Virtual Forum Presentation
Effective Disaster Warnings
Peter Ward, Ph. D.
Download Transcript (MS Word File)
About Peter Ward
Text of Report Cover Letter
Report Figure 1, Major components of the warning process
Report Table 2, U. S. losses from natural and manmade disasters 1972 - 1997
Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR)
Effective Disaster Warnings (PDF file, 318 K)
EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation
Effective Disaster Warnings
Avagene Moore - Moderator
The last EIIP Virtual Forum discussion for the Year 2000 was an overview of a report by the Working Group on Natural Disaster Information Systems on Effective Disaster Warnings. The guest speaker was Peter Ward, Ph. D., who chaired the Working Group for the Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, for the National Science and Technology Council.
Dr. Ward stated although the US has many warning systems, few excel at warning just the people at risk and few actually reach many people unless the time lead is measured in days. New technology that is in place could significantly improve the delivery of early warnings. For these and other disaster-related reasons, the Sub-Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (SNDR) appointed a working group on Natural Disaster Information Systems (NDIS). The discussion covered the Working Group's findings and recommendations.
PETER L. WARD, Ph. D.
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THE WHITE HOUSE
I am pleased to transmit the NSTC Report, Effective Disaster Warnings, which has been prepared by the Working Group on Natural Disaster Information Systems under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction. This document compiles into a single reference a wealth of information on public and private sector R&D capability to provide early warning of natural or technological hazards that threaten the safety and well-being of our citizens. It is designed to assist scientists, engineers, and emergency managers in developing more accurate and more numerous warnings as they deploy better sensors to measure key variables, employ better dynamic models, and expand their understanding of the causes of disasters. Warnings are becoming much more useful to society as lead-time and reliability are improved and as society devises ways to respond effectively.
The goal of this Report is to provide a broad overview of major issues related to warning the right people at the right time so that they can take appropriate action with respect to the disaster. It addresses the problems of delivering warnings reliably to only those people at risk and to systems that have been preprogrammed to respond to early warnings. 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 sub-county 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.
This Report focuses on needs for improving delivery and effectiveness of warnings over the next 5 to 10 years. It recommends close collaboration between Federal, State, local, and private sector organizations to leverage government and industry capabilities and needs to deliver effective disaster warnings.
We hope that scientists, engineers, and emergency managers will find this Report to be a valuable reference on the policy issues of implementing advanced technologies for delivering warnings to people at risk.
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