Text-to-Action: Understanding the Interaction between Accessibility of Weless Alerts and Behavioral Response

Title: Text-to-Action: Understanding the Interaction between Accessibility of Weless Alerts and Behavioral Response
Format: Chapter
Publication Date: 2019
Published In: Risk Communication and Resilience
Publisher Routledge

Mobile text alerts are one of many channels for sending and receiving emergency messaging. Currently, there are several ways to disseminate and receive text alerts including through mobile apps, subscription based services, social media and the Integrated Public Alert and Warnings System (IPAWS). This chapter focuses on Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), a component of IPAWS, and outlines the strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and threats (SWOT) to the intended effect of WEAs – to elicit protective action responses. The content presented in this chapter is based, in part, on surveys and interviews of FEMA approved alert authorities and surveys of populations at risk who receive WEAs. The combination of these studies allows for the examination of WEAs from two sides – disseminators (e.g. Emergency Management Agencies) and receivers (e.g. individuals located in or near the immediate threat). This comprehensive approach will examine effectiveness of WEAs along a continuum from the creation of messages by alert originators, the provision of WEA by wireless service providers and the receipt of WEA messages by people with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. Concerns related to government policy and practices, public awareness, availability and accessibility to specific populations at risk will be discussed. This chapter represents the integrated approach set forth by the book goals: (1) discussing the unique technical features of WEA (and IPAWS), (2) identifying the policy and practices that lead to use by alert authorities, and (3) highlighting the sociocultural considerations needed for WEAs to be effective.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
External Contributors: Bennett, D.

Bennett, D. and LaForce, S., Text-to-Action: Understanding the Interaction between Accessibility of Wireless Emergency Alerts and Behavioral Response. Risk Communication and Resilience pp. 9-26, (Kar, B., and Cochran, D.M., Eds.), New York: Rourtledge (2019)

Related Departments:
  • Center for Advanced Communications Policy