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Authors: Piangiamore, G. L.* 
Musacchio, G.* 
Bocchia, M.* 
Title: Challenging risk reduction through education and preparedness
Editors: Slejko, D. 
Rebez, A. 
Riggio, A. 
Argnani, A. 
Del Pezzo, E. 
Galli, P. 
Petrini, E. 
Serpelloni, E. 
Solarino, S. 
Issue Date: 20-Nov-2013
Keywords: risk mitigation, active learning experience, preparedness
Subject Classification05. General::05.08. Risk::05.08.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: It is increasingly acknowledged that disasters are the result of natural and social processes (Okazaki, 2007). Unlike the natural conditions that have a strong unpredictability component, social dimension of the disaster risk relates to the way human being interacts with natures. Hence, human behavior is the crucial factor in the degree of vulnerability and the likelihood of disasters taking place. Often people seem to know that a natural disaster might hit them, nonetheless the lack of awareness results in a general underestimation for effectiveness of actions towards risk mitigation. In many countries only few households or public buildings have disaster plans and supply kits, or have retrofitted and safe-proofed the inside, in case of earthquakes. Similarly little actions have been taken to safe-proof land in case of hydrogeologic threat. Disaster preparedness and prevention programs often remain in the domain of assumptions instead of evidence (Horton, 2011). Since disasters are infrequent in nature and memories are short (Komac, 2009; Biernacki et al., 2008; Wisner, 2006; Komac et al., 2011), there is an urge to promote culture of prevention and preparedness. The misconception about disasters as nature’s curse has most to do with mindset of people towards safety culture and the chance to live hazard in a sustainable way. The future emergency response needs to be better aligned with a longer term perspective in terms of development, crucial socioeconomic investments and infrastructure and, above all, preparedness (Horton, 2011). Here, education plays a significant role. The key to reduce risk is to start from scratch. We need to enhance capacity building for disaster risk reduction and, to do so, we need to educate both decision makers and general public. The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, highlights knowledge and education as one of the five main priorities of action. In this paper we deal with actions based on education to challenge perception and memory of disasters while builing knowledge and skills essential for disaster preparedness. Having children has a chief target one can rely on a chain reaction (domino effect): children transmit the risk-related knowledge to their parents and other people in their social network (e.g.: Cardona, 2007; Stoltman et al., 2007; Wisner, 2006; Kuhlicke et al., 2011).Living in a natural hazard prone land requires a multi-spectrum, coordinated and synergic approach to risk reduction including on one end the improvement scientific knowledge on natural phenomena and vulnerability, on the other end actions on emergency plans. However, all actions are less effective without a culture of prevention and preparedness. This can be achieved only through education, starting from the youngest and through a permanent training process. Interdisciplinary issue for more effective disaster resilience enabling cooperation at all levels and the high level of motivation and transparency among the team members coming directly from risk management organizations is our strengths and we support the transferability of our project to other Provinces and Regions encouraging a collaborative risk management to knowledge sharing of natural risk.
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