Documenting natural hazard risk communication needs, challenges and innovations through participatory engagement
Engineers often receive limited or no formal training in risk communication and may not have time to be up to date with current communication research. Additionally, communication training of practitioners is often 1-dimensional and recipe-style, and doesn’t explore contextual and situational nature of communication. Over the past couple of years, we have developed innovative curricula to teach risk and crisis communication to upper year geoscience, emergency management and engineering students at the University of Canterbury and affiliated institutions in New Zealand. This research involved measuring students’ communication performances and building a new model for understanding how communication is learned, resulting in statistically significant improvements of students’ perceptions and confidence. There is considerable experience and innovation within the New Zealand natural hazard risk communication community, so we aim to integrate this knowledge with our research as a ‘value add’ project (funded by EQC and QuakeCoRE), in which we will work with practitioners to create joint recommendations for improving risk and crisis communication, for the benefit of the wider community. In this poster, we will share the ‘lessons learned’ from our communication training experiences, and why they are important for teaching scientists and engineers how to communicate. Additionally, we will highlight some preliminary findings from engaging with professionals and ask the QuakeCoRE community to consider working with us on this important initiative. Lastly, we will highlight the successes and failures of running our knowledge transfer initiative, which is useful for professionals and organisations hoping to improve communication skills in engineering and the sciences.