Volcanic hazard awareness in the tourism sector in Mammoth Lakes, California, USA

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Kaye, G.D.; Finnis, K.; Johnston, D.M.; Paton, D. 2008 Volcanic hazard awareness in the tourism sector in Mammoth Lakes, California, USA. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2008/35 10 p.

Abstract: Mammoth Lakes, California, USA, is located in an area prone to many hazardous natural events, including wildfires, snow avalanches, earthquakes, extreme weather, and volcanic eruptions. Volcanic hazards threaten Mammoth Lakes due to the town’s proximity to the active Long Valley volcanic system, which includes the Long Valley Caldera and the Mammoth Mountain stratovolcano, on which the Mammoth ski area is situated. Because of the importance of tourism to the area, levels of business preparedness will affect social and economic resilience in the event of a volcanic crisis. To examine this, a face-to-face survey of business owners and staff in Mammoth Lakes was undertaken in January 2006 to gauge awareness levels of the business and tourism sectors to volcanic hazards. The survey results indicated only moderate awareness levels of natural (including volcanic) hazards and limited staff training, which suggests a need for ongoing hazard-specific employer and employee education. This case study provides an insight into the level of awareness and response training on the part of those who would play a critical role in any response to a future volcanic emergency in the Mammoth Lakes area. Suggestions on how to improve preparedness and underpin effective emergency management services in a busy destination resort area with high numbers of seasonal visitors are also included. (auth)