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TSUNAMI MESSAGING PROJECT

Consistent with the National Tsunami Education and Outreach Plan, and following recommendations from various official studies and under the direction of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, we are undertaking a long-term process of reviewing “tsunami messaging” that we all work with, hear, share, and discuss with various public audiences. (Note: these are not messages that are issued as a part of tsunami information statements, watches, advisories, or warnings.)

To facilitate arriving at a consensus on messages related to tsunamis, a series webinars are being held to bring together stakeholders to share their thoughts, expertise, and ideas. Anyone with interest in the topics may participate – not “just” NTHMP partners, but local emergency managers, voluntary agency representatives, educators, and others with a specific interest in tsunamis and related hazards and methods we use to communicate technical information with public audiences. Different people may participate on different webinars, depending on availability and interest in a particular topic.

The messages related to tsunamis are organized by the following categories. Each category that appears in green type is a link to its own page. (A category in red type means that the page is yet to be created and populated on this wiki.) The tentative schedule for each webinar is also shown. All webinars will begin at 1:30pm Eastern Time on the date specified unless otherwise indicated. The webinar will be limited to one hour – and if necessary, the schedule will be changed to carry on a conversation through an additional webinar, if needed.

To participate on any webinar, please click on the “registration link” in advance of the scheduled webinar and register for it. You will receive more information via email when you register. Note: Pre-registration is required.

Tsunami Message Category Webinar Date Registration Link
1. Definition of Tsunami (Raw Data) – (Consensus Output) Feb. 2012 Done 2012
2. Causes of tsunami (Raw Data) – (Consensus Output) March 2012 Done 2012
3. Project Re-launch and Review 12/05/13 Webinar held
4. Re-discussion Tsunami Definition and Causes 12/19/2013 Meeting Notes
5. Tsunami and earth science and facts pertinent to non-experts 01/09/2014 Meeting Notes
6. Tsunami terminology for non-experts 02/06/2014 Meeting Notes
7. Tsunami dangers--Part 1 near beach, rivers 02/20/2014 Meeting Notes
8. Tsunami dangers--Part 2--inundation 03/06/2014 Meeting Notes
9. Tsunami dangers--Part 3--currents, marinas, ports 03/20/2014 Meeting Notes
10. Tsunami dangers--Part 4--What to do if there is no higher ground 04/03/2014 Meeting Notes
11. Messaging Project Summary To Date 04/17/2014 Summary
12. Tsunami warning signs (environmental clues) - local tsunami events 05/01/2014 Meeting Notes
13. Tsunami safety -- Part 1--during alerts 05/15/2014 Meeting Notes
14. Earthquake Shaking--Nature's Clue at the beach 05/29/2014 Meeting Notes
15. No meeting today 06/05/2014 No meeting
16. Tsunami safety--Part 2--evacuation, using signage 06/19/2014 Meeting Notes
17. Tsunamis & their currents--Marine/Boating community - harbors, fishing fleets, boat owners, maritime service providers Included in 3/20/14 Meeting Notes
X Technical failure/internet down/Webinar could not be held 07/10/2014 Meeting deferred to 7/24
18. Tsunami safety, cont.- where safe zones are/avoiding overevacuation 07/24/2014 Meeting Notes
19. Tsunamis: what it will be like (case stories) 08/07/2014 Meeting canceled/deferred to later date TBA
20. Message Project Summary To Date 08/21/2014 Meeting Notes
21. Dangerous actions and how to communicate those dangers 09/04/2014 TBA
22. List of available and reviewed additional information 09/18/2014 TBA

Background information

We all have messages about tsunamis and related hazards that we use for various audiences – public (local, visitors, business owner/operators, etc.), emergency managers, responders, elected officials, media, and so forth. Most people believe, “if it sounds right, and it's from an official or trusted source, then it is right.” Seldom are results of new scientific findings, social science research, or validation of facts incorporated into folklore. Eventually what happens is that while most messages remain correct, the accuracy of certain messages slide into a point of being “mostly right with acceptable error.”

Many of these messages appear in printed publications, on websites, and are provided in presentations and further distributed by word-of-mouth, media reporting, and what noted social scientist Dr. Dennis Mileti calls, “milling.” The point is, we're all using slightly different messaging about the same issues. That may be okay for some applications and may not be for others.

To consider these issues, the Tsunami Messaging Project has begun. Over a series of webinars (see list below), we will explore the various messages that have been captured and cataloged. Through participation with stakeholders and users of the messages, we will review “what's out there” and try to come to consensus agreement on messaging content. Where possible, we will try to provide a scientific and/or research citation that supports each message.

Conveyors and communicators of messages are more likely to use messages that explain why a message says what it says (that is, the research/science support) and is clear, concise, and reasonable. However, we also realize that for some areas, messages need to be adapted for circumstances – for example, for use in island areas, coastlines with many out-of-area visitors, and so forth.

The purpose of the Tsunami Messaging Project is to list messages derived from reliable, frequently-used sites considered to be truthful and trustworthy. Stakeholders will review the messages and determine possible outcomes:

1. Concurrence on one message about a topic
2. Acceptance of the “most best” message even if there may be some exceptions
3. Determination if a certain subset of messages are applicable in some geographic areas and not others (for example, island vs. continental shorelines.)
4. Deferral until more research is found to justify a message's content.

Further, each message must have a scientific or factual basis. Consider, “how do we know this message is accurate and true?” The citation of factual substantiation must be identified and provided for each major message.

Expected Outputs

Recognizing that every community is different, with a different risk of the tsunami hazard, governing procedures and regulations, experience, and many other issues, this project will NOT be proscribing a “one-size fits all” set of messages related to the tsunami hazard.

Instead, the expected output from this project will be an organized list of several messages related to a topic area along with explanations about the choice of wording for same (i.e., the science behind the message.) Because the messages are expressly provided to be in the public domain, anyone from anywhere may choose to adopt any messages that he/she may find useful as outreach materials are updated or created.

Readers of the finalized, vetted list of messages may be informed and choose to change some content that they have already produced based on learning something new or that some science has informed us to dispel long-held folklore. This process works most effectively when we “let it go.”

Mix-and-match, pick-and-choose, combine, recraft, apply, and adapt – all anticipated actions from the stakeholder communicators who may visit the final messages site on a NOAA/NWS web page.

More background: Social science about human reactions to tsunami signs and warnings

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messagehome.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/26 07:51 by rocky