What’s in a Word? Results from a Survey Gauging the Degree to Which “Watches,” “Warnings,” and “Advisories” Are Institutionalized into Organizational Decision-Making
By Linda Girardi, Dr. Gina Eosco, Jennifer Sprague-Hilderbrand, Eli Jacks, Michael Bilder
NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) is leading the Hazard Simplification Project to evaluate the nation’s watch, warning, and advisory (WWA) program. An important step in the project is gathering feedback from organizations that use hazardous weather warning information to discern the degree to which the WWA terms or products are embedded in their decision-making. This information is being used to inform the consideration of potential changes to the present WWA system.
Working under contract with the NWS, Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) designed a Web-based survey to gauge the level of institutionalization of WWA terms and products in different industry sectors as the NWS contemplates potential improvements to the WWA system. ERG distributed the survey to individuals and organizations that use or have knowledge of how NWS weather information is used within their organizations to make decisions, develop laws or policies, create standard operating procedures, or conduct other tasks. Respondents included representatives from emergency management agencies (at the local, state, and federal levels), departments of transportation, utilities, insurance companies, schools and universities, and many more.
The survey was designed to not only discern whether and how WWA products or terms are institutionalized in organizations’ decision-making, but also the potential impacts that any change to the WWA present system would have on these organizations. The survey builds on and furthers earlier social science research that involved interviews and focus groups with emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, NWS Weather Forecast Office staff, and the public. The key findings from the survey will be presented and discussed.