Term Paper: Hazard Awareness the Federal Government

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Hazard Awareness

The Federal government recently made a report (Report by the Working Group on Natural Disaster Information Systems Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction, National Science and Technology Council Committee on Environment and Natural Rresources) called Effective Disaster Warnings. Neal Lane, the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology observed that:

Although the technology presently exists to build smart receivers to customize warnings to the users' local situation whether at home, at work, outdoors, or in their cars, substantial improvement can be made with better utilization of emerging opportunities provided by existing and new technologies. Current warnings can target those at risk at the county and subcounty levels and it should also be possible to customize the information for trucks, trains, boats and airplanes. One high priority that needs to be addressed concerns agreeing on data information standards and dissemination systems to be used (Effective, 2000, p. 4).

Each community must make a budget for the contingency of disasters that usually strike their particular area. Cities should have a budget to use in creating disaster warnings. A community alarm system, such as a siren on a fire station, may already be in place, but warnings in the forms of signs, information hotlines, transportation assistance, mass care facilities, and security and property protection usually have not been budgeted for.

Each city or community must determine what is the amount that they can afford, or must afford in order to prepare their community for a disaster. The budget may be a few dollars to be used for radio spots or millions of dollars used in creating flood gates, setting up towers for transmitting information, creating hotline programs, developing and preparing drivers for transportation programs and so forth.

Even though federal and state governments encourage hazard mitigation at lower levels by offering the incentives of technical assistance, often communities do not take advantage of them. These are available at no cost. The federal and state also promise reduced administrative oversight and limited regulation, all attractive to local governments.

Government funds may not be used, but public messages are formulated and packaged for use on local media. These include radio, TV, newspaper, print and broadcast media packages produced by arms of state and federal government. The information sources for hazard awareness programs have been categorized as auathorities: federal, state and local government, news media (print and broadcast), and peers (friends, relatives and neighbors. These sources differ in their ability to influence an individual's willingness to pay attention to and accept the information.

OSHA has software systems that helps corporations and communities identify and understand common softy and health hazards in the work place. It prepares unique, customized reports that describe likely hazards and the OSHA standards which address those hazards. But OSHA admits that it is not designed to identify all hazards and is not a substitute for personnel who are more familiar with the site. (OSHA, 1999)

FEMA has designed specific internet interactive sites for professionals preparing communities for various disasters, such as floods, where city engineers are given assistance in reading and submitting mapping. They then make a determination based on the information submitted by the licensed professional that allows them to receive a determination from FEMA within minutes. (FEMA, 2006)

Official sources are the ones most believed. Existing research seems to indicate that hazard awareness programs increase in effectiveness when they rely on multiple sources who repeatedly transmit a variety of messages through many different outlets.

Therefore, it is important that a hazard warning should be broadcast on the local weather stations, the local news, the newspapers, printed leaflets, radio news programs, official break-through hazard warnings on all local radio stations and any local sirens or warning services in communities.

Messages sent out over different media have different characteristics. Different channels contribute to this difference in information processing by the listeners. Radio and television spots are best at initiating and maintaining through printed warnings across the bottoms of television programs and break-through warnings periodically transmitted over radio stations, or spoken by the radio personnel in radio shows at frequent intervals. Radio or television spots are best at initiating or maintaining hazard awareness, while printed materials are best at providing detailed information about how to act, where to go, how to get there and what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Hazard Awareness the Federal Government.  (2006, November 18).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hazard-awareness-federal-government/9087539

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"Hazard Awareness the Federal Government."  Essaytown.com.  November 18, 2006.  Accessed October 16, 2019.