Natural disasters are complex events, and the prevention and mitigation of their impacts likewise has many aspects, one of the most important of which is, without question, the amount of information available and awareness of people.
How much do the public really know about civil emergency situations and the early warning systems?
In frame of PRO NEWS Programme, the Regional Environmental Center (REC) Albania carried out a survey with main theme “Risk: It is a Chance or Choice?”. The nationwide public opinion poll provided a fascinating picture of what people do and do not know about disaster risk.
More than 85 % of respondents claimed to know the dangers that threaten their community, although they were unaware of any emergency plans in there are. Around 86 % don’t know what the early warning system is, or which are the communication means within this system at national and local level.
Regarding the main cause of the disasters affecting them and their community, the majority referred to alterations and interventions carried out by humans, while only 6.5 % of respondents mentioned natural cyclical events.
According to 66.5 % of respondents, the primary source of information about hazards and early warning systems was the media, while 55 % of respondents ranked school education as the best way to learn about civil emergencies.
A specific question in the survey – If the risk is a matter of chance or a choice? – aimed to better understanding the civil emergency situations in Albania. According to 40.6 % of respondents risk is a matter of luck, while 59.4 % consider it as a matter of choice.
In our daily lives we are faced with a constant need to make choices considering up the relative risks and benefits is far from easy. We can only rely on the knowledge we have. Have you ever wondered how you would react in an emergency? None of us like to think too much, but as citizens we need to have basic information about the risks and the appropriate measures that we need to take, not only to prevent disasters but also to cope with them if they occur.