A key issue in crisis communication is the way people process crisis-relevant information to minimize danger. This paper discusses the impact of previously experienced crises on the public's interpretation of warning messages. People may not have direct experience of a crisis, but they still have acquired mediated experiences of a variety of crises. The present study introduces the term cultural experience of crisis to label the synthesis of mediated crisis experiences, media and fictional narratives, collective memories of societal disasters, conversations, and immediate crisis experiences of witnesses and victims. The proposed model of cultural experience of crisis is elaborated on the basis of a qualitative text analysis derived from four qualitative interviews 16 focus groups interviews carried out in Estonia from 2008 to 2009.