Intended responses to a tsunami evacuation message using Emergency Mobile Alerts in New Zealand

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Potter, S.H. 2018 Intended responses to a tsunami evacuation message using Emergency Mobile Alerts in New Zealand. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2018/14. 34 p.; doi: 10.21420/ G2GW6P

Abstract:  A hypothetical regional tsunami scenario was used to investigate optimal messaging of an Emergency Mobile Alert (using Cell Broadcast technology) in New Zealand, and to test the results of an international literature review. One of two messages were given to 28 members of the public in four locations around the Wellington Region in November 2017. The messages differed slightly to test differences in guidance messaging, and in the format that the issue time was given. Participants gave their views on the message in response to open-ended questions, and also provided responses on intentions to evacuate, and efficacy of the suggested actions. The (non-representative) results indicate that 86% of our participants intended to evacuate within five minutes of receiving the message. Recommendations are given to improve the communication of short warning messages, including that messages use 12-hour time (instead of 24-hour time), and that more education and research needs to be done on public awareness of tsunami evacuation zones in New Zealand. This report describes the research findings in detail; these findings have already been incorporated into GNS Science Report 2018-02 (Potter, 2018), which is being used by agencies who warn the public in New Zealand. (auth)