Resilience to Hazards

house flooded-VICSES.jpg

Flooded house Victoria
Flooded house Victoria

Project Status:

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.

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. 

This research is informing emergency warnings for a storms, fires, floods and cyclones. Photo: cksydney, Flickr
2 February, 2017
CRC research 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.
A/Prof Amisha Mehta has been awarded a PRIA Golden Target award for her research.
17 November, 2016
CRC researcher A/Prof Amisha Mehta has been nationally recognised, this week picking up a Public Relations Institute of Australia Golden Target Award for research and teaching.
13 October, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Richard Thornton presenting the Outstanding Achievement award to Prof Vivienne Tippett and Andrew Richards.
8 September, 2016
The Connecting communities and resilience project team and PhD student Billy Haworth have been recognised with CRC awards.
CFA assist flood affected residents
10 June, 2016
Research shows that a prevention-focus can drive positive change for communities if we have the courage to put communities at the start and heart of design.
Lake Mountain landscape post Black Saturday fires
15 October, 2015
What is our research about, and how will our emergency service partners benefit? Hear direct in these short videos
There were plenty of Australian and New Zealand researchers at the workshop.
29 July, 2015
I have just returned from the United States, where I represented the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and the Queensland University of Technology at the 40th annual Natural Hazards Workshop, in Broomfield, Colorado.
Photo by Brenton Edwards, CFS Promotions Unit
11 March, 2015
In December 2014 I attended the annual South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission Zone Emergency Management Symposium to discuss market research
Fire Australia cover, summer 2015
9 February, 2015
Four CRC research projects have been profiled in the latest edition of Fire Australia.
Flooded house Victoria
9 February, 2015
This newsletter has been put together by the Communications and warnings cluster to keep end‐users informed about key work across each of the projects.
23 January, 2015
As emergency management becomes increasingly all-hazard focused, community warnings and coordination between agencies becomes more vital. New research by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC will assist partner agencies across Australia and New Zealand communicate more effectively and bounce back from natural disasters.
Community risk
28 February, 2014

A team of researchers is set to find out how people assess the risks of an unfolding natural disaster and use that to decide on their response to events like cyclones and bushfires.

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 during the response and recovery phases of disasters.

Key Topics:
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-ordinating community action. 

Key Topics:
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-making during the response and recovery phases of disasters. We combine expertise in communication, consumer psychology and marketing, disaster and emergency management, and law.

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 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.

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