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Promoting the adoption of protective measures during heatwaves

  • Report
  • 5th Mar 2024

This project was conducted in collaboration with Santé Publique France in 2023.

Climate change has led to, among other things, increasingly frequent heat waves. In anticipation of these heatwave episodes, Santé Publique France (SPF) wanted to implement a communication campaign on behaviours to adopt during periods of intense heat, complementary to their emergency plan.

In partnership with SPF, we conducted an online experiment aiming to determine the best approach to implement this communication campaign and understand its potential impact. In total, we collected responses from approximately 3,000 participants residing throughout France. We tested four potential messages, each adopting a different approach:

  • A message emphasising the discomfort and inconvenience resulting from non-adherence to advice
  • A message highlighting the comfort gained through the provided advice
  • A message emphasising the enjoyable aspect of learning new tips
  • A control message, highlighting health risks

This experimentation allowed us to draw several lessons:

  1. Messages focused on “comfort” generated the most interest among participants
  2. The message focused on “tips” was also well received by participants. Both types of messages are perceived as easy to understand, motivating, and relevant to the majority.
  3. However, messages emphasising the prevention of risks related to high temperatures and providing advice on how to “avoid discomfort” are perceived as less motivating.

The conclusions of this study align with other research we have conducted, particularly those related to the adoption of environmentally conscious behaviours. It seems that citizens show a degree of fatigue concerning this kind of preventive communication, emphasising the importance of carefully choosing the tone for communication campaigns.