Warnings and Risk Communication


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Such work has led to a scientific understanding of when and how such information may or may not lead to self-protective behaviors. For example, the warnings provided by the audible signals from smoke detectors have been effective in dramatically reducing injury and fatality in home fires. Other warnings have not been found to be so effective.

Printed labels used in some vehicles to warn about special handling characteristics were not effective in reducing rollover injury rates compared with vehicles without the warnings. Other notable research findings demonstrate that the average person is not able to estimate their own and others likelihood to comply with specific warnings. People consistently overestimated these rates compared to studies of actual compliance with the warnings.

Our own studies and review of the warnings literature have shown that factors related to the state of the individual e. Development of Safety Information Human factors consultants at Exponent provide technical assistance in the development of safety information for products, environments, and processes. Effectiveness of Safety Information Human behavioral response to safety information is an active area of investigation by consultants in the Human Factors practice.

Related Practices Human Factors. Child Safety. Human Factors in Aviation. Human Factors in Product Design. Human Factors in Transportation Accidents. Product Development Studies.

Related Practices

Joseph B. Sala, Ph. Human Factors.

David M. Cades, Ph. Erin M. Harley, Ph. David A. Krauss, Ph. Robert Rauschenberger, Ph. Emily Skow, Ph. Christine T. Wood, Ph.


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Douglas E. Young, Ph. Motivated by the need for confidence in urban flood models, and the wide variety of models available to users, this article reviews progress in urban flood model development over three eras: 1 the era of theory, when the foundation of urban flood models was established using fluid mechanics principles and considerable attention focused on development of computational methods for solving the one- and two-dimensional equations governing flood flows; 2 the era of data , which took form in the s, and has motivated a reexamination of urban flood model design in response to the transformation from a data-poor to a data-rich modeling environment; and 3 the era of disaster risk reduction, whereby modeling tools are put in the hands of communities facing flood risk and are used to codevelop flood risk knowledge and transform knowledge to action.

The article aims to inform decision makers and policy makers regarding the match between model selection and decision points, to orient the engineering community to the varied decision-making and policy needs that arise in the context of DRR activities, to highlight the opportunities and pitfalls associated with alternative urban flood modeling techniques, and to frame areas for future research. Populations that are rendered socially invisible by their relegation to realms that are excluded—either physically or experientially—from the rest of society tend to similarly be left out of community disaster planning, often with dire consequences.

Older adults, persons with disabilities, linguistic minorities, and other socially marginalized groups face amplified risks that translate into disproportionately negative outcomes when disasters strike. Moreover, these disparities are often reproduced in the aftermath of disasters, further reinforcing preexisting inequities. The access and functional needs perspective has been promoted within the emergency management field as a practical and inclusive means of accommodating a range of functional capacities in disaster planning. This framework calls for operationalizing needs into specific mechanisms of functional support that can be applied at each stage of the disaster lifecycle.

Additionally, experts have emphasized the need to engage advocacy groups, organizations that routinely serve socially marginalized populations, and persons with activity limitations themselves to identify support needs. Incorporating these diverse entities into the planning process can help to build stronger, more resilient communities. Media have always played an important role in times of emergency and disaster. Undersea cables, international news agencies, the press, radio and television, and, most recently, digital and mobile technologies—all have played myriad and complex roles in supporting emergency response and notification, and in helping constitute a shared experience that can be important to social mobilization and community formation.

The geographical location of disasters and the identities of victims, the increasingly visual nature of disaster events, and the ubiquitous nature of media in our lives, all shape and influence which kinds of emergencies attract global media and public attention, and how we come to understand them. Globalization has compressed time and space such that a whole range of disasters—from natural events cyclones, earthquakes, and hurricanes to industrial accidents and terrorist attacks—appear on our television and mobile screens with almost daily frequency.

There is nothing inherent about these events that give them meaning—they occur in a real, material world; but for many of us, our experience of these events is shaped and determined in large part by our interactions with media industries, institutions, and technologies. Public participation in environmental management, and more specifically in hazard mitigation planning, has received much attention from scholars and practitioners. A shift in perspective now sees the public as a fundamental player in decision making rather than simply as the final recipient of a policy decision.

Including the public in hazard mitigation planning brings widespread benefits. First, communities gain awareness of the risks they live with, and thus, this is an opportunity to empower communities and improve their resilience. Second, supported by a collaborative participation process, emergency managers and planners can achieve the ultimate goal of strong mitigation plans.

Although public participation is highly desired as an instrument to improve hazard mitigation planning, appropriate participation techniques are context dependent and some trade-offs exist in the process design such as between representativeness and consensus building. Designing participation processes requires careful planning and an all-around consideration of the representativeness of stakeholders, timing, objectives, knowledge, and ultimately desired goals to achieve.

Assessing participation also requires more consistent methods to facilitate policy learning from diverse experiences. New decision-support tools may be necessary to gain widespread participation from laypersons lacking technical knowledge of hazards and risks. The second priority of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction — stresses that, to efficiently manage risk posed by natural hazards, disaster risk governance should be strengthened for all phases of the disaster cycle.

Disaster management should be based on adequate strategies and plans, guidance, and inter-sector coordination and communication, as well as the participation and inclusion of all relevant stakeholders—including the general public. Natural hazards that occur with limited-notice or no-notice LNN challenge these efforts. Different types of natural hazards present different challenges to societies in the Global North and the Global South in terms of detection, monitoring, and early warning and then response and recovery.

For example, some natural hazards occur suddenly with little or no warning e. Natural hazards such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and floods may unfold at a pace that affords decision-makers and emergency managers enough time to affect warnings and to undertake preparedness and mitigative activities.

Warnings and Risk Communication

Others do not. Detection and monitoring technologies e. However, their reliability and effectiveness vary with the phenomenon and its location. For example, tsunamis generated by submarine landslides occur without notice, generally rendering tsunami-warning systems inadequate. Where warnings are unreliable or mis-timed, there are serious implications for risk governance processes and practices.

Effective risk and warning communication during natural hazards | Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC

To assist in the management of LNN events, we suggest emphasis should be given to the preparedness and mitigation phases of the disaster cycle, and in particular, to efforts to engage and educate the public. Risk and vulnerability assessment is also of paramount importance. The identification of especially vulnerable groups, appropriate land use planning, and the introduction and enforcement of building codes and reinforcement regulations, can all help to reduce casualties and damage to the built environment caused by unexpected events.

Moreover, emergency plans have to adapt accordingly as they may differ from the evacuation plans for events with a longer lead-time.

Risk transfer mechanisms, such as insurance, and public-private partnerships should be strengthened, and redevelopment should consider relocation and reinforcement of new buildings. Finally, participation by relevant stakeholders is a key concept for the management of LNN events as it is also a central component for efficient risk governance.

All relevant stakeholders should be identified and included in decisions and their implementation, supported by good communication before, during, and after natural hazard events.

Warnings and Risk Communication
Warnings and Risk Communication
Warnings and Risk Communication
Warnings and Risk Communication
Warnings and Risk Communication
Warnings and Risk Communication

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