This collection contains research syntheses, guidelines, and tools for communication with communities and stakeholders about wildland fire, smoke, fire effects, and disaster.
A Primer on Health Risk Communication
Department of Human and Health Services, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
This collection of guidelines for communicating risk to communities is as useful for communicating about wildland fire risks as for communicating health risks. Follow the link to the site then browse the left hand column for useful advice on a wide range of community communication approaches.
Building a Successful Program to Engage Property Owners - Fact Sheet (PDF)
Describes the steps necessary to develop a program to involve property owners in cooperative fuels planning and hazard mitigation programs.
Communication and Community Development for Health Information - Review (PDF)
This is a review of literature relevant to efforts to communicate health information especially to underserved populations. The models provide guidance useful to fire managers communicating with rural communities.
Communicating with Homeowners about Fuels Management Research - Research Synthesis (PDF)
"In this publication we present the findings of the synthesis on education and communications research to help engage homeowners in fuels management." "The purpose of this paper is to summarize what is known about the techniques of effective persuasive communication programs and to provide fire managers with an outline of the characteristics of such programs. Although most managers will be unlikely to have the resources to be able to use all the possible tools discussed, reviewing key elements to consider in developing an effective program to change behavior should help managers identify the most appropriate options/tools for their specific situation. Information is drawn from the fields of environmental communication and social marketing, as well as the natural hazards and risk communication literature."
Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication - Training Manual (PDF)
"The purpose of this course is to introduce the reader to communication principles and tools as they relate to what we have called emergency risk communication. The principles in this course borrow from (1) font of classical rhetoricians, (2) wealth of modern crisis, issues management, communication and psychological theory and, (3) lessons learned from the real and often painful world of experience, old-fashioned trial and error."
Evaluating Mass Communication Health Initiatives - Expert Panel Report (PDF)
This report was prepared for the Center for Disease Control. A panel of experts considered the problems associated with evaluating the effectiveness of health communication campaigns. The same issues affect evaluation of fire prevention, information, and education campaigns. Results are organized by theory, method and design issues, statistical issues, barriers of scarce evaluation resources, diverse audiences, and policy issues.
Important Considerations for Communicating About Hazards - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"Effective public education and communication campaigns have clear objectives, and use the right techniques to achieve these objectives. This is one of several fact sheets that address wildland fire hazard communication. Here we list important considerations for planning or implementing a hazard communication effort."
More Ways to Catch and Hold People's Attention - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"In this fact sheet, we discuss ways to catch and hold people's attention so that they become (and stay) engaged in fuels reduction activities."
Pink Book - Making Health Communication Programs Work (PDF)
US National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
A guide to planning and implementing health communication campaigns that provides applied guidelines just as useful for promoting fire protection and ecosystem management as for promoting cancer prevention.
Principles of Community Engagement
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Practice Program Office, Atlanta, GA 1997
"Principles of Community Engagement provides public health professionals and community leaders with a science base and practical guidelines for engaging the public in community decision-making and action for health promotion, health protection, and disease prevention. The material provided here can help public health professionals and community leaders improve communication, promote common understanding, and strengthen coordination, collaboration, and partnership efforts among themselves and community members and institutions. This book is also designed to help CDC programs and their partners guide community involvement in activities that affect or change health-related behaviors, including needs and asset assessment, planning, resource allocation, advocacy, outreach, program development, implementation, and evaluation." Just as useful for engaging communities in wildland fire protection and ecosystem management.
Scientific and Technical Information Simply Put - Practical Guide (PDF)
"This guide will help you translate the complicated scientific and technical information generated at CDC into material that captures and keeps the interest of your intended readers. It will teach you how to write simply, use language and visuals that your audience relates to and understands, and organize the information so it's easy to act on and recall." The guide provides helpful instruction that can be easily applied to communicating technical fire and fuels information to communities-at-risk.
The "Golden Rule" and Other Lessons on Communicating About Hazards - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"During the window of opportunity that opens following a disaster, abundant information from various sources in the affected location will increase the chances for changing what people think and how they behave. This is also the case for people and communities that were not directly impacted by the disaster but experienced it from the mass media. Use the window of opportunity while you can. The window isn't open for long and fleeting interest wanes."
The Importance of Working Locally - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"People who evaluate their actions in terms of what others think are often said to be guided by community norms. With respect to fuels management, this means that when you are 'selling" a property owner on taking steps to reduce fuels you are not just 'selling' to one person, but to a network of people. To reach people who are motivated by community norms, you need to work at the neighborhood or other local level."
The "Laws" of Effective Public Education About Fire Hazards - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"In communicating with people about wildland fire hazards and fuel treatments, there are many factors to consider. Within the past 10 years, breakthrough research has identified the factors that are most important for effectively communicating about hazards." "The following seven 'Laws' of effective public communication should be considered in any state-of-the-art education campaign."
Three Critical Topics to Cover When Talking About Hazards - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"Messages to the public will be more effective if the focus is on (1) potential losses, (2) the chance that losses will take place within a certain amount of time, and (3) how to cut losses. These three keys to communicating about hazards could be thought of as the legs on which a hazards education initiative rests."
Types of Information to Encourage Proactive Behavior - Fact Sheet (PDF)
"In this fact sheet we discuss the different kinds of information that you can provide property owners, information that may enhance proactive behavior to reduce fuels."