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At the Seismic Research Centre we recognize the important role of sound public education programmes in creating prepared communities. Effective action during an emergency can only be achieved if the public is made fully aware, in advance, of the nature of the hazard, the consequent risks and what can be done to reduce these risks.

Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes share the common feature that they happen fairly infrequently but when they do happen the consequences can be devastating. By unfortunate coincidence the mean interval between such disasters is roughly comparable with one human lifetime so that the memory of the previous event would have just about faded from public consciousness when the next one occurs. Maintaining public preparedness for geologic disasters through the long, quiescent periods presents a significant challenge.

The Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP) demonstrated that there is often a considerable gap between the perception of the level of a geologic hazard in the scientific community and the perception of that same hazard by the general public. The comparative figures for deaths caused by volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis in the Eastern Caribbean clearly indicate that geologic hazards should be taken as seriously as hurricane hazards.

Type of Event No. of deaths caused
Volcanoes > 30,000
Earthquakes Approx. 15,000
Hurricanes Approx. 15,000
Tsunamis Approx. 50

The SRC is involved in several education and outreach activities including traveling exhibitions, student and public lectures, as well as resource material production. Through our public education and outreach efforts we continue to demonstrate our commitment to increasing geologic hazards awareness across the Eastern Caribbean. Preparedness can make all the difference and public education programmes can save lives.