From Awareness to Action: Using Risk Visualization, Behavioral Science, and Storytelling to Encourage Resilience

From Awareness to Action: Using Risk Visualization, Behavioral Science, and Storytelling to Encourage Resilience

Devon J McGhee
Resilience Action Partners/Michael Baker International
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 7
Session Type: 

Natural disasters—particularly flooding—continue to be among the costliest threats facing our nation. But too often, resilience planning for an unknown future is a tough choice for communities facing competing priorities in the here and now.

To help Americans overcome these barriers, FEMA has put greater emphasis on innovative community engagement approaches and more sophisticated risk communication, including using behavioral science, virtual reality, and effective storytelling. The purpose of these initiatives is to build belief within communities that flood risks are real and powerful, and to give communities the tools and ability to channel awareness into action. Success requires not only credible flood risk data—it also requires meeting customers where they are.

This session will allow attendees to explore firsthand FEMA’s recent initiatives to help communities understand and plan for their risk, including:

• FEMA’s virtual reality experience IMMERSED and augmented reality product Floodwalk which put users at the center of a flood crisis, allows them to assess damage, see the benefits of mitigation, and make resilient decisions.
• FEMA’s growing suite of interactive story map resources working to expand their ability to reach diverse audiences and provide online learning tools.
• FEMA and the Economist Intelligence Unit created the Flood Economics web resource highlighting the challenges and benefits of flood mitigation through 21 nationwide case studies.
• FEMA’s new video, “Worth Fighting For: Profiles in Resilience,” uses storytelling to put a face on resilience in Cape Girardeau, MO; Leon Valley, TX; and Miami Beach, FL.


Federal Perspective: The Importance of Innovation, Collaboration, and Effective Engagement in Risk Communication
Peter Herrick, Jr., Federal Emergency Management Agency
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Putting a Face on Resilience
Francie Israeli, Resilience Action Partners
Using Story Maps to Communicate Flood Risk and Encourage Mitigation
Devon McGhee, Resilience Action Partners
Dollars and Cents: Collaborating with the Economist Intelligence Unit for Flood Mitigation
Cara Spidle, Resilience Action Partners