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Keywords:

  • Diffusion theory;
  • disaster;
  • path analysis;
  • preparedness;
  • risk communication

We propose a shift in emphasis when communicating to people when the objective is to motivate household disaster preparedness actions. This shift is to emphasize the communication of preparedness actions (what to do about risk) rather than risk itself. We have called this perspective “communicating actionable risk,” and it is grounded in diffusion of innovations and communication theories. A representative sample of households in the nation was analyzed using a path analytic framework. Preparedness information variables (including content, density, and observation), preparedness mediating variables (knowledge, perceived effectiveness, and milling), and preparedness actions taken were modeled. Clear results emerged that provide a strong basis for communicating actionable risk, and for the conclusion both that information observed (seeing preparedness actions that other have taken) and information received (receiving recommendations about what preparedness actions to take) play key, although different, roles in motivating preparedness actions among the people in our nation.