Altinay, Z.; Morris, L.L., and Reams, M.A., . Information needs of coastal residents in Louisiana, U.S.A.: Implications for risk communication.
This study aims to address the gap between communication practices and adoption of hazard-mitigation behavior in a deltaic land that experiences chronic coastal hazards, including storm surges and shoreline erosion. Focusing on Louisiana’s coastal crisis, first, an online questionnaire was distributed to identify hazard mitigation patterns and information needs of a subset of southern Louisiana residents. A follow-up focus-group discussion sought to delve deeper into residents’ experiences with community communication practices as well as the obstacles with dissemination of hazard-mitigation information to nontechnical audiences. Participants recommended the establishment of stronger public-private partnerships, increased use of visual information, and the necessity of providing clear and comprehensive details regarding funding and financial assistance programs to communicate hazard mitigation strategies. Findings provide a starting point for building local knowledge through extension engagement related to the delivery of hazard-mitigation information and discuss how to engage in proactive outreach methods to raise awareness about risk and hazard mitigation for both technical and nontechnical audiences. It combines the theoretical framework of community resilience with principles of communication. Results of this study contribute to an understanding of the barriers to household-level mitigation actions within the community; provide community feedback for extension agents and state and local officials; and suggest discussion points in the context of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plans.