Training programmes for citizens of all ages should be developed. These are necessary to increase citizens’ knowledge of and preparedness in case of disasters. The training activities should be organized on the basis of a training strategy and should take various forms, ranging from emergency drill to workshops


The training programmes should be short, tailor-made for the subject they are addressing (e.g. risk reduction or community action in disaster response) and should occur at regular intervals – at least once a year (Source: Deliverable 7.3, page 73).

Applicable to:

Stakeholders: Policy Makers, Disaster Managers

Disaster Phases: Preparedness

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

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

Cultural Map Entries:

Education engages people and raises awareness of mitigation actions suggested by governments and experts

Importance of knowledge with regards to perception of risk and trust in authorities

Lack of knowledge of disaster guidelines and procedures found in a study with Bucharest residents

Low levels of awareness of appropriate behaviour in a disaster found in a study with Bucharest residents

Considerable interest in disaster preparedness information found in a study with Bucharest residents

Role of simulation exercises in raising citizen disaster risk awareness

Fist aid courses as one way to prepare for a disaster

Low awareness of guidelines and disaster procedures amongst citizens in Malta

Importance of raising awareness of importance of disaster preparedness from an early age

Citizen responsibility to use new technologies and social media for support activities in disasters

Informing citizens as a preparedness measure

Citizen perceptions of disaster simulations

Age differences in reactions to citizen training as a preparedness measure

Group vs individual ideologies influencing attitudes towards training for disaster preparedness

Citizen reactions to disaster simulations as training for disaster preparedness

Participation in preparedness activities increases social cohesion and trust in fellow citizens and authorities measures

Importance of training first responders about religious norms and sensibilities to be considered during a disaster

Importance of an awareness of cultural and community differences amongst disaster practitioners

The importance of training on how to deal with multi-ethnic and religious neighbourhoods

The importance of training disaster practitioners on how to deal with poor vs wealthier neighbourhoods

Including migrants in disaster awareness activities

"Territorial belonging" of individuals and its impact on the response to a disaster

Children and teenagers as volunteers during a disaster

Collective and historical memory of past disaster situations important to citizen risk perception and preparedness

Placing local people in decision-making processes

Capacity building and training in DRR

Implementation activities of the Territorial Coordination Master Plan of the Province of Potenza

Specific drills with citizens in Portugal - the ShakeOut initiative

Implementation steps:

Recommendations on overall principle related to disaster management training

A. Training activities should be carried out in accordance with a training strategy targeting the local community.

B. Inform the local community on the location, timing and content of the training activities.

C. Training activities should be organized at different levels: community level, municipality, county, state.

D. Use the training events to identify specific cultural needs of a certain community.

E. Training activities should be accompanied by the distribution, at least once per year of information (e.g. in the form of booklets) on how citizens can prepare themselves and their family and/or friends for a disaster.

F. Make the training efforts of citizens more public by promoting emergency drills and disaster simulation exercises via traditional and social media.

Recommendations on content of disaster management training programs

G. Training activities should include both disaster readiness classes and first aid courses.

H. The disaster readiness classes should address the need to possess at home basic safety items (e.g. fire extinguishers or fire blankets) and the proper use of the emergency number 112.

I. There should be dedicated training activities for each type of disaster.

J. Training activities should also include information on the common assembly points and the designated safety wardens for citizens to reach in case of a disaster.

K. Develop a model on cultural competences and integrate it into disaster response classes for practitioners.

Recommendations on the delivery of the disaster management training programs

L. Organize, at least once a year, short training activities for citizens (e.g. emergency drills, disaster simulation exercises, workshops, etc.) addressing different topics related to disaster management. Disaster simulation exercises are particularly useful, by comparison to emergency drills for practitioners only, as they facilitate a better understanding between citizens and practitioners, it provides both groups with a learning experience and it strengthens mutual trust.

M. Organize large-scale training events (e.g. First Aid and CPR training in sports arenas), which combine skills training with fostering social cohesion among citizens.

N. Training activities should be delivered by practitioners, who have been assigned this role and have been trained for this purpose.

O. To improve acceptance of educators in disaster awareness and preparedness activities, use the potential of peer education, i.e. engage peers to train individuals within the same cultural groups, within the same social status, and/or same religious or ethnic background. Related cultural factors: Norms/values, Customs/traditions/rituals, Ethnicity, Socio-economic status

P. Cultural factors should be considered in the design and organization of the training activities.


Further reading:

Kasdan, D. O. (2016). Considering socio-cultural factors of disaster risk management. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 25(4), 464-477. doi: 10.1108/DPM-03-2016-0055, p.467.

Paton, D. (2000). Emergency planning: Integrating community development, community resilience and hazard mitigation. Journal of the American Society of Professional Emergency Managers, 7, 109-118.

Shaw, R., Uy, N., &Baumwoll, J. (2008). Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Experiences in the Asia-Pacific Region. Bangkok: UNISDR Asia and Pacific.