Public health authorities have a crucial role to play in disaster prevention. They must identify the source of danger and ensure that it is kept at a level of simple risk bringing into play every preventive measure to guarantee a minimum level of safety. Outlines the importance of impact studies – the potential catastrophic agent is identified and examined with an eye to its reliability and “intrinsic safety”. A second instrument available to public health authorities is vulnerability analysis, namely the relationship between the environment and the population. Stresses the role of education as a “social” intervention in encouraging knowledge and the adoption of a behaviour which will diminish the hazard factors and increase the protection factors.
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