Wherever possible, the pre-crisis phase should be characterized by background research of epidemiological and social data that can inform key messages should an emergency occur. Examples of such information include:
Statistics on the prevalence and geographical distribution of key household health practices (e.g., handwashing, hygiene, immunization and malnutrition)
Traditional and cultural norms that influence behaviors and health seeking practices
Media habits of the population across the country
Distribution of at-risk and hard-to-reach populations
The information can prove useful to provide reality based communication and messages at the onset of an emergency.
In areas prone to known emergencies (for example, cholera, measles, polio or natural disasters), such background information can be used during the pre-crisis phase to develop message maps that address the key protective behaviors for the expected emergency.