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

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Aisha C. Reed Haynes, George Mason University, Silver Spring, MD

Many meteorological hazards that occur 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 an adaptive response is taken. 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, 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. 

The study examines the dissemination of tornado warnings in Mississippi.  Using Geographic Information Systems, this study seeks to display television, radio, cell phone, and outdoor siren coverage areas by using viewshed analysis and other tools to locate broadcast coverage gaps in order to develop an index that identifies areas of limited to no coverage.  U.S. Census data will be used to examine demographic information in order to identify socially vulnerable populations.  Tornadoes that resulted in injuries or fatalities will be identified along with their warning polygons, if warned. Statistical analysis will then be used to determine any correlations between socially vulnerable populations and hazard casualties, respectively, within the coverage gaps.  The hypothesis is that socio-economically vulnerable citizens are more likely to reside within coverage gaps, and there are more casualties within warned areas that have coverage gaps.

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