Barry Gray

Barry Gray

Lead end user

This research examined existing and modified communication to community members who may be affected by natural hazards to derive evidence-based insights into risk and warning communication during the response phase of emergencies. Through this project, the research team developed an evidence base for the context of risk and warning messages across multiple channels and sources, constructed evidence-based warning messages that overcome ambiguity caused by conflict between warning messages and socio-environmental cues, optimised warning messages to improve community members’ readiness to act in accordance with emergency instructions, and translated research findings into practical tools tailored to the existing and emergent needs of end-users.
Over three years, the project focused on the nature of catastrophic disasters and how they are conceptualised in the Australian context; the historical frequency of compound disasters in Australia; the most appropriate practices to plan and prepare for catastrophic disasters; and how businesses and community organisations can best be incorporated into planning and preparedness arrangements for catastrophic disasters. The key finding from this research is that existing principles for disaster planning and risk reduction are not effectively implemented to develop plans that consistently inform decision making. To improve this, a key utilisation output from the research has been an emergency management capability maturity assessment tool that can be utilised by governments and organisations to better understand potential capability gaps in the context of severe-to-catastrophic disaster scenarios. Outcomes of the research were presented as evidence to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
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