Geographic Differences in Emergency Management Decision-Making: A Case Study of Severe Weather in the Midwest

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Holly B. Lussenden, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

While tornadoes can occur virtually anywhere, response--and the processes that lead to it--can vary based on location. It is the task of an emergency manager (EM) to inform the public about the threat of impending weather. However, the completion of that task differs with each emergency manager as various situational and cognitive factors are geographically dependent, such as experience and training. A survey taken by emergency support function personnel within five National Weather Service weather forecast office locations is analyzed in conjunction with historical county tornado data to investigate the influences of various factors present while EMs make decisions. Perceptions of warning effectiveness, warning message priorities, and past tornadic activity are specifically evaluated for the purpose of discovering the communication needs EMs have in various locations. This will advance our knowledge of EM decision making enabling their tasks to be more effective and, in turn, be able to better protect the public during severe weather.