THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

ALERTING AMERICA: EFFECTIVE RISK COMMUNICATION

SUMMARY OF A FORUM OCTOBER 31, 2002

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

A SUMMARY TO THE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE

BY

RUXANDRA FLOROIU,

NATURAL RESEARCH COUNCIL AND

RICHARD T. SYLVES,

UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Alerting America: Effective Risk Communication - Summary of a Forum October 31, 2002 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES ALERTING AMERICA: EFFECTIVE RISK COMMUNICATION SUMMARY OF A FORUM OCTOBER 31, 2002 NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES A SUMMARY TO THE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE BY RUXANDRA FLOROIU, NATURAL RESEARCH COUNCIL AND RICHARD T. SYLVES, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Alerting America: Effective Risk Communication - Summary of a Forum October 31, 2002 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the summary were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This summary is available on the internet from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet <http://www.nap.edu>. This report is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (EMW-2002-SA-0175); Institute for Business and Home Safety; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (W-24775); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Task order 50-DGNA-1-90024); Pacific Gas & Electric; and US Environmental Protection Agency (X-82953601-0). The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of these agencies or any of their subagencies. Supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under assistance award No. 02HQAAG0004. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0226189. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Alerting America: Effective Risk Communication - Summary of a Forum October 31, 2002 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council www.national-academies.org

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Alerting America: Effective Risk Communication - Summary of a Forum October 31, 2002 FOREWORD The Natural Disasters Roundtable seeks to facilitate and enhance communication and the exchange of ideas among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers concerned with urgent and important issues related to natural disasters. Roundtable meetings are held three times a year in Washington, D.C. Each meeting is an open forum focused on a specific topic or issue selected by the NDR Steering Committee. The NDR Steering Committee is composed of seven appointed members and eight sponsoring ex-officio members. The appointed members are William H. Hooke, chair, American Meteorological Society, Washington, D.C.; David Applegate, American Geological Institute, Alexandria, Virginia; Ross B. Corotis, University of Colorado, Boulder; Ann-Margaret Esnard, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Ellis M. Stanley, Emergency Preparedness Department, City of Los Angeles, California; Richard T. Sylves, University of Delaware, Newark; and Susan K. Tubbesing, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland, California. The ex-officio members are Lloyd S. Cluff, Pacific Gas & Electric; Timothy A. Cohn, U.S. Geological Survey; Dennis Wenger, National Science Foundation; Stephen Ambrose, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Elizabeth Lemersal, Federal Emergency Management Agency; James W. Russell, Institute for Business and Home Safety; Deborah Dietrich, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Helen M. Wood, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NDR staff includes William Anderson, director; Patricia Jones Kershaw, staff associate; and Ruxandra Floroiu, research associate. This document presents the rapporteur’s summary of the forum discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the roundtable members or other participants. Thanks to Professor Richard Sylves of the University of Delaware for providing his notes from the forum. For more information on the Roundtable visit our website: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ndr or contact us at the address below. Natural Disasters Roundtable The National Academies 500 5th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001 Phone: 202-334-1964 Fax: 202-334-1961