PUBLIC RESPONSE TO ALERTS AND WARNINGS ON MOBILE DEVICES

SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON CURRENT KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCH GAPS

Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington D.C.
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Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern­ ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer­ ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security with assistance from the National Science Foundation under award number IIS­095654. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number­13: 978­0­309­18513­4 International Standard Book Number­10: 0­309­18513­0 Cover: Wireless tower with radio waves. Used with the permission of Shutterstock Images, image ID 66493861. This report is available from: Computer Science and Telecommunications Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from: The National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624­6242 (202) 334­3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Internet: http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self­perpetuating 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 govern ­ ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone 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 mem ­ bers, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advis ­ ing 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. Charles M. Vest 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 pro ­ viding 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON PubLIC RESPONSE TO ALERTS AND WARNINgS ON MObILE DEvICES: CuRRENT KNOWLEDgE AND RESEARCH gAPS ELLIS STANLEY, Dewberry LLC, Western Emergency Management Services, Co-Chair JEANNETTE N.R. SUTTON, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Co-Chair LOUISE COMFORT, University of Pittsburgh JOHN HARRALD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University RICHARD G. MUTH, State of Maryland Emergency Management Agency DAVID ROPEIK, Ropeik & Associates JOHN H. SORENSEN, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Staff JON EISENBERG, Director, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board VIRGINIA BACON TALATI, Associate Program Officer SHENAE BRADLEY, Senior Program Assistant v

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COMPuTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMuNICATIONS bOARD ROBERT F. SPROULL, Sun Labs, Chair PRITHVIRAJ BANERJEE, Hewlett Packard Company STEVEN M. BELLOVIN, Columbia University SEYMOUR E. GOODMAN, Georgia Institute of Technology JOHN E. KELLY III, IBM Research JON M. KLEINBERG, Cornell University ROBERT KRAUT, Carnegie Mellon University SUSAN LANDAU, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study PETER LEE, Microsoft Corporation DAVID E. LIDDLE, US Venture Partners WILLIAM H. PRESS, University of Texas, Austin PRABHAKAR RAGHAVAN, Yahoo! Research DAVID E. SHAW, D.E. Shaw Research ALFRED Z. SPECTOR, Google, Inc. JOHN A. SWAINSON, Silver Lake Partners PETER SZOLOVITS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PETER J. WEINBERGER, Google, Inc. ERNEST J. WILSON, University of Southern California Staff JON EISENBERG, Director VIRGINIA BACON TALATI, Associate Program Officer SHENAE BRADLEY, Senior Program Assistant RENEE HAWKINS, Financial and Administrative Manager HERBERT S. LIN, Chief Scientist EMILY ANN MEYER, Program Officer LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Senior Program Officer ERIC WHITAKER, Senior Program Assistant ENITA A. WILLIAMS, Associate Program Officer For more information on CSTB, see its website at http://www.cstb.org, write to CSTB, National Research Council, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001, call (202) 334­2605, or e­mail the CSTB at cstb@nas.edu. vi

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Preface This report presents a summary of the Workshop on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps, held April 13 and 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps. The complete statement of task for the committee is provided in Box P.1. The workshop was structured to gather inputs and insights from social science researchers, technologists, emergency management professionals, and other experts knowledgeable about how the public responds to alerts and warnings, focusing specifically on how the public responds to mobile alerting. Although this document was prepared by the above­named commit­ tee on the basis of the workshop presentations and discussions, it does not, in keeping with NRC guidelines for developing report summaries, necessarily reflect a consensus view of the committee. Additionally, these summaries should not be taken as remarks made solely by the scheduled session speakers, because the discussions included remarks offered by others in attendance, and the summaries of the workshop sessions pro­ vided in the chapters of this report are a digest both of the presenta­ tions and of the subsequent discussion. In keeping with the workshop’s purpose of exploring an emerging topic, this summary does not contain findings or recommendations. vii

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viii PREFACE BOX P.1 Statement of Task The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) program is intended to provide alerts and warnings to over 80% of the American population on mobile devices (cell phones and pagers). An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a public workshop to examine cur­ rent knowledge and research on how the public responds to alerts and warn­ ings with a specific focus on mobile alerting, examine related work on mobile and text messaging, and identify research gaps relevant to the CMAS program. The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussion. An unedited transcript of the event will be provided to DHS and placed in the project’s public access file. A workshop report will be issued. This workshop report reveals (1) the extensive body of knowledge regarding alerts and warnings and the public response and action before, during, and after emergency situations; and (2) the many questions that arise when considering how to apply this knowledge to the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS), which is currently under development— and more generally to the use of mobile and other new information and communications technologies for alerts and warnings. Chapter 1, which covers the first two sessions of the workshop, pro­ vides a brief overview of the CMAS program and its objectives, as well as background information on the alerting process and public response. Chapters 2 through 5 provide integrated summaries of the session pre ­ sentations and the discussion that followed, organized by topic. Chap ­ ter 6 summarizes the research questions identified during the breakout sessions and subsequent plenary discussion. Appendix A presents the workshop agenda, and speaker biosketches are provided in Appendix B. Appendix C provides the biosketches of the committee and staff. Ellis Stanley and Jeannette N.R. Sutton, Co-Chairs Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its pub ­ lished report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert Kraut, Carnegie Mellon University, Leslie Luke, San Diego County Office of Emergency Management, Dennis Mileti, University of Colorado, Boulder, Helena Mitchell, Georgia Institute of Technology, George Percivall, Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc., Ramesh Rao, University of California, San Diego, and Michelle Wood, California State University, Fullerton. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc­ tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the con­ tents, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David Mendonça, Rensselaer Poly ­ technic Institute. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was ix

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x ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF REVIEWERS responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents 1 OVERVIEW AND CONTExT: THE COMMERCIAL MOBILE 1 ALERT SERVICE, THE WARNING PROCESS, AND PUBLIC RESPONSE Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS), 2 Research on Effective Alerts and Warnings and Implications of the Research for CMAS, 6 Misconceptions About Responses to Alerts and Warnings, 11 Observations of Workshop Participants, 12 2 CURRENT USE OF TExT MESSAGES FOR ALERTS AND 14 WARNINGS: ExPERIENCES AND LESSONS LEARNED Subscription, 15 Message Content, 16 Use of Multiple Methods to Ensure Receipt and to Cope with Network Congestion, 17 Operational Issues, 18 Education of the Public, 19 Observations of Workshop Participants, 20 3 COMMUNICATING DURING A CRISIS 21 Crisis Communication Versus Risk Communication, 21 Old Media Versus New Media, 22 Use of Social Media to Fill Communications Gaps, 24 Synergistic Use of Multiple Media, 24 xi

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xii CONTENTS Information Sharing and Gathering, 25 Microblogging, 27 Other Next­Generation Crisis Communication Tools, 28 Observations of Workshop Participants, 29 4 PUBLIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING 31 An Example: The Great California ShakeOut, 31 Building an Educational Campaign, 34 Observations of Workshop Participants, 35 5 COMMUNICATING WITH AT­RISK POPULATIONS 37 Use of Wireless Devices by People with Disabilities, 37 Special Considerations for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision, 39 Special Considerations for Those with Impaired Hearing, 39 Special Considerations with Respect to Disabilities in the Elderly Population, 42 Gender­Based Considerations, 43 Considerations Related to Race and Ethnicity, 44 Observations of Workshop Participants, 45 6 RESEARCH GAPS 46 Research Opportunities, 46 Implementation Challenges, 50 Future Tools for Alerts, 51 APPENDIxES A Workshop Agenda 55 B Biosketches of Workshop Speakers 59 C Committee and Staff Biosketches 73