In today's world of accidents, terrorism and unpredictable incidents, the public is hypersensitive to perceived and actual risks in their community. Unfortunately, even if the measurable risk is extremely low, the public's response and actions to threats on their security and quality of life is legitimate-regardless of how non-rational it may be. Organizational leaders misappropriating attention away from the seriousness of the emotional state of a community during an environmental incident are dangerously distancing themselves from the veracity of a situation.
At a recent national conference, Dr. Peter Sandman, known writer, lecturer and consultant on risk communication, shared a simple equation designed to better understand the public's perceptions during a crisis.
Risk = Hazard + Outrage