Crisis communication during veldfires – A study of the communication between the different
Abstract: Veldfires occur as seasonal events in South Africa. During veldfires, the relationship between the fire actors and the affected population is important to the crisis communication. In the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality there are primarily three fire actors: the fire brigade, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) and Working on Fire (WoF). The aim of the study is to explore the communication between the different stakeholders during veldfires. Semi-structured interviews were performed with fire actors and farmers. The interviews were transcribed, coded and categorized according to the research questions. The results indicate that the communication performed by the FPA adheres to the needs of the affected population while the communication performed by fire brigade does not meet the needs. The communication within the FPA is believed to be successful due to the fact that it is performed as dialogical two-way communication. The communication between the different stakeholders is affected negatively by the stakeholders’ preferences of communicating in different languages. Already established networks, such as the one created by the FPA, have proven to be highly beneficial when veldfires occur. The study focuses on the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality but the results may be beneficial to stakeholders in other locations as well.
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