Public Panic

In the modern world, information can spread unbelievably fast. 

This is especially true on social media. Sometimes, if the information being spread seems scary or dangerous, it can cause public panic. Keep in mind that not all information during an emergency or public panic situation is 100% accurate. 

Stay calm and follow these tips. 

Processing Info Under Stress

In a publication developed by the CDC titled CERC – Psychology of a Crisis, the document states that people process information in 4 different ways in a crisis. 

Although difficult, try to avoid some of these pitfalls.

  • We oversimplify messages
    • People will not fully hear or understand information due to the inability to juggle multiple facts during a crisis. 
  • We block out new information and hold on to our current beliefs
    • In a crisis, we may need to take actions that conflicts with our comfort zone and/or beliefs. 
  • We look for additional information and opinions
    • People want to be told what to do in a crisis. People will wait to be told to act before they do anything, sometimes losing vital moments. 
  • We believe the first message we see
    • Even as a situation develops and more accurate information is disseminated, we often compare it to the original message.

What You Can Do

Prepare before an incident

  • Ensure you are enrolled in Flash ALERTS and your contact info is current
  • Understand that many posts on social media can be false or taken out of context
  • If you see or hear something suspicious, alert law enforcement
  • Always have a plan to respond to any emergency and refer to the other emergency guides

Respond during the incident

  • Try to remain calm and don't feed into the public panic
  • KSU must vet information before releasing a notification, and this can take time
  • If you have specific information about the incident, inform law enforcement

Recover after the incident

  • Expect updates from KSU