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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Including hazard impact information increases message understanding

Sometimes, threats and hazards may seem self-explanatory; other times, a hazard impact statement will help the receiver to understand why they are being asked to take or restrict specific actions. In this case, coming into contact with power lines can result in injury or death, but people out on the roads also restricts the ability of cleanup crews to do their work

The editors desk made a few tweaks to this message. FIRST, we eliminated the use of ALL CAPS from the entire message and selected the hazard and key guidance words to call attention to. NEXT, we added the name of the message source and time of initial impact. We ALSO offered a statement about the hazard impact - contact with power lines can cause INJURY or DEATH - and told people not to touch them. Because people may want more information than just a phone number for where to report a power outage, WE SUGGEST including a webpage (it could go to social media) for updates. Also, with the addition of "until further notice" message writers will need to remember to send a second "all clear message" or provide updates in some other form.

Take a look again at the paragraph that you just read... what stands out to you in that text? You can let your words work for you when you call attention to the right content.


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