S206 An Investigation of the Relationship between Vulnerable Populations and Hazard Casualties in Warning Dissemination Coverage Gaps

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Aisha C. Reed Haynes, George Mason University, Silver Spring, MD

Many meteorological hazards occur in the United States. Most of which can be forecast, which allows the population to be warned. The number of warnings that a person receives from different sources play a role in whether or not an adaptive response is taken. People obtain weather forecasts from a number of sources, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters at storm centers and local weather forecast offices, state/local emergency managers, and news media. Weather hazard information is communicated via a number of technologies in a variety of ways. The technologies that offer the most promise for reaching all populations are television, radio (AM/FM/weather), telephone and/or cell phones, the internet, and outdoor sirens/loudspeakers. Whereas these technologies are beneficial in warning the populace, there are several limitations that can hinder a person from getting a warning from these sources. Additionally, people with less accessibility to the latest technologies tend to also be among those most vulnerable to the effects of natural hazards. Using Geographic Information Systems, this study seeks to display areas in which the people may be technologically vulnerable to receiving hazard warnings by using viewshed analysis and other tools to display broadcast coverage gaps; and, statistical analysis to determine any correlations between socially vulnerable populations and hazard casualties, respectively, and coverage gaps. The hypothesis is that socio-economically vulnerable citizens are more likely to reside within coverage gaps and that there are more casualties within warning areas that have coverage gaps. Mississippi is the study area, and tornadoes are the focus because all of the above listed technologies are used to warn of this hazard.
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