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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Jan 2019

Research article | 03 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Culture matters: Factors influencing natural hazard risk preparedness – a survey of Swiss households

Elisabeth Maidl1,2, David N. Bresch3,4, and Matthias Buchecker1 Elisabeth Maidl et al.
  • 1Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 2University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Olten, Switzerland
  • 3ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Systems Science, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 4Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Building a culture of risk is an essential objective within the integrated risk management paradigm. Challenges arise both due to increasing damage from natural hazards and the complexity in interaction of different actors in risk management. In Switzerland, the Strategy for Natural Hazards Switzerland, aims to establish efficient protection of the population, natural resources and material goods. This requires that all actors are recognized and aware of their responsible role in risk management. However, previous, non-representative studies indicate that risk awareness and preparedness levels are rather low within the general population. For the first time, our nation-wide survey provides empirical data on factors that influ-ence individual risk preparedness. Multivariate analysis shows that taking responsibility for natural hazard risk prevention is not only related to personal experience and perceived probability of hazard events, but also crucially influenced by social forms of communication and integration. Therefore, we conclude that social capacity building needs to include such factors in order to render integrated risk management strategies successful.

Elisabeth Maidl et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (extended)
Status: open (extended)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Elisabeth Maidl et al.
Elisabeth Maidl et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Natural hazard risk management today aims to involve all actors possibly affected by damage. Citizens are regarded as responsible actors in risk mitigation. Practitioners therefore face the challenge of building social capacity towards such a culture of risk. Research on capacity building in Alpine countries, however, so far lacks empirical evidence on individual preparedness in the common population. This study for the first time provides insights for research and practice.
Natural hazard risk management today aims to involve all actors possibly affected by damage....