Evolution of Culture among Warning System Organizations

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 8:30 AM
Room C107 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Danielle Nagele, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD

Thousands of natural hazards affect the United States each year making obvious the need for an effective warning system with the ability to reduce losses. A “warning system” is typically thought of as the actors, resources, and processes involved in detection, prediction, and communication of impending hazards. Understanding the way this system works and the interactions between each component is imperative in determining what is effective and what needs to be improved. This research explores a conceptual model of the warning system in order to extend our understanding of the organizations and tasks involved. In addition, this analysis examines the organizational variations that can arise among warning systems in different regions. It is proposed that repetitive impacts from the same hazard can lead to changes in communication structure, actor roles, and use of resources.

This research was conducted using a multiple case study design where organizations located within National Weather Service Warning Forecast Office regions were interviewed. Two of the cases represent areas in which the organizations face repetitive impacts from the same damaging hazard. While all regions experience hazards to some degree, the other two cases represent areas that do not have a particular agent impacting them on a significantly regular basis. The subjects in each case study were drawn from six types of organizations within each area. Interviews addressed tasks and activities associated with the warning system, communication within and across organizations, roles and responsibilities, and the use of resources.