This paper elaborates the concept of citizens' crisis-coping strategies, using data from a qualitative study of people who have experienced a real crisis plus discussions of simulated warning messages. The analysis results suggest that, to emotionally cope with a crisis, citizens may need more than institutionally framed warnings. They may either seek information from informal information networks or simply take their own response action. The paper concludes that the use of alternative sources and channels of warning messages would help people to cope, emotionally and cognitively, with crises. These alternatives would increase the efficacy of institutional crisis communication plans and consequently the public's response to crisis messages.