Another report also released this Wednesday (I guess I forgot that I asked for disaster research reports for my birthday!), contained some interesting findings about public perception of disasters and disaster relief funding.
The national study, by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post, was conducted May 23-26 among 1,005 adults, and found broad support across demographic groups for the view that federal spending in response to natural disasters is emergency aid and does not need to be offset by cuts to other programs. They broke it down in all sorts of political ways that don’t need to be reported here. But more interesting (to me), is this secondary finding, reported almost as an afterthought:
“Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they paid very close attention to news about the deadly tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, last week. Interest in the tornado was only slightly lower than interest in Hurricane Sandy last fall (53%). Interest in the storm far surpassed interest in the week’s other top stories, including the murder of a British soldier in London (18% very closely), the debate over immigration policy in the U.S. (17%) and news about the Obama administration’s policy on the use of military drones (17%).
So, the “strike while the iron is hot” approach to raising awareness for preparedness and continuity (and requests for funding) seems to be the way to go. If you can piggyback your message onto a news story that half of the employees in your organization are following, the odds of you getting your message across have got to increase. Just be sure to do it in good taste.
Click here for a list of ten recent disasters to see which were most closely followed. The event in the number one spot had 73% of Americans paying very close attention. Can you guess what it is?