Public information seeking, place-based risk messaging and wildfire preparedness in southern CaliforniaAnne-Lise K. Velez A D , John M. Diaz B and Tamara U. Wall C
A Department of Public Administration, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
B Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida, Lake Wales, FL 33853, USA.
C Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512, USA.
D Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(6) 469-477 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16219
Submitted: 7 April 2016 Accepted: 26 April 2017 Published: 6 June 2017
Southern California is a challenging environment for managing and adapting to wildland–urban interface fires. Previous research shows risk perception and information seeking are related and that public information dissemination influences locally specific risk perception and preparedness actions. Here, we examine relationships between residents’ wildfire knowledge and experience, readiness actions and media choice to determine how to integrate preparedness information and the recently developed Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index into public information. Based on frequencies, means tests and correlations, we find television most frequently used for both daily news and wildfire information and that most people intend to seek information from the same sources in future fires. Wildfire knowledge, experience and past preparedness actions influence the number of sources from which respondents report seeking information. We note significant geographic differences in information sources used before and during wildfire, with higher percentages of residents in more rural areas relying on television, radio, Reverse 911, and friends and family for information during a wildfire. Findings support previous research results indicating sources considered trustworthy are not always considered the most up-to-date. Our findings support other empirical research recommending a multimedia, two-way communication model for event-based and readiness information supplemented with one-way sources like television.
ReferencesAlthaus SL, Cizmar AM, Gimpel JG (2009) Media supply, audience demand, and the geography of news consumption in the United States. Political Communication 26, 249–277.
| Media supply, audience demand, and the geography of news consumption in the United States.CrossRef |
American Red Cross (2011) ‘Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies.’ (American Red Cross: Washington, DC, USA)
Ascher TJ, Wilson RS, Toman E (2013) Importance of affect, perceived risk, and perceived benefit in understanding support for fuels management among wildland–urban interface residents. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22, 267–276.
| Importance of affect, perceived risk, and perceived benefit in understanding support for fuels management among wildland–urban interface residents.CrossRef |
Blumberg SJ Luke JV (2013) Wireless substitution: early release of estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2012. (National Center for Health Statistics) Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm [Verified 12 May 2017]
Brenkert-Smith H, Dickinson KL, Champ PA, Flores N (2013) Social amplification of wildfire risk: the role of social interactions and information sources. Risk Analysis 33, 800–817.
| Social amplification of wildfire risk: the role of social interactions and information sources.CrossRef |
Champ PA, Donovan GH, Barth CM (2013) Living in a tinderbox: wildfire risk perceptions and mitigating behaviors. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22, 832–840.
| Living in a tinderbox: wildfire risk perceptions and mitigating behaviors.CrossRef |
Chess C (2001) Organizational theory and the stages of risk communication. Risk Analysis 21, 179–188.
| Organizational theory and the stages of risk communication.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3M3ovVeiug%3D%3D&md5=a4497550146751eed193b77bc72577eaCAS |
Cohen E, Hughes P, White PB (2007) Media and bushfires: a community perspective of the media during the Grampians Fires 2006. Environmental Hazards 7, 88–96.
| Media and bushfires: a community perspective of the media during the Grampians Fires 2006.CrossRef |
Dillman DA, Smyth JD, Christian LM (2008) ‘Mail and Internet Surveys: the Tailored Designed Method.’ (Wiley: New York, NY, USA)
Dillman DA, Smyth JD, Christian LM (2014) ‘Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: the Tailored Design Method.’ (Wiley: New York, NY, USA)
Fischer HW, Stine GF, Stoker BL, Trowbridge ML, Drain EM (1995) Evacuation behavior: why do some evacuate, while others do not? A case study of the Ephrata, Pennsylvania (USA), evacuation. Disaster Prevention and Management 4, 30–36.
| Evacuation behavior: why do some evacuate, while others do not? A case study of the Ephrata, Pennsylvania (USA), evacuation.CrossRef |
Fischhoff B (1995) Risk perception and communication unplugged: twenty years of process. Risk Analysis 15, 137–145.
| Risk perception and communication unplugged: twenty years of process.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2MzitVeqsQ%3D%3D&md5=313c6067b79643fbbde82ccd0506f8baCAS |
Garson GD (2012) ‘Significance Testing.’ (Statistical Associates Publishing Raleigh, NC, USA)
Heath J, Nulssen C, Dunlop P, Clarke P Burgelt, Morrison D (2011) The February 2011 fires in Roleystone, Kelmscott and Red Hill. Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre. Available at http://www.bushfirecrc.com/sites/default/files/managed/resource/bushfire_final_report_0.pdf [Verified 12 May 2017]
Lachlan K, Spence P, Nelson L (2008) ‘Age, Gender and Information Seeking.’ (National Communication Association: San Diego, CA, USA)
Lindell MK, Prater CS, Perry RW (2006) Risk perception and communication. In ‘Fundamentals of Emergency Management’. Ch 4, pp. 84–119. (FEMA) Available at https://training.fema.gov/hiedu/aemrc/booksdownload/fem/ [Verified 12 May 2017]
Manta MI, Mestre AF, Viegas DX (2006) Economical value of two meteorological wildfire risk indexes in Spain. Forest Ecology and Management 234, S64
| Economical value of two meteorological wildfire risk indexes in Spain.CrossRef |
McCaffrey SM (2004) Fighting fire with education: what is the best way to reach out to homeowners? Journal of Forestry 102, 12–19.
McCaffrey SM, Olsen CS (2012) Research perspectives on the public and fire management: a synthesis of current social science on eight essential questions. Joint Fire Science Program Synthesis Reports, Paper 17. Available at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/jfspsynthesis/17 [Verified 12 May 2017]
McCaffrey S, Toman E, Stidham M, Shindler B (2013a) Social science research related to wildfire management: an overview of recent findings and future research needs. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22, 15–24.
| Social science research related to wildfire management: an overview of recent findings and future research needs.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3sXit1egtLY%3D&md5=25d154bee7f221a9fd2b8842f136c38dCAS |
McCaffrey SM, Velez ALK, Briefel JA (2013b) Differences in information needs for wildfire evacuees and non-evacuees. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 31, 4–24.
McCool SF, Burchfield J, Williams DR, Carroll MS (2006) An event-based approach for examining the effects of wildland fire decisions on communities. Environmental Management 37, 437–450.
| An event-based approach for examining the effects of wildland fire decisions on communities.CrossRef |
Mestre A, Manta MI (2014) A fire weather index as a basis for an early warning system in Spain. International Journal of Wildland Fire 23, 510–519.
| A fire weather index as a basis for an early warning system in Spain.CrossRef |
National Weather Service (2013) What are red flag warnings and fire weather watches? (Weather Forecast Office: Tallahassee, FL, USA) Available at from http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tae/?n=redflag [Verified 13 May 2017]
Neil RB (1989) Community attitudes to natural hazard insurance: what are the salient issues? In ‘Natural Hazards and Reinsurance’. (Eds J Oliver, NR Britton) pp. 107–121. (Lilyfield: Sydney, NSW, Australia).
Rowan KE (1991) Goals, obstacles, and strategies in risk communication: a problem-solving approach to improving communication about risks. Journal of Applied Communication Research 19, 300–329.
| Goals, obstacles, and strategies in risk communication: a problem-solving approach to improving communication about risks.CrossRef |
Ryan B (2013) Information seeking in a flood. Disaster Prevention and Management 22, 229–242.
| Information seeking in a flood.CrossRef |
Savolainen R (1995) Everyday life information seeking: approaching information seeking in the context of ‘way of life’. Library & Information Science Research 17, 259–294.
| Everyday life information seeking: approaching information seeking in the context of ‘way of life’.CrossRef |
Savolainen R (2008) Source preferences in the context of seeking problem-specific information Information. Processing & Management 44, 274–293.
| Source preferences in the context of seeking problem-specific information Information.CrossRef |
Spence PR, Westerman D, Skalski PD, Seeger M, Sellnow TL, Ulmer RR (2006) Gender and age effects on information-seeking after 9/11. Communication Research Reports 23, 217–223.
| Gender and age effects on information-seeking after 9/11.CrossRef |
Spence PR, Lachlan K, Burke JM, Seeger MW (2007) Media use and information needs of the disabled during a natural disaster. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 18, 394–404.
| Media use and information needs of the disabled during a natural disaster.CrossRef |
Steelman TA, McCaffrey S (2013) Best practices in risk and crisis communication: implications for natural hazards management. Natural Hazards 65, 683–705.
| Best practices in risk and crisis communication: implications for natural hazards management.CrossRef |
Steelman TA, McCaffrey S, Velez ALK, Briefel J (2015) What information do people use, trust, and find useful during a disaster? Evidence from five large wildfires. Natural Hazards 76, 615–634.
| What information do people use, trust, and find useful during a disaster? Evidence from five large wildfires.CrossRef |
Tierney KJ (1993) ‘Socio-Economic Aspects of Hazard Mitigation.’ (Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware: Newark, DE, USA)
Werth PA, Potter BE, Clements CB, Finney MA, Goodrick SL, Alexander ME, Cruz MG, Forthofer JA, McAllister SS (2011) Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: Vol. I for fire managers. USDA Forest Service. Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-854. (Portland, OR, USA)
Winter PL, Cvetkovich GT (2010) Shared values and trust: the experience of community residents in a fire-prone ecosystem. In ‘Advances in Threat Assessment and their Application to Forest and Rangeland Management’. (Eds JM Pye, HM Raushcer, Y Sands, DC Lee, JS Beatty) USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-802, pp. 409-418. (Portland, OR, USA)