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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Clearly communicating to vulnerable populations

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Personalizing information can help message receivers "see themselves" in the message.

Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, was about to get walloped. Of course, there is but one way onto and off of this Island and once #Hilary hits CA, it will be difficult for resources to get there. What to do? Issue a timely, clear, and complete WEA to those at greatest risk. (hint, dear reader, everyone on the Island is at risk with this one). This message, issued in advance of the approaching storm, clearly states the name of the message sender, and explains what is coming their way including the impacts that #Hilary could have on the Island in the short and long term. The message also specifies who should prepare, what they should do, and the time by when this should occur - batten down and board up, or get out of town at their earliest opportunity (politely stated... don't wait). We often talk about "personalizing" the message - that is, helping a receiver to see that the message is meant for them and not for other people. By clearly identifying populations that are at greatest risk, receivers can see that they are included in those vulnerable groups. In this case - vulnerable people include residents and visitors alike. But in particular, they point to persons who would have great difficulty living without power for long periods of time while waiting for help to arrive. The LASD also provides a link for more information - a great way to send the message receiver to credible and updated content as the conditions change over time. We've written previously about the role of an organization in issuing weather-related WEAs ahead of, absent of, or alongside the NWS. In this case, using WEA to issue an evacuation notice to persons living or vacationing far off the coast is a clear example of when to use WEA in an appropriate and timely manner. Way to go, LASD.


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