” available in the countries where you travel, which provides emergency-related information and guidance in your language.

Related cultural factors: Communication, Languages

Recommendation H

1) If you enjoy playing online games, find out what serious games for disaster preparedness and response are available in your country and language; train yourself by playing them and encourage others to do the same.

2) If there are such games that were specifically designed for children, encourage your children to play them, or play them together; ask teachers or kindergarten staff to play them with the children regularly.

Related cultural factors: Communication, Age-related roles

Further reading:

Charsky, D., 2010. From Edutainment to Serious Games: A Change in the Use of Game Characteristics. Games and Culture, 5(2). Available at:

Chaudhary, A.G., 2013. Educational Gaming - An effective tool for learning and social change in India. Journal of Creative Communications, 5(3).

Colindres, Romulo E. Seema Jain, Anna Bowen, Polyana Domond and Eric Mintz, “After the flood: an evaluation of in-home drinking water treatment with combined flocculent-disinfectant following Tropical Storm Jeanne — Gonaives, Haiti”, in Journal of Water and Health, 2007.

Gampell, A.V. et al., 2017. Beyond Stop Disasters 2.0: an agenda for exploring the contribution of video games to learning about disasters. Environmental Hazards, 0(0). Available at:

International Federation of the Red Cross Report, Beneficiary Communications Evaluation Haiti Earthquake Operation 2011,

Karan, Kavita Lee Aileen, Pong Yin Leng Elaine, ”Emerging Victorious Against an Outbreak: Integrated Communication Management of SARS in Singapore Media Coverage and Impact of the SARS Campaign in Moving a Nation to be Socially Responsible”, in Journal of Creative Communications 2:3, 2007.

Ma, M., Oikonomou, A. & Jain, L., 2011. Serious games and edutainment applications Springer, London. Available at:

Macklin, C. & Sharp, J., 2012. Freakinʼ hard: Game Curricula about Game Design, Issues and Technology. In Games, Learning and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age.

Shaw, A., 2010. What Is Video Game Culture? Cultural Studies and Game Studies. Games and Culture, 5(4).

US Congress A failure of initiative: Final report of the select bipartisan committee to investigate the preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina,,&dl.