Take part in disaster preparedness and response activities


Disaster preparedness and response training activities should take into account different cultural factors and the needs of different cultural groups in a disaster situation. To be successful, such activities require the active support of citizens from different cultural backgrounds. Citizens should participate in such disaster training programs on a regular basis. Additionally, they can contribute to the success by getting actively involved in the planning process, and by encouraging others to do the same.

Applicable to:


Recommendation A

1) Find out whether there are community workshops in your area on how to prepare for, and respond to, disasters.

2) If none are organised, ask your local council or civil protection authority to organise such workshops.

3) Take part in these workshops and use this opportunity to share your experiences of past disasters; discuss values and traditions that played an important role in these situations.

4) The active participation in such community workshops will help community members learn from each other about local hazards and disaster risks, and so strengthen community spirit for improve community responses in the event of a disaster.

Related cultural factors: Social networks

Recommendation B

1) Find out about training events in your area, e.g. First Aid and CPR training, where you can participate; use these events to learn new skills or refresh old skills.

2) Such events are also an opportunity to train with fellow citizens from other cultural backgrounds, learn to identify and respect their specific cultural needs.

Related cultural factors: Norms/values, Customs/traditions/rituals

Recommendation C

1) Volunteer to get involved in the planning of emergency and disaster response activities (e.g., by contacting your local council, or Civil Protection), and encourage fellow citizens from different cultural backgrounds to do the same.

2) Your participation will help practitioners learn about cultural differences before a disaster occurs and adapt the respective guidelines and procedures accordingly.

Recommendation D

1) If there is the opportunity, participate regularly in disaster simulation exercises, which will help strengthening a sense of community, and increase the mutual understanding and trust between disaster practitioners and citizens.

2) Encourage friends and family members to do the same.

Related cultural factors: Social networks

Recommendation E

When you participate in disaster training activities, use these opportunities to think about and discuss with other participants and your trainers the personal skills you already have that could be helpful in a disaster, e.g. technical skills, communication skills, organising talent or detailed local knowledge.

Recommendation F

1) If you are involved in digital gaming design, for example as the developer of multi-player online games, a lecturer or a student in this area, help disaster managers to employ virtual reality as a training method.

2) This could be achieved by using serious game design for disaster preparedness as a study goal, or by including the theme of appropriate disaster response in the design of multi-player games.

Further reading:

Bankoff, G. „Cultures of Disaster, Cultures of Coping, Hazard as a frequent life experience in the Philippines”, in C. R. Natural Disasters , Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009.

Bankoff Greg, Georg Frerks, Dorothea Hilhorst, Earthscan, Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People, 2012.

Charsky, D., 2010. From Edutainment to Serious Games: A Change in the Use of Game Characteristics. Games and Culture, 5(2). Available at: http://gac.sagepub.com/content/5/2/177 and http://gac.sagepub.com/content/5/2/177.full.pdf

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

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: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17477891.2016.1275502

Ma, M., Oikonomou, A. & Jain, L., 2011. Serious games and edutainment applications Springer, London. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/index/10.1007/978-1-4471-2161-9

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.

Marsella, A. J., Johnson, J. L., & Watson P., Ethnocultural Perspectives on Disaster and Trauma, Hawaii: Praeger, 2008.

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