Published in The Environmental Professional, Volume 14, Issue 3, January 1, 1992, pages 200-227. Copyright © 1992 Cambridge University Press. The definitive version is available at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=ENP.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author W. David Conn was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 requires that planning and emergency response agencies be able to communicate with the public in nonemergency situations in order to help citizens understand the risks they face from hazardous materials and to secure citizen participation in designing responses to chemical emergencies. Both research and reports from the field indicate that, with notable exceptions, most Local Emergency Planning Committees created for this purpose are making little or no effort at proactive communication. As a result, citizens are not being educated effectively about the hazards they face and are not acting as full partners in emergency response and risk management planning. This paper draws on research and field observations, identifies ten major barriers to sound risk communication, and offers organizational and tactical suggestions for overcoming each barrier.
Urban, Community and Regional Planning