The Social Science for Early Warnings

We have five different types of warning to consider.

  1. Real time early warning; when the event has actually started but has yet to arrive at your location

  2. Early Warning; when the event is known that it will happen imminently

  3. Early Warning Forecast that the event will happen with consequence in the future.

  4. Reliable prediction of an imminent event without precise timings.

  5. Prediction of an event which may or may not happen.

Why do we categorize  warnings?

  • We categorize early warnings so that we can identify, prioritize and initiate or activate the Urgency that either society or administrations or critical infrastructure needs to receive and act upon the early warning.

  • It’s dependant on the time scales of the event happening & down to the urgency in which a sector within society must react either to mitigate, minimize, prepare for or to avoid the event

What do we mean by the ‘social science’ of early warning?

I expect you have heard of ‘crowd dynamics’ within a sporting area stadium or in a busy train station……… but now think about a 5million person City being panicked into action not knowing where to go, what to do, how to do it…………………

We have considerable work to do in conjunction with setting up the science and hardware to enable a comprehensive early warning system…… we must prepare the people, ‘the message receivers’. And this includes the ‘Administration’

The ‘social science’ of early warning is:

  • the understanding of how people react within communities;

  • how to communicate with those communities;

  • how to prepare them so that they understand how to receive an early warning;

  • and how to communicate enough information so that they can make an intelligent decision of how to react

The New Approach

The L’Aquila experience highlighted challenges in how we use earthquake Prediction and Early Warnings information.  It is suggested that the fault lays with the fact that there has been an attempt use ‘Prediction’ as a ‘Real Time Early Warning’, generating uncertainties of scale and timings plus confused decisions and messaging by Governments and media. Consequently …

Warning Categories in detail

So let’s review in what circumstance each type of warning can be of assistance to us. They all have a critical importance if we are to build resilience into our communities and if we are to minimize not only potentially Natural Hazard Disasters but also manmade disasters from within industry or by us changing our …

Which hazards are most threatening?

So which hazards are most threatening to a population? It is either scale, surprise or extended period that creates the bigger threats to communities. The size of flood or Earthquake or Tsunami The lack of warning of the earthquake or landslide or tornado The duration of flooding or a of storm or of a drought Or …

Prioritization & Methodologies

Prioritization   This must address the lack of early warnings for the potential instant devastating events such as Earthquakes and Tsunamis and Tornados, Flash Floods, Landslides. However this does not mean that the safe build programs are omitted, withdrawn or scaled down or that DR Education is cut back and even not initiated. All approaches …

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