Social response to the second "A" alert of the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment

Citation
Social response to the second "A" alert of the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment

Material Information

Title:
Social response to the second "A" alert of the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment
Series Title:
Quick response research report ;
Creator:
O'Brien, Paul W
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Place of Publication:
Boulder, Colo
Publisher:
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
20 p. : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Emergency management -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Earthquake prediction -- Social aspects -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 20).
General Note:
"Final report. December 1993"--P. [1].
Statement of Responsibility:
by Paul W. O'Brien.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
001985434 ( ALEPH )
299086172 ( OCLC )
F57-00019 ( USFLDC DOI )
f57.19 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Added automatically
Natural Hazards Center Collection

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Social response to the second "A" alert of the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment
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SocialResponsetotheSecon4"A"AlertoftheParkfiel4Earthquakepre4iction Expert-ent ByPaulW.O'Brien QUICK RESPONSE RESEARCH REPORT #65 1994TheviewsexpressedinthisreportarethoseoftheauthorsandnotnecessarilythoseoftheNaturalHazardsCenterortheUniversityofColorado....rtf the Natural Hazards This publication 0I formation Center's ongoing Research&Applications Report Series. Quick Response Researc http://WWWcolorado.edu/hazards

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socialResponse to theSecond"A"Alert or the ParJtrield BarthquaJtePrediction Experiaent FinalReportPaulw.O'Brien,Ph.D.CaliforniastateUniversity-StanislausDepartmentofSociologyandCriminalJustice801westMontevistaAveTurlock,CA95382Submittedto:TheNaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterBoulder,CODecember1993 The authorof this report wishes specialthanks to the San Luis Obispo Office of Emergency Services formaking their staff available for multiple interviewsand forsharing documents received by them from the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento,CAduring the Alert.

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ThispageISblank ormIssIng

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IntroductionParkfield,Californiaisasmallvillageof34residentslocatedapproximately220milessouthofSanFranciscoand240milesnorthofLosAngeles.Thisplacesthevillageinthecenterofthestate.Whatmakesthevillageuniquetoseismologistsandothersinterestedinearthquakerelatedissuesisthatitexperiencesearthquakeswithanuncannyregularity.Usinghistoricalrecords,onecananticipateanearthquakealmostevery22years.TodateearthquakeshaveoccurredinParkfieldin1857,1881,1901,1922,1934,and1966.GiventhispasthistoryitwasselectedbytheUnitedStatesGeologicalSurvey(USGS)tobepartofanexperiment.TheexperimentwasaboldplanbytheUSGStouseParkfieldinanextensiveefforttopredictearthquakes.Thelogicwassimple.SinceParkfieldexperiencesearthquakeswithsuchregularity,whatoneneededtodowastobereadyforthenextquake.Onceinstrumentswereinplaceseismologistscouldmeasureeveryearthmovementandchange,limitedonlybymoderntechnology,toseeexactlywhathappensinanearthquake.withthisknowledgeofallpossibleanomaliesthatoccurshortlybeforeanearthquake,onecouldthenlookforthosesameanomalieselsewheretopredictearthquakesatotherlocations.SomeoftheinstrumentsinthestUdyincludes:creepmeterstodetectearthsurfaceslippage,laserguidedsurveyequipmenttodetectearthmovementoverlargelandareas,andgroundwater3

