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Type: Conference paper
Title: On heatwave risk communication to the public: new evidence informing message tailoring and audience segmentation
Author: Hanson-Easey, S.A.
Hansen, A.
Williams, S.
Bi, P.
Citation: Proceedings of the Australian institute for Disaster Resilience Conference (AIDR 2019), 2019
Publisher: Australian Government National Recovery and Resilience Agency
Issue Date: 2019
Conference Name: Australian institute for Disaster Resilience Conference (AIDR) (27 Aug 2019 - 29 Aug 2019 : Melbourne)
Statement of
Scott Hanson-Easey, Alana Hansen, Susan Williams and Peng Bi
Abstract: Heatwave risk communication campaigns and warnings cannot be ‘all things to all people’. Conventionally, age (very young and older people) and pre-existing health conditions are used as key vulnerability factors upon which heat-health messages are tailored, targeting segmented audiences. Arguably, these segmentation criteria are too blunt, and are at risk of neglecting acutely vulnerable individuals and households who struggle with multiple, interlaced social vulnerabilities, including: poor quality housing, social isolation, living in ‘hot spot’ suburbs (urban heat islands caused by lack of vegetation), low socio-economic status, and health and mental health problems. Employing qualitative and survey methods, findings suggest that greater attention should be paid to the tailoring of heatwave messages consistent with the ‘lived experience’, values and understandings of vulnerable communities. Doing so which will improve message salience. Moreover, findings suggest that communicated heatwave information was commonly perceived as ‘redundant’ (superfluous and ‘common sense’ information). Carefully tailored messages bearing contextualised adaptation strategies may overcome information redundancy, empowering vulnerable individuals and households to enhance their resilience to heatwaves.
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