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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

An unfamiliar hazard and a local area emergency

At The Warn Room, we don't claim to be experts in all hazards, which is why adding hazard impact information to a message really helps the message receiver to understand why they're being asked to take specific actions.

The research record clearly states that because of the restricted length of short messages, such as a 90-character WEA, they are not specific and lack the details necessary for the message receiver to understand the message. In this case, a person with experience in snowy conditions or with knowledge of structural load limits on buildings, could probably guess that heavy, wet snow can lead to problems of all sorts. But not everyone receiving this message from the Sheriff's Office will have that insight. The editor's desk took a crack at designing a new message that added some of the specificity that was missing from the original message. Here, we've included the message source, precipitating hazard leading to the potential threat, and the protective actions that people can take to keep safe. We also used ALL CAPS to emphasize and call attention to key words (EXTREME SNOW and USE CAUTION). While a snow expert might still call the hazard an "extreme snow load advisory" and provide different impact information to message receivers, a more complete message helps them to understand what they're being asked to do, and why.


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