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Face-to-face workshops boost disaster preparedness

Tuesday - April 2, 2019 7:16 pm , Category : EDUCATION
London, April 2 (IANS) Face-to-face workshops based on the psychology of behavioural change and disaster preparedness can be used to prompt households to protect themselves against disasters like earthquakes, fires and floods, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, found that by engaging households in evidence-based face-to-face workshops, researchers could engineer change in householders' natural disaster preparedness that would last for long term, potentially saving lives.
"There is evidence that even small measures can save countless lives," said lead author Helene Joffe, Professor at the University College London.
"Being prepared for multiple hazards makes households more resilient, especially given that hazards can occur simultaneously or in rapid sequence," Joffe said.
To prepare for disasters, the team ran workshops to empower people to make small household adjustments, like securing TVs, computers and cabinets to the walls and ensuring no objects are placed above beds regarding protection from earthquakes.
The workshops comprised two three-hour training sessions, after which researchers observed whether households had adopted disaster preparedness behaviours. Only half of the households in the sample were given the training.
"We found behavioural changes were most likely where there was home ownership and high outcome expectancy -- that is, when individuals had a sense of urgency and believed their actions would have an effect they were more likely to make changes," said Joffe.
"An unintended consequence of the study was that even the control group -- which did not receive training -- improved its preparedness behaviour. This suggests when risk-related behaviours are simply being observed, householders will change their behaviours to become more prepared," Joffe said.

--IANS vc/pg/pcj