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As ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning system for the West Coast of the U.S., begins its transition to operational public alerting, we explore how post-alert messaging might represent system performance. Planned post-alert messaging can provide timely, crucial information to both emergency managers and ShakeAlert operators as well as calibrate expectations among various publics or public user groups and inform their responses to future alerts. There is a concern among the scientists and emergency managers that false alerts may negatively impact trust in the system, so quickly disseminated post-alert messages are necessary. For a new early warning system, such as ShakeAlert, this is particularly relevant given that the potentially affected population is likely to be unfamiliar with this system. We address this concern in six steps: (1) assessment of ShakeAlert performance to date, (2) characterization of human behavior and response to earthquake alerts, (3) presentation of a decision tree for issuing post-alert messages, (4) design of a critical set of post-alert messaging scenarios, (5) elaboration of these scenarios with message templates for a variety of communication channels, and (6) development of a typology of earthquake alerts. We further explore methods for monitoring and evaluating ShakeAlert post-alert messaging, for continuous improvement to the system.
McBride, S. K., Bostrom, A., Sutton, J., de Groot, R. M., Baltay, A. S., Terbush, B., … Vinci, M. (2020, November 1). Developing post-alert messaging for ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning system for the West Coast of the United States of America. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101713