International Symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public

2019/07/19

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has organised from 1 to 5 October 2018 an International symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public at Vienna, Austria.

Participation by 9 organizations and more than 500 people


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Attendees discussing at the symposium
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Attendees discussing at the symposium

Nine international societies including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) cooreprated in the symposium, and more than 500 communications experts, media and journalists brought together and exchanged on approaches and expertise about the best ways to “Communicate Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public.”

IFRC has shown to the participants in the symposium how important it is to engage with local actors’ long time before an emergency happens. Through presentations and an exhibition stand useful guidance material and case studies from our global work on preparing better for nuclear emergencies and the information about the Red Cross Red Crescent activities has been shared.

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IFRC exhibition booth
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IFRC exhibition booth

For the presentation material, please click the link below.
The IFRC presentation by Mr. Martin Krottmayer

IFRC's concept


IFRC and its member National societies have seen risk communication, public awareness as well as community engagement as key areas within the IFRC global nuclear emergency preparedness programme. In that context we are able to leverage our expertise and lessons we have learned from Nuclear emergencies like Chernobyl and Fukushima, but also connect through a multi-hazard approach our operational readiness from other emergencies to which National Societies prepare for and respond on a regular basis.

National societies in their role as auxiliary to their authorities, are one of the key pillars of the civil protection systems. Nuclear and radiological scenarios are part of the preparedness and response plans and several Red Cross and Red Crescent societies have also specialized CBRN teams that are trained for nuclear emergencies.

Nuclear and radiological scenarios are included in emergency planning for major public events and are also taken into account in the case of cross border emergencies. These preparations enable us to fulfil the expectations the public has towards the Red Cross Red Crescent: People around the world trust us to provide relevant and timely emergency services and information on what to do.

Information can be lifesaving aid in the same way as providing safe shelter, food or first aid. Mr. Opriesnig, Deputy Secretary General from Austrian Red Cross said in his opening remarks: “We see risk communication as part of our mandate and role as a disaster relief organisation - before, during and after an emergency. Through our volunteers, we are deeply rooted in our communities; volunteers build the basis for spreading actionable life-saving and life-enhancing information in case of emergencies.” We are convinced that the message from a trusted (and informed) source, which might be a neighbour or colleague who is a Red Cross volunteer, can have a bigger impact in some situations than guidelines delivered by a technical expert.

The Digital Archive website features the searching/browsing/downloading functions to disseminate the information about the relief activities undertaken in the past nuclear emergencies as well as the relevant moves of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.