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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

A clear & concise public health advisory

Issued 8/25/2023 (click image to enlarge)

Public health advisories, while not always an "imminent threat," requiring urgent action from message receivers, will frequently fall into the category of "WEA-ble" due to the potential for impact on community populations. In this case, it appears that flowing water in Wayne County, MI has been contaminated. Recall that Flint, MI in neighboring Genesee County experienced significant water pollution due to conditions with lead pipes just a few years back, which could affect public perceptions of organizational trustworthiness and increase the need for clear instructing information. Here, we have a message that clearly states the message source, the hazard, the guidance, and location. It also provides additional tips about pets. The writers use ALL CAPS to indicate the significant content that receivers need to pay attention to. The message is 316 characters long, leaving just enough space to provide a link to additional information or to offer content about the expected timing of the incident. Wayne County is fairly large and include many potential waterways, so it would also be useful to give a sense of where the runoff and overflows originated. Because this incident did not affect drinking water in homes, we can safely assume that a follow-up cancellation or all-clear message would not be warranted. Instead, sharing updates through other media would be useful for concluding the event.


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