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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Cancellation messages

WEA sent 1/31/2022

Cancellation messages, also called "all-clear" or "post-alert messages," have been under-studied by warning researchers. While several investigations followed the ICBM WEA issued to Hawaii in 2018 to learn the heartbreak and terror that many experienced (DeYoung et al. 2019), few studies have determined what should be said in the aftermath. Earthquake researchers are leading this effort now as they prepare for the likely false alert due to potential technical errors in the future. Recognizing how a false alert could affect trust in earthquake early warning, they have invested time and effort in getting it right before "the big one" (McBride et al. 2019) Unfortunately, the one post-alert message sent following a false alarm did not go well - the attempt to encourage those who took action with a "good job!" was received as insulting and unwarranted (Sutton et al. 2022). New research is now focused on determining what people want and need following a false alert but can also lead alert and warning coordinators to determine new policy for ALL hazards that need a post-alert message. The WEA on the right takes an interesting approach - it cancels a shelter in place and thanks the population for their actions. Missing is anything about what happened, how the event was managed, and their personal safety in the aftermath of what may have been an alarming event - the exact things that are needed in the aftermath of an event. While telling people they can stop their protective actions is important, providing some explanation for their safety may be equally so


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