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Title: Communication of emergency public warnings: A social science perspective and state-of-the-art assessment

More than 200 studies of warning systems and warning response were reviewed for this social science perspective and state-of-the-art assessment of communication of emergency public warnings. The major findings are as follows. First, variations in the nature and content of warnings have a large impact on whether or not the public heeds the warning. Relevant factors include the warning source; warning channel; the consistency, credibility, accuracy, and understandability of the message; and the warning frequency. Second, characteristics of the population receiving the warning affect warning response. These include social characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and age, social setting characteristics such as stage of life or family context, psychological characteristics such as fatalism or risk perception, and knowledge characteristics such as experience or training. Third, many current myths about public response to emergency warning are at odds with knowledge derived from field investigations. Some of these myths include the keep it simple'' notion, the cry wolf'' syndrome, public panic and hysteria, and those concerning public willingness to respond to warnings. Finally, different methods of warning the public are not equally effective at providing an alert and notification in different physical and social settings. Most systems can provide a warning given three more » or more hours of available warning time. Special systems such as tone-alert radios are needed to provide rapid warning. 235 refs., 8 figs., 2 tabs. « less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
6137387
Report Number(s):
ORNL-6609
ON: DE91004981
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-84OR21400
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (USA)
Sponsoring Org:
FEMA
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; EMERGENCY PLANS; COMMUNICATIONS; MANAGEMENT; ALARM SYSTEMS; EARTHQUAKES; FLOODS; HAZARDOUS MATERIALS; HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SPILLS; HURRICANES; INFORMATION DISSEMINATION; INFORMATION NEEDS; LANDSLIDES; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; PLANNING; PUBLIC HEALTH; PUBLIC INFORMATION; RADIO EQUIPMENT; SEISMIC WAVES; SIGNALS; TELEPHONES; TELEVISION; TORNADOES; TRANSPORTATION SECTOR; VOLCANOES; WATER WAVES; WEATHER; DISASTERS; ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT; EQUIPMENT; EXPLOSIONS; GRAVITY WAVES; INFORMATION; MATERIALS; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; POWER PLANTS; SEISMIC EVENTS; STORMS; THERMAL POWER PLANTS; WIND 990300* -- Information Handling; 290300 -- Energy Planning & Policy-- Environment, Health, & Safety