End User representatives
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.
To examine evidence-based strategies that motivate appropriate action and increase informed decision-making during the response and recovery phases of disasters.
Social media plays an increasing role as a tool for: information dissemination, situational awareness and co-ordinating community action.
Our aim is to examine evidence-based strategies to motivate appropriate action and increase informed decision-making during the response and recovery phases of disasters. We combine expertise in communication, consumer psychology and marketing, disaster and emergency management, and law.
Testing the elements of optimal emergency warnings: Some insights from 10 focus groups and 77 experiments of 3615 Australians
The aim of this project is to examine evidence-based strategies that motivate appropriate action and increase informed decision-making during the response and early recovery phases of natural disasters. These are the results from work conducted over 2014-2017. We will be expanding on this project during 2017-2020.
|Enhancing remote north Australian community resilience||Adj Prof Jeremy Russell-Smith||Charles Darwin University|