Throughout every stage of the disaster life cycle—from mitigation and preparedness to response and recovery—risk communication is vital to ensuring that people have the tools and resources they need to take necessary actions to guard against disaster losses and keep community members safe.

The Natural Hazards Center, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recently released the Principles of Risk Communication Worksheets: Exercises for Integrating Principles into Risk Communication Practice to provide a resource to hazards practitioners with risk communication responsibilities. The collection of worksheets was designed as a tool to help practitioners to apply core principles of effective risk communication to their own activities.

The collection contains five worksheets, including exercises on how to understand the community of focus, questions and steps for implementing each of the three core principles, and guidance about how to reflect on risk communication activities after they have been implemented. The worksheets promote a risk communication process that is interactive and collaborative.

“As we were working on this suite of products, the refrain we heard over and over again from practitioners was a desire for more examples and references that were directly relevant to their work,” said Nnenia Campbell, Natural Hazards Center research associate and lead developer for the Principles of Risk Communication Worksheets. "We developed these worksheets in stages to incorporate input from practitioners who were communicating about risks in diverse contexts all across the country. The final product benefited tremendously from their thoughtful contributions.”

The recommended exercises will enable risk communication teams to identify strategies to build trust and partnerships that facilitate stronger community engagement; design outreach strategies that are appropriate for the needs and capacities of the intended audiences; and frame and disseminate information through methods that appeal to the identities, concerns, and priorities of different communities.

The recently released worksheets expand on Principles of Risk Communication: A Guide to Communicating with Socially Vulnerable Populations Across the Disaster Lifecycle, a publication released in 2020 that highlights tips, implications, and considerations for communication with socially vulnerable populations (defined as those who face a disproportionate disaster risk due to a variety of historical, social, economic and political considerations).

Additional information about the project and all associated products can be found on the project webpage.