Community Warning Systems
: Factors influencing citizen decision-making

  • Stephen Guillot Jr.

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The ability to alert/warn all segments of a community regarding the potential of severe weather is essential for the safety and well-being of those affected. Such alerts/warnings must be tailored to accommodate all facets of the diverse population within communities. Essential to this is the construction and
    conveyance of a clear, concise message that identifies and encourages adequate, appropriate protective actions to be taken. This can be accomplished through the concerted efforts of communities to improve levels of preparedness with public education and outreach programmes, via collaboration of broadcast media, broadcast meteorologists and emergency management.

    Electronic web-based surveys were made available to the general public, to broadcast media and to emergency management personnel to collect quantitative data related to severe weather warning systems information.

    Qualitative data was obtained through the convening of six focus groups (three general public groups, one broadcast media group, one meteorology group and one emergency management group).
    The key results of this research indicated the need for: a broader community outreach and education programme related to severe weather; a comprehensive severe weather exercise programme; improvements in the NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System (EAS); standardized back-up generators for
    broadcast radio; enhancement of the existing power grid; along with the need for increased capabilities of broadcast media and emergency management to alert and communicate with the non-English speaking and hard-of-hearing communities.

    In conclusion, this research indicated a continuing need for community education related to severe weather. In addition, there is also a need for standardization of initial disaster messages, along with conformity in the display of specific graphics and colours by television meteorologists.
    Date of AwardApr 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPaul Jarvis (Supervisor)

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