Tornado damage mitigation: What National Weather Center visitors know and why they aren't mitigating

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Kody M. Gast, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO; and J. A. Brotzge and D. LaDue

A survey was conducted of adults touring the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma during the summer of 2013 to understand what the visitors know in regards to mitigation and what factors impact mitigation behavior. Survey questions were summarized into four categories: background knowledge of tornadoes and tornado damage, knowledge of mitigation, estimation of risk, and factors impacting mitigation activities. Many visitors did not know that mitigation against tornado damage is possible and that homes can be designed or retrofitted to withstand a majority of the damage that tornadoes can cause. Among nine key terms of mitigation, only four terms were marked by more than 20% of respondents, signifying that many of the visitors did not know about mitigation. Reasons for why people are not mitigating included not knowing what to do, not perceiving too great of a risk, and the costliness of mitigation.