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					Public Awareness Campaign on

Mary O’Halloran, Flood Relief
The Office of Public Works,
  Dublin, Ireland
•   Background to Campaign
•   Campaign details
•   Analysis of Public Awareness Campaigns
•   Lessons learned
•   Future activities
• Background to flood relief in Ireland
• Review of National Flood policy in 2003
• New policy for flood risk & Flood mgt.
• Identified OPW as lead agency in flood
  risk mgt. and flood relief
• Greater level of Importance attributed to no-
  structural flood relief measures, e.g.
  Communication measures
  Public Awareness Campaign -
• Aims
• To raise public awareness of flooding as an
• To provide advice on the measures that can
  be taken to minimise the impacts and
  damages caused to persons and property
• To be of practical help to all those whose
  homes, farms and businesses may be at risk
 Public Awareness Campaign on
• Key Message
• You cant prevent flooding
  but you can prepare for it
• Taking action can make a
• Theme of the campaign
  was Plan, Prepare, Protect
• Convincing the public that they carry some
  responsibility for the protection of themselves ,
  their families and their property
• Convincing those at risk of flooding that the risk
  applies to them and that taking action can make a
• Meeting raised public expectations due to
  unprecedented economic growth in the country
• Making the flood awareness message relevant to
  those at risk
• A lack of interest in communication about events
  perceived as unlikely
Campaign Formats
  • Website –
  • Information booklet –
    titled “Plan, Prepare
  • Information leaflets
  • Media campaign
       “Underlying Principals”
• Individuals carry some responsibility for the
  protection of their families and property

• People whose properties are at risk should inform
  themselves on practical measures they can take to
  plan and prepare in advance of a flood so they
  can protect themselves should they be subjected
  to flooding
Key Message
    Flood Awareness Campaign -
• 70,000 copies of
  “Flooding – Plan, Prepare,
  Protect” distributed to
  Local Public Libraries,
  Citizens Information
  Centres, Local Authority
• 150,000 Information
  leaflets distributed in areas
  most prone to flooding
•   Am I at risk?
•   Protection
•   Be prepared
•   In the event of a flood
•   After flooding
•   Farming
•   Business
•   Planning
•   Who can help?
Be prepared
Who can help?
    Information leaflets /brochures
• Assessing flood risk      • Looking after lifestock
• Preparing for a flood       & pets
                            • Making a home flood
• In the event of a flood     resistant
• Creating a flood plan     • Restoring your home
• After a flood               after a flood
• Flooding and Business     • Restoring the garden
  owners                    • Flooding facts
• Insurance cover           • Emergency plan
Creating a Flood Plan for the Family
           and the Elderly
• Keep a list of emergency
  numbers close
• Make up a flood kit
• Gas and electricity – shut
  off points?
• Medication?
• Plan an escape route
• Where will you stay?
            Making a home flood resistant

•   Flood protection products
•   Floodgates
•   Floodbags
•   Barriers
•   List of suppliers of flood
    protection products
  Campaign Launch Dec. 2005
• National and local radio
• National and regional
  press- adverts, articles
• 20 billboards
  nationwide in flooding
• Floor advertising in 14
  shopping centres
Booster Campaign October 2006
• Co-incided with
  launch of national
  flood hazard mapping
• Distribution of fridge
  magnets to households
  in flood risk areas
• Media campaign
   Flood Awareness Campaign-
• Survey of Public Attitudes to Emergency Planning
  conducted for the Dept. of Defence (Office of
  Emergency Planning) 2005
• Survey findings re flooding – recall of recent radio
  advertising was limited
• Material well received- most popular small leaflet
  – enough to assimilate
• Booklet would be of interest to those at risk, but
  would be more appropriate to consult on internet,
  libraries etc.
•   Conditions            •   Events
•   Bad traffic           •   Road accident
•   Pollution             •   Toxic spillage
•   Drug abuse            •   Criminal attack
•   Housing costs         •   Economic collapse
•   Poor health service   •   Epidemic
•   Poverty               •   Earthquake
•   Cost of Childcare     •   Flood
   Campaign evaluation – SEPA
  What works well….
• Going into the community
• Communicating with community groups
• One to one engagement _ Trailer bus, 95% of
  those who visted traler bus said they would
  take some action as a result
• Connecting with people
• Familiar messages
• Repeat messages
        What works less well….
•   National campaigns without local follow up
•   Advertising in National Newspapers
•   Areas with poor community focus
•   National Broadcasting
•   Non-targeted activities
 How do we know we have reached
         our audience?
• We are successful when
• Understand their risk
• Accept that it applies to
• Know what to do
• Change their habits
• Are ready to respond
• Reduce the impact
  How do we measure success?

• Difficult to measure
  impact of Public
  Awareness Campaigns
• Annual Campaign
  evulation surveys
• Feedback forms
FutureActivities -Way forward
               • Engage Market Research
                 Specialists to carry out
                 review of Campaign to
               • Management of the website
               • Research and review of
                 international best practice
               • Trailer/bus to flooding
               • Consider a scheme to
                 provide Flood Proection
                 products to those at risk
                   Lessons learned
Any public information campaign relating to emergency planning needs to
   confront a number of hurdles

A cycnical attitude to most official communications

The risk of unecessarily alarming the public
A lack of interest in communication about events perceived as unlikely

Must Plan “with the people not for them”, by going into the communities

“The three times rule” – research in the UK showed that people only took
  action after being flooded three times
                Lessons learned
• Any communication therefore needs to be impactful but
  calm, reasoned, authoritative, easy to understand and not
  too detailed
• It seems that an appropriate tactic, as with the flooding
  campaign, might be brief, impactful messages, whether by
  TV, radio, press or direct mail, pointing to more detailed
  backup, perhaps on a website or in libraries or Citizens
  Information Centres
• However , as the flooding campaign illustrates, the task of
  capturing attention for a communication not perceived as
  being of immediate relevance is not an easy one
• Active awareness raising is
  effective in mitigating flood
• Campaign evaluation is
  required to measure success
• Learning from research and
  experience is essential in
  targeting future campaigns

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