Avignon University rewarded for its research into public warnings in France

News Research news 21 November 2023

Acculturation to risks, training exercises and a culture of alert are three essential levers for effective safety measures, synonymous with protecting populations. The work carried out by the ESPACE laboratory at Avignon University was recognised on 14 November 2023 when it was awarded the "Contribution of research on civil security crises" prize at the 16th Major Risks Information Forum, under the patronage of Yaël Braun-Pivet, President of the French National Assembly.

Working closely with the Digital Transition Directorate (DTNUM) and the Office of Public Alerting, Awareness and Education (BASEP) of the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas France, the project team coordinated by Johnny Douvinet took part in 58 exercises organised throughout France over the period June 2022-November 2023, simulating alerts in the event of flooding, industrial accidents, dam bursts, a tsunami or an act of terrorism.

21,656 responses collected via an online questionnaire confirmed a number of trends: while 75% of people who received an audible warning were surprised, 42% were stressed and 39% were afraid; the absence of clear, prioritised instructions led to discrepancies of almost 25% in declarations to take shelter or evacuate; the words "Leave your children safely at school" halved the number of people who would behave in this way in the event of a real alert..

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