GSA Connects 2022 meeting in Denver, Colorado

Paper No. 233-4
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


SUMY, Danielle1, CRAYNE, Jenny2, HERRAN, Carla2, BENNE, Marcie2, SHAGGOT, Todd2 and PEEK, Lori A.3, (1)Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, Washington, DC 20005, (2)Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, (3)University of Colorado Boulder, Natural Hazards Center, Boulder, CO 80309

More than 50 million people live along the West Coast of the United States in areas that could potentially experience a damaging earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert® earthquake early warning system, which is operational in California, Oregon, and Washington, is designed to provide seconds of warning of an earthquake that has already begun. Significant investments have been made in the system itself as well as in public education, communication, and outreach, although much remains to be researched regarding public understanding of educational interventions, such as animations. To fill this gap, the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey to co-develop an educational animation explaining how ShakeAlert works and how to properly respond to an alert. The animation was written in English and translated into Spanish. This mixed methods, dual-language study evaluates the English and Spanish versions of the ShakeAlert animated video as tools for impacting public understanding and intended behavior related to ShakeAlert. Data were collected via surveys (702 English, 73 Spanish) and interviews (19 English, 20 Spanish), completed between August 2021 and March 2022. This research revealed that respondents found the animation easy to understand and effective in communicating key messages about ShakeAlert, yet some confusion remains around the difference between earthquake early warning and earthquake prediction. Additionally, viewers expressed a desire for more information about how to receive alerts on their mobile device and how to protect themselves in situations where Drop, Cover, Hold On is impractical. This work also revealed that the animation had a positive impact on viewers’ intentions to take protective actions if they feel shaking or receive a ShakeAlert-powered alert and that the animation performed well in both English and Spanish in terms of understandability and enjoyability. For future animations, we suggest using a collaborative risk communication model in order to engage intended audiences earlier in the production process to gather their feedback through formative dialogue.