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Risk Communication on mobile devices: Accessibility and behavioral response to warnings

Authors: DeeDee Bennett*, SUNY - Albany
Topics: Communication, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Disabilities
Keywords: emergency communications, human behavior, mobile devices, accessibility, WEA
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Disaster warnings are often disseminated to the public to alert them to preparedness and response activities relative to an ongoing or imminent threat. Given the ubiquity of mobile wireless devices, WEAs (Wireless Emergency Alerts) are often the most ideal to improve timely receipt of emergency messaging. This presentation discusses the connection between human behavior and alerts sent to mobile wireless devices and highlights the factors impacting the utility of emergency messaging on these devices. Focused WEAs, the presenters outline the strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and threats (SWOT) to eliciting protective action responses. The content is based on surveys and interviews of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved alert authorities and surveys of populations-at-risk who receive WEAs. The combination of these studies allowed for the examination of WEAs from two sides – disseminators (e.g. Emergency Management Agencies) and receivers (e.g. individuals located in or near the immediate threat). This comprehensive approach addresses government policy and practices; public awareness; and availability and accessibility of alerts to specific populations. The presentation is based on a recent publication, Text-to-action: Understanding the interaction between the accessibility of wireless emergency alerts and behavioral response.

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