4.3 Where do Knowledge Gaps Exist? Evaluating the Public's Knowledge of Tornadoes, Warnings and Protective Actions

Friday, 12 June 2015: 11:00 AM
303 (Raleigh Convention Center)
Marita A. O'Brien, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH; and E. V. Schultz
Manuscript (107.0 kB)

Understanding the prior knowledge about tornadoes and protective actions among the public can facilitate accurate warning communications. Using Bostrom, Fischhoff, & Morgan's (1992) systematic method for evaluating knowledge of different hazards, we conducted structured interviews with 30 younger (ages 18-43) and 30 older (ages 60-75) residents of a tornado-prone community who generally had low to moderate interest in training about severe weather. Individual responses such as definitions of terms used in warning communications and effective protective actions in different situations were scored for accuracy and compiled into an overall tornado knowledge score. Both individual and overall scores were then analyzed for associations with the individual's experience with tornadoes and confidence in their knowledge. This presentation will discuss the findings and suggest approaches to reducing knowledge gaps that can influence situation awareness and effective decision-making.
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