Jeannette Sutton, PhD. Disaster & Risk Communication
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Jeannette Sutton, PhD, specializes in disaster and risk, with a primary focus on online informal communications, and public alerts and warnings disseminated via terse messaging channels. Much of her research investigates the evolving role of information and communication technology, including social media and mobile devices, for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
Dr. Sutton has held numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as NOAA, USGS, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Naval Research.
Dr. Sutton's research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society; Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management; Weather, Climate and Society; Information, Communication, and Society; and Health Communication. She is also a current member of the Advisory Board for the National Construction Safety Team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Jeannette holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and completed her postdoctoral training at the Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.
She currently works as an Associate Professor at the University at Albany, in New York where she directs the Emergency and Risk Communication Message Testing Lab.
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Ember Alerts: Assessing Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Messages in Wildfires Using the Warning Response Model.
Authors: Kuligowski, Waugh, Sutton, and Cova.
The first of our papers resulting from research funded by FEMA (Sutton, PI) to investigate and build a Message Design Dashboard... See "Current Projects" for more information.
Ember Alerts, accpeted for publication in the Natural Hazards Review, Special Collection Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Dennis Mileti, examines the historical use of WEA for wildfire events. We code and analyze messages from the IPAWS-WEA repository to identify how alerting practices have changed over time, the frequency of "complete" messages sent, and the use of language to trigger evacuation.
Consistency is a hallmark of warning messages and the use of inconsistent language from one jurisdiction to another can cause confusion and delay protective action. At least 5 different strategies are currently in place across the country to alert people to prepare for or act upon a wildfire warning. The use of inconsistent language could prove dangerous for those at risk, especially if there is no public education campaign to disentangle the technological jargon in place to inform, alert, and order people to take action.
We also investigate the use of evacuation zones, inclusion of URLs, and other features that could increase message completeness and improve response intention.
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