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Setting the Stage for Early Earthquake Alerts and Warnings

Shah Family Fund Distinguished Lecture
Ann Bostrom
Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor of Environmental Policy, University of Washington
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 4:30 pm
Li Ka Shing Conference Center

Early  earthquake  warning  (EEW)  systems  hold  great  promise.  The  few EEW systems deployed around the world have helped prevent and mitigate  damage  from  earthquakes.  While  the  technologies  to  detect  threats, their reliability, and the length of time needed to achieve accuracy in forecasts and predictions in EEW are important factors in achieving this, equally important are how EEW rely on human mediation; channels for  issuing  warnings;  familiarity  and  institutionalization  of  warning  procedure;  settings  in  which  systems  are  used;  and  system  goals  and  objectives.  In  other  words,  how  early  earthquake  alerts  and  warnings  are interpreted and what actions people take in response to them depend on  cognitive,  emotive,  social  and  institutional  contexts,  as  well  as  on  their natural and built environment. A key lesson from prior research on hazard warnings is that people need actionable information on what to do, not just that there is a threat. With seconds to minutes of lead time, accomplishing this will require setting the stage for action by working with  communities  and  institutions  to  develop  goals,  procedures,  and expectations

Ann    Bostrom    is    the    Weyerhaeuser    Endowed    Professor    of  Environmental  Policy  in  the  Daniel  J.  Evans  School  of  Public  Affairs at  the  University  of  Washington.  Bostrom  holds  a  Ph.D.  in  public policy  analysis  from  Carnegie  Mellon  University,  an  M.B.A.  from Western Washington University, a B.A, in English from the University of Washington, and completed postdoctoral studies in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and in cognitive aspects of survey methodology at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as an American Statistical  Association/National  Science  Foundation/Bureau  of  Labor Statistics Research Associate. Her research focuses on risk perception, communication, and management; and environmental policy and decision making.  She  has  authored  or  contributed  to  numerous  publications, including Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach (Cambridge University  Press,  2002),  Risk  Assessment,  Modeling  and  Decision Support:  Strategic  Directions  (Berlin:  Springer,  2008).  Bostrom  is  an Associate Editor for the Journal of Risk Research, Risk Communication Area  Editor  for  Human  and  Ecological  Risk  Assessment,  and  on  the  editorial  board  of  Risk  Analysis.  She  is  currently  a  member  of  the  Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee, the National Oceanic  and  Atmospheric  Administration  Science  Advisory  Board  Environmental Information Services Working Group, and the National Academies  Committee  to  Review  the  IRIS  Process.  She  is  a  Fellow  of  the  American  Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science,  and  a  Fellow  and  past  President  of  the  Society  for  Risk  Analysis.  Bostrom  also received the Chauncey Starr award for a young risk analyst from the Society For Risk Analysis for her work on mental models of hazardous processes.