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detectiondevices.TodateconsiderableresourcesoftheUSGSandtheStateofCaliforniabeenallocatedtotheprojectinthehopeoffurtheringAmericanearthquakepredictioncapabilities.Parkfield ishardlyindanger.Thevillageof34hasalonghistoryofseismicactivity.Residentshavelearnedtodealwithearthquakes.Thereisevenacertainamountofpridethatgoesalongwithalloftheattentionresidentsreceive.Thisisshown,forexample,onthewatertowerintown,whichproudlyproclaimsParkfieldtobe"theearthquakecapitaloftheworld".InadditionthereislittletobedamagedinthefarmcountrysidesurroundingParkfield.If,however,thenextearthquakeshouldbelargerthanthecharacteristic6.0Rtemblor,forexampleinthe7.0Rrange,thenthethreattohumanlifeincreases.ThelargerearthquakecouldhavepotentialdamagingimpactsinthecountiesofSantaBarbara,SanLuisObispo,SanBenito,Monterey,Kings,Kern,andFresno.OneareaofparticularconcernisthenuclearpowerplantlocatedoutsideSanLuisObispo.TheoriginalannouncementbytheUSGSthatitwasembarkingonthisboldplanwasmadein1985.Itwaswatchedbymanyhereandabroadforitslong-rangeimplicationsinearthquakeprediction.TheundertakingproceededwiththeendorsementbytheNational(NEPEC)andCalifornia(CEPEC)EarthquakePredictionandEvaluationCouncils.Thepredictionwasforanearthquakeofmagnitude6.0-7.0Rtooccurbeforetheendof1993.ParalleltotheUSGSeffortatParkfieldweresocialscientistsalsolookingattheexperimentfromapUblicresponse4

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viewpoint.TheinitialpublicreactiontothepredictionwasformallyinvestigatedshortlyafteritwaspUbliclyannounced(MiletiandHutton1987).Sincethatinitialsocialstudy,othershavebeencompleted.SpecificallytheCaliforniaGovernor'sOfficeofEmergency Servicesdistributedabrochuretothesevencountyregion.ItdetailedadescriptionoftheUSGSexperiment,preparedness,andmitigationactivities,wheretogetadditionalinformationandanexplanationofthealertlevels.Socialscientistswereactivelyinvolvedinmeasuringhoweffectivethemodelofriskcommunicationwas(Mileti,FitzpatrickandFarhar1990,MiletiandFitzpatrick1992,MiletiandFitzpatrick1993).Sincethat1985date,Parkfieldhasbeenthecenterofmuchactivityandmediacoverage.ThisattentionclimaxedonOctober20,1992,when,basedonpre-plannedmodelsofearthactivity,theUSGSissuedanA-levelalert.ThiswasanhistoriceventforthefirstNEPEC/CEPECapprovedpredictionissuedinthehistoryoftheunitedStates.Thisalertalsoprovidedsocialscientiststheopportunitytomeasurepublicresponsetothisalert(FitzpatrickandO'Brien1992).ConsiderablemediaattentionwasfocusedontheParkfieldareaaroundtheOctober20,1992,event.Thealertcameandpassedwithoutthepredictedearthquake.Althoughthescientificcommunityopenlyacknowledgedsome officesofemergencyservicesreportedthatevenwithouttheanticipatedevent,manyofthepeopleinthesevencountyregionwereonce5

PAGE 8

againremindedthatthisisearthquakecountryandonealwaysneedstobeprepared.ManysawtheA-alertnotasafailure,butacalltopreparednessandmitigationaction.SocialresearchalsofoundthatthepUblicalsoknewthatthisnotyetanexactscienceanddidnot"hold-a-grudge"againsttheUSGSforthemhavingcalledthealertinthefirstplace(FitzpatrickandO'Brien1992).OnNovember14,1993,thesecondA-alertwasannouncedbytheUSGS.Thealertwascalledaftera4.5Rmagnitudeearthquakestruckthearea.FromthemonitoringinstrumentslocatedinParkfield,itwasfeltthatthelargerG.ORto7.0Rearthquakemightoccur.AgaintheUSGSnotifiedtheCaliforniaGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServices(OES), whointurnnotifiedthesevencountyOESofficesintheeffectedareas.ThisreportisaresultofthatsecondA-alert.PurposeThissecondA-alertrepresentsauniqueopportunitytomeasurebothpublicandorganizationalresponsetoashort-termearthquakepredictionsanctionedbyboththeNEPECandtheCEPECforthesecondtime.ManyaspectsofParkfieldarebasedonthehistoricalrecordsinceearthquakepredictionisstillsucha newendeavor.EachactionthattheUSGSandotherplayersintheeventtakearetakenforthefirsttimeand.thusoffergreatinsightsintoactionsandreactionsofallthoseinvolved.G

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InordertomeasuresomeoftheresponsestothesecondA-alert,asociologistwassenttotheareatoinvestigatