Research leader

Vivienne Tippett
Prof Vivienne Tippett Research Leader

Research team

Dominique Greer
Dr Dominique Greer Research Team
A/Prof Amisha Mehta
A/Prof Amisha Mehta Research Team
Prof Bill Duncan Research Team
Sharon Christensen Research Team
A/Prof Amanda Stickley Research Team
Dr Paula Dootson
Dr Paula Dootson Research Team
Jacinta Buchbach
Dr Jacinta Buchbach Research Team
Melanie Baker-Jones
Dr Melanie Baker-Jones Research Team

End User representatives

Amanda Leck End-User
Ivan West End-User
Joe Murphy End-User
Faruk Yay End-User
Shoni Maguire End-User
Sandra Barber
Sandra Barber End-User
Gwynne Brennan
Gwynne Brennan End-User
Fiona Dunstan
Fiona Dunstan End-User
Suellen Flint
Suellen Flint End-User
Hannah Tagore End-User
Bren McGurk End-User
Elliott Simmons
Elliott Simmons End-User
Marc Unsworth End-User
Heather Lakin End-User
Phil Nickerson End-User
Iain McKenzie
Iain McKenzie End-User
Nicola Moore End-User
Barry Gray End-User
Trent Curtin End-User
Philip Lindsay End-User
Andrew Richards
Andrew Richards End-User
Anthony Clark
Anthony Clark End-User
Mark Spain End-User
Michelle Coombe End-User
Graeme Wynwood End-User
Nicole Ely End-User
Simon Goodwin End-User
Mhairi Bradley End-User
Shane Batt End-User
Jacob Riley End-User
Neil Payn End-User
Tamsin Achilles End-User

With the multitude of warnings issued when an emergency hits, how can emergency services ensure their critical safety advice is heard and acted upon, rather than dismissed as noise? This project is helping emergency services warn communities by actively testing the wording and structure of warning messages to better understand how messages are understood and translated into direct action. The team is supporting broader initiatives in the communications and warnings space, not just for individual organisations, but also at the national level by providing reviews and assisting with the development of evidence-based warning doctrine.

The researcher team is collaborating closely with the emergency management sector, with the Inspector-General Emergency Management Queensland, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Emergency Management Victoria, Victoria State Emergency Service, Country Fire Authority, New South Wales State Emergency Service, Country Fire Service, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology all requesting reviews of their warning information.

A key component of the study was undertaking ten focus groups and 77 experiments of 3,615 Australians to examine the structure of emergency warnings. The testing provided very clear directions as to the order in which information should be presented and the nature of that information. The research findings have been shared with end-users through AFAC committees, invited presentations, private meetings, conferences, and translated into practice via audits of agency messages.

This research is providing valuable insights that will make a difference, and local councils are also benefiting. The Bundaberg Regional Council is looking at the frequency of their warnings, the wording of the information they disseminate during an emergency, along with the delivery methods. The council is also considering how to involve the community in future warning development and identifying how local citizens would best receive warnings that are practicable and timely.

SEQwater are also benefiting from the science, and have sought input from the project team on how to improve their messaging about releasing water from dam’s during a flood, with a focus on achieving proactive action by the community.

Highlighting the wide-reaching implications of this research, ABC local radio in Wide Bay Queensland are also engaged with the research team, looking at ways they can improve their emergency broadcasting.

On the social media front, the project team completed a social media pilot study on Twitter, covering decision-making and risk communication, and the current approach for official messages during response and recovery of natural disaster. This involved analysing around 50,000 tweets generated during Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February 2015.

The next stage of the project will continue developing templates for emergency warning messages, focusing on how the inputs into the pre-decisional process change environmental cues, social cues, information sources, channel access and preference, warning messages and how receiver characteristics inform protective action during the response and early recovery phases of natural hazards. 

Building resilient communities: Creating effective multi-channel communication during disaster response and recovery
25 Aug 2014
To examine evidence-based strategies that motivate appropriate action and increase informed decision-making...
Legal implications of utilising social media for communication during a disaster: An analysis by Responder Group
25 Aug 2014
Social media plays an increasing role as a tool for: information dissemination, situational awareness and co-...
Building Resilient Communities: Creating Effective Multi-Channel Communication During Disaster Response and Recovery
18 Aug 2015
Our aim is to examine evidence-based strategies to motivate appropriate action and increase informed decision...
Vivienne Tippett Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
Testing the elements of optimal emergency warnings: Some insights from 10 focus groups and 77 experiments of...
Building resilient communities: creating effective multi-channel communication during disaster response and recovery
29 Jun 2017
The aim of this project is to examine evidence-based strategies that motivate appropriate action and increase...