This policy brief provides an overview of the interaction between social media, disaster preparedness, and strategic decision-making, with a focus on Hong Kong. Recommendations on how to communicate information in ways that optimise protective action will be outlined. These include proposals for specific and understandable action-oriented warning signals channelled through a trusted source; avoiding false alarms where possible; building individual self-efficacy for disaster preparedness; and educating communities on the actions associated with each level of warning.
Early warning systems are critical to protecting populations from harm during disasters. The recent Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction highlights a need to increase the availability of and access to early warning systems as a priority target. A number of nations, including Hong Kong, have already established highly developed early warning systems. However, the changing landscape of communication technologies has created both opportunities and challenges for people as they navigate a greater number of information networks, and a higher frequency of messaging.