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Effective Risk Communications for the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Threat, Volume 1

NCJ Number
Vincent Covello, Ph.D.; Steven Becker, Ph.D; Michael Palenchar, Ph.D.; Ortwin Renn, Ph.D.; Piet Sellke
Date Published
December 2010
71 pages
This report provides effective risk communication methods to enhance the preparedness, safety, and resilience of the American people against the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The immediate focus of this project is on communication skills that can be used by leaders to mitigate the effects of an IED attack. However, effective risk communication skills are transferable to other types of disasters and crises, natural or manmade. Risk communication skills are critical to all successful exchanges of information with the public, the media, and other stakeholders about all risks, regardless of the cause. This report reviews the risk communication literature to identify effective methods for government officials and civic leaders to warn and instruct the public on appropriate actions to take before, during, and after a terrorist attack using an improvised explosive device (IED). This document consists of two volumes. This report, Volume I, reports on the findings of the literature review, as well as, the findings from a conference of experts from government, academia, and industry conducted in September 2010. Topics include: background and overview of the IED threat; prominent examples of terrorist IED attacks; responses to terrorism vs. other emergencies; risk communication and IEDs; lessons learned from IED or other types of terrorist attacks; leadership attributes during an IED attack; community education; cultural diversity issues and IED communication; and the role of social media before, during, and after an IED attack.