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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

A highly localized message with limited value.

If you read The Warn Room regularly, you know that a foundational aspect of good warnings is that they deliver complete information to the message receiver. Complete messages include the 1) source, 2) hazard (plus description), 3) location, 4) guidance, and 5) time. It is possible to write a complete message for both 90 and 360 character WEAs and doing so will reduce action delay because the receiver doesn't need to search for additional information to understand the threat, where it is located, it's potential impacts, what they should do to avoid the threat or to protect themselves, and when. By including these details, the sending organization also demonstrates competency in their ability to communicate effectively.

a warning for a road closure with instructions to use marked detours

The message included here is a real WEA. It was issued as both a 90 and 360 character message. It is incomplete.

A message receiver would surely have the following questions: Who is this from? Is this a hazardous situation? Why am I receiving it? These are questions that tap into perceptions of the threat and it's risk to the message receiver. But they also highlight the concern that we hear frequently from frustrated members of the public who want to know "does this apply to me?"

WEA messaging is a powerful tool in the alerting toolkit that, when used effectively, can help to motivate behavior change. We can do much better. What would you do to improve this message?


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