It is unclear how the EU public would respond to radiological or biological terrorism. Most emergency plans for these situations assume a rational response and a high level of compliance with official advice, but evidence from previous incidents suggest that these assumptions may be unrealistic. In order to improve our response plans, this project will assess public intentions, beliefs and information needs regarding a hidden radiological exposure device (RED) and a deliberate release of smallpox.
Initial assessments will be made using focus groups with members of the public from the UK and Germany. Half of these groups will consider a hypothetical RED and half a smallpox outbreak. The representativeness of concerns expressed by these groups will then be tested in telephone surveys of randomly selected members of the public. Messages which address public concerns and information needs will be constructed and a new round of focus groups incorporating these messages will be run to test their clarity and their efficacy in altering public intentions.
Focusgroups and representative nation-wide survey in Germany
- UK Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness
- King’s College London