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1 Great Lakes Rip Current Workshop for Beach Safety RIP CURRENT AWARENESS WEEK – June 5-11 2011!

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Presentation on theme: "1 Great Lakes Rip Current Workshop for Beach Safety RIP CURRENT AWARENESS WEEK – June 5-11 2011!"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Great Lakes Rip Current Workshop for Beach Safety RIP CURRENT AWARENESS WEEK – June !

2 2 Rip Current Public Awareness Why do we need public awareness? What works best? How can we understand what swimmers are thinking? Are we sending the right message?

3 3 Strategy for Rip Current Fatality Mitigation Improve Science – Data and Analysis –Part of why we are here today Improve Public Education –Apply NOAA’s Designing Education Projects Engage with Partners –Meeting in Benton Harbor in January, another in May and again in the fall Operations - Measure Performance –Can we reduce fatalities

4 4 NWS Northern Indiana has forecast and warning responsibility for 24 counties in Northern Indiana 5 counties in Southwest Lower Michigan 8 counties in Northwest Ohio Nearshore waters from Michigan City, IN to St. Joseph, MI This includes… 15,875 square miles 2.3 million people 50 miles of Lake Michigan from Michigan City, IN to St. Joseph, MI

5 5 NWS Northern Indiana Forecast Area Weather Related Fatalities

6 6 What can a study in Arizona tell us about the rip current victims here? Study in Arizona to understand reasons why people choose to cross flooded washes – most made a rational calculated decision “About 90 percent agree that signs indicate the possibility of a flood occurring in that location, the signs do not reveal whether the situation is currently dangerous." "A lot of my findings contradict some of the major thinking of people, especially that they are being impulsive or that they don't know any better or that they are overconfident," "As shown by this research, people already know that they should not drive through flooded streets. What has not been considered is the possibility that the decision to do so is not always irrational."

7 7 "Understanding how culture influences risk perception and behavior is critical for effective risk management and communication."

8 8 Public Awareness Ideas Work with the schools Work with businesses…especially tourism oriented – Demographics - most victims tend to be from out of the area (Chicago, South Bend) and male…don’t appreciate the power of the lake. Encourage speaking the same language…Rip Currents…not Rip Tides or undertow, reduces confusion. Some the NWS can do, others best done in the community.

9 9 Goals for Public Awareness Distribute brochures and handouts to help educate –Not only for rip currents but also dangerous surf Work with the Social Science community to help understand the culture and behavior of those that put themselves at risk Work with the media to increase awareness Translate these lessons learned to even more effective outreach and public awareness


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