Useful resources on social  behavioral responses to warnings and communicating warnings over social media. 

Recommendations for New Zealand agencies in writing effective short warning messages

This report provides best practice for writing short warning messages for the public to achieve a desired behavioural response. The descriptions are based on an international literature review and preliminary results from primary New Zealand research. It is focussed on warnings for regional tsunami, and with additional examples for a volcanic eruption and flood event. They will be useful for messages of up to and including 930 characters, for use in channels such as cell broadcast (known as Emergency Mobile Alerts in New Zealand), social media, emails, electronic billboards, and any other short warning messages. The advice is summarised in the form of a checklist to help agencies involved in warning the New Zealand public to quickly construct and check messages.


Designing imminent threat messages for an unfamiliar hazard

Course: This assignment is a unit activity designed for use in a skills-focused undergraduate public relations, organizational communication, or crisis communication course.


Objective: The goal of this activity is to increase students’ understanding and ability to apply message design concepts in an unfamiliar context. Students will work collaboratively to craft messages that include key message features in response to an unfamiliar threat.



A Review of Public Response to Short Message Alerts under Imminent Threat

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Technical Investigation of the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado identified that no widely accepted standards exist for emergency communications in tornado events and more specifically, policies involving the use of communication systems to alert the public in advance of tornadoes. This study is designed to develop evidence-based guidance for communities on the creation and provision of public alerts, including both alerts provided by outdoor siren (warning) systems and “short messages” sent by social media or other short message service (SMS) platforms. It is the hope that this guidance can eventually be used as a basis for standardization, through codes and standards, of the procedures and policies for outdoor siren systems and short message alerts used by communities across the United States. Standardization of emergency communication policies and procedures could occur at multiple levels, including among multiple jurisdictions, state-wide, regionally, or even nationally. This document focuses on short message alerts, specifically presenting a review of platforms, usage and public response. First, an overview is provided on the current status of short message alerts in the United States, i.e., the current short message technology available and the ways in which this technology is used in communities across the United States. Second, a review of the literature is presented on the ways in which people respond to short message alerts and the current limitations of these systems in light of these findings. This document concludes with a discussion on the key findings and recommendations from the literature on the ways in which to improve current short message alerts, based on the methods by which people receive and process these types of alerts. Following this work, a document will be developed to provide the overall evidence-based guidance for communities on the creation and provision of public alerts.



Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps. 
National Research Council of the National Academies
Jeannette Sutton, Workshop Co-Chair
 

This book presents a  summary of the Workshop on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on  Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps, held April 13 and  14, 2010, in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National  Research Council's Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings  on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Needs.
 

The workshop was structured to gather inputs and insights from social  science researchers, technologists, emergency management professionals,  and other experts knowledgeable about how the public responds to alerts  and warnings, focusing specifically on how the public responds to mobile  alerting.


Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for

Mobile Devices

This project sought to determine the optimized message contents of imminent threat wireless emergency alert (WEA) messages delivered over mobile communication devices. This report presents findings for the first WEA messages disseminated about imminent threats (i.e., first alert messages) from two research phases with U.S. adults: (1) eight experiments, seven focus groups and 50 think-out-loud interviews; and (2) a survey of an actual “real world” severe flood in Boulder, Colorado. It also integrates findings from across study methods and provides actionable guidance and considerations for optimized message contents of imminent one-hour-to impact threat alerts delivered over mobile communication devices.

Social Media and Public Disaster Warnings Presentation

Social Media and Public Disaster Warnings by Dennis Mileti and Jeannette Sutton
This presentation was given by Dr. Dennis Mileti at the Ogma Workshop,  June 30, 2009 and covers five topics relevant to social media and public  disaster warnings: 


  • The design of official warnings 
  • Myths 
  • Alerting the public 
  • Public warning messages 
  • Public response processes 

First Responder Working Group Paper

Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for Mobile Devices by Hamilton Bean, Brooke Liu, Stephanie Madden, Dennis Mileti, Jeannette Sutton, Michele Wood
 

This project sought to determine the optimized message contents of imminent threat wireless emergency alert (WEA) messages delivered over mobile communication devices. This report presents findings for the first WEA messages disseminated  about imminent  threats (i.e., first alert messages) from  two research  phases with  U.S. adults: (1) eight experiments, seven focus groups and 50 think-out-loud interviews; and (2) a survey  of an actual “real world” severe flood in Boulder, Colorado. It also integrates findings from across study methods and provides actionable guidance and considerations for optimized message contents of imminent one-hour-to-impact threat alerts delivered over mobile communication devices.
 

Annotated Bibliographies on Warnings Research

Research on People in Community Disasters
 

This bibliography contains more than 350 annotated references to  published documents that address the communication of hazards-related  information to the public. Each reference is followed by a brief summary  describing the main findings from the report, article, chapter, or  book. Documents that address disaster preparedness and response are  included, with a focus on hazards warnings and disaster evacuations.  Studies include reference to both natural and technological hazards.
 

Research on Occupants in Building Disasters
 

This bibliography contains over 200 references to published documents  that address the following topics related to building fires: 1) occupant  training and education; 2) behavioral modeling of occupant evacuation  from building fires; 3) occupant behavioral response to information,  warnings, and cues in building fires; and 4) computer models used to  simulate occupant evacuation from building fires. (2006)

Ogma Presentation Handout

Presentation handout from the Ogma Workshop on Web 2.0 and Homeland Security.