Public Outreach ActivitiesAn effective Public Outreach Program is essential to the success of an ALB eradication program. An informed and supportive public will serve as the best survey tool available to the program as new ALB sights have repeatedly been identified and reported by the general public.
Public meetings should be scheduled in the impacted communities as soon as possible after ALB has been confirmed. The purpose of these meetings is to inform the public of the need and plans for an eradication and quarantine program in order to secure their support. Prior to the meeting, any specific political, social, economic, and environmental concerns of the community should be identified.
Public meeting notifications should, at a minimum, be posted in the local news media. If possible, direct mailings to the residents of the impacted community should be conducted.
The public meetings should include the following:
Public meeting sites should be centrally located within the impacted community. They should be well ventilated and have adequate seating, electrical outlets, lighting, and audio equipment.
Additional meetings for small groups with specific concerns can be scheduled after public meetings have been held. These meetings are generally attended by representatives from the cooperating agencies directly involved in the ALB eradication program. The intent of these meetings is to address the specific needs of these groups.
A toll-free telephone number will be set up to serve as an ALB hotline. The hotline number is staffed by personnel trained to answer questions from the public about the ALB eradication program. Written material is provided for anticipated common questions and details the history and protocols of the project as well as the biology of ALB. Forms will be developed locally to document complaints, threats, and sightings of ALB. Past experience has shown that three to five individuals on staggered shifts between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. can handle calls from a community of 30,000. In large metropolitan areas, additional staffing may be required to answer calls in a timely manner. When the initial high demand tapers off, staffing can be reduced. A phone answering machine will be installed to take calls after office hours.
The purpose of notification is to comply with state or local laws and provide accurate information in an understandable and non-threatening format to residents within the regulated area for ALB. Any resident who will have ALB-positive host material removed from their property will be notified in writing prior to the removal being conducted. These notices will include the ALB hotline number and the opportunity for the property owner to witness the removal of ALB-positive host material if they desire to do so.
Notification can be accomplished by direct mailing or door-to-door contact.