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O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 1 Citizen Information Needs In Chemical Incidents John H. Sorensen Distinguished R&D Staff.

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Presentation on theme: "O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 1 Citizen Information Needs In Chemical Incidents John H. Sorensen Distinguished R&D Staff."— Presentation transcript:

1 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 1 Citizen Information Needs In Chemical Incidents John H. Sorensen Distinguished R&D Staff

2 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 2 Warning Response Research  Started in the 1950’s  Driven by the shadow of nuclear war  If we sound the sirens, what will people do?  Series of studies - tornado, hurricane, flood, explosion, air raid sirens, alien invasions  Research expanded in 70’s and 80’s - volcano, chemical, nuclear, tsunami, earthquake  Research funding dies off in the mid-90s

3 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 3 Warning/Risk Communication  Warning America: A State and Local Planning Guide  Are You Ready - CERT Preparedness Guide  Assessment of Research on Human Response to Warnings  Handbook on Disaster Research

4 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 4 Five Key Elements of a WS  Preparedness and education  Risk identification and classification  Alert  Notification  Feedback, monitoring, and evaluation

5 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 5 Old Persuasive Communication Model Source Message Channel ReceiverConfirmRespond

6 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 6 New Communication Model Communicator Friend Coworker Partner CNN TV Internet Cell Phone Pager Hot Line Talk Radio Mayor Federal Government Reverse 911 NWR

7 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 7 Differences  One way flow  Single official source  Limited channels  Attentive audience  Control information  Conversations  Multiple sources  Expanding channels  Occupied audience  Manage information Old New

8 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 8 Increasingly Difficult To Get People’s Attention  Increasing social isolation  Increasing cultural and ethnic diversity  Aging population  Inundation of information  Telemarketers  Infomercials  Denial of risk  Night-time issues

9 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 9 Factors Working For and Against  For  Visual and other cues  Family and network  Female  Younger  Majority  High SES  Non-fatalistic  Against  No cues  Living alone and isolated  Male  Elderly  Minority  Low SES  Fatalistic

10 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 10 What Can You Do to Increase Response?  Manipulate content of warning messages  Manipulate the style of warning messages  Improve the message format  Manipulate the warning source  Use multiple channels for dissemination  Issue frequent detailed messages  Develop an intensive and ongoing public education program

11 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 11 Message Contents  A concise description of the hazard and impacts  The current and predicted location of the impacts (and location of no impacts)  What specific actions to take  When to take those actions  Sources of information

12 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 12 Message Style  Clear: Worded in a manner that people understand  Specific: Contains precise information  Accurate: Even minor errors may cause problems  Certain: Is authoritative and confident  Consistent: Explains basis for change in information Farragut, TN Train Derailment

13 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 13 Use of Graphics © 1999 Baron Services, Inc. Common PracticeUncommon Practice

14 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 14 Warning Myths  People panic when warned about an impending hazard  People will be confused if you give them too much information (KISS)  Warnings should be given by a single spokesperson  Cry wolf syndrome  People remember different threat indicators  People will automatically follow instructions in a warning

15 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 15 Panic  People panic when warned about a hazard  “We didn’t issue a warning because we did not want to scare the public and cause them to panic”  Panic has never occurred in response to a natural or technological disaster warning  Panic does occur in some emergencies - clear sign of threat, a narrow window of escape, not everyone will escape

16 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 16 Providing Information  People will be confused if you give them too much information (KISS)  Not selling them toothpaste  People are information starved  People want detailed information  People want to hear it often  People turn to other sources if they perceive they are not getting enough information  CNN viewers increase by 5-10x during a disaster

17 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 17 Single Spokesperson  Warnings should be given by a single spokesperson  There is no one single public  There is not one person who is credible to all publics  Need mix: officials, ARC, scientists, doctors  Need multiple means of dissemination

18 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 18 False Alarms  Cry wolf  It’s a fable and does not occur except in the basement of psychology buildings  People will respond to warnings even if they have had false alarms  Non-response is largely shaped by perceived risk  Exception: people will ignore sirens if they go off frequently and for no reason

19 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 19 Warning Indicators  People remember different threat indicators  People rarely remember what different siren signals such as wails, whoops, alternating tones, chiming tones or steady tones mean  People do not distinguish between advisories, watches, and warnings  Exception: when it becomes part of a culture (e.g. hurricane, workplace

20 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 20 People will automatically follow instructions in a warning  If at odds with other information  If not viewed as protective  If it does not make sense  If it is too expensive

21 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 21 WTC Evacuation

22 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 22 Issues for Chemical Event Warnings  Rapid Onset  Need Rapid Warning  High Uncertainty  Shelter or Evacuate  Night-time Events Chlorine Storage Facility, Atlanta, GA

23 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 23 West Helena Accident Description of Survey Data Regarding The Chemical Repackaging Plant Accident, West Helena, Arkansas, Vogt, B. and J. Sorensen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ORNL/TM-13722, 1999.

24 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 24 West Helena, AR Incident  Smoking package of Azinphos-methyl  Firefighters respond at 1:10 p.m.  1:30 p.m. explosion occurs - killing 3 firefighters, injuring 17 other  Community warning issued  Residents in 2 mi. zone told to evacuate  Residents between 2-3 mi. told to shelter  Residents allowed to return 10:00 p.m.

25 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 25 Source of First Warning  36% by officials (police, fire, emergency services, sheriff)  25.6% by neighbor, friend, co-worker  20.8% by family member or relative  4.9% by media (television or radio)  9.6% (of 131 responses) received more than one warning

26 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 26 Timing of Warning Receipt 15 min. 100% Helena

27 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 27 Protective Action Compliance in West Helena Event Source: Vogt and Sorensen, 1999

28 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 28

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31 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 31 Estimated Night-Time Warning Rates (15 min)

32 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 32 No Research On Effectiveness of New Technologies In Emergencies  Reverse 911  Tone Alert Radio  Cell Phones  IP Devices - , PDA, etc  Devices for Disability Impaired

33 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 33 Observations  US lacks a national warning strategy  Community warning systems are deficient  fragmented, not interoperable, lack management  Warning processes have fundamentally changed in the US  technology, social process, recent events  New warning response research is necessary  Technology is important but is only part of the solution

34 O AK R IDGE N ATIONAL L ABORATORY U. S. D EPARTMENT OF E NERGY 34 Contact Information John Sorensen


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