Forecasters, emergency managers, and residents: Building better risk communication




tornado, hazards, rural, emergency management


The US National Weather Service (NWS) and emergency managers (EMs) around the country are tasked with communicating severe weather information to the public. Frequent interaction between professionals and residents is essential to building effective partnerships. This paper investigates these interactions and also explores the perspectives of NWS forecasters, EMs, and rural residents related to the efficacy of warning communication, message understanding, preferred platforms, and engagement in protective actions. Data for this study were collected through three original survey instruments that were directed to NWS forecasters and EMs across the country, and residents in four rural communities. Findings reveal that residents generally understand warning messages and generally feel tornado risk communication is effective in their communities. However, residents do not appear to have a plan of action formulated prior to a warning and are, therefore, making, rather than implementing, a plan when warning is issued. This study gives rural residents a voice in the warning communication process and a chance for forecasters and EMs to gain valuable information as they better plan to serve these communities.

Author Biography

Zebulon C. Wallace, PhD

Division of Social Science, Minot State University, Minot, North Dakota


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How to Cite

Wallace, Z. C. “Forecasters, Emergency Managers, and Residents: Building Better Risk Communication”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 22, no. 3, May 2024, pp. 235-48, doi:10.5055/jem.0745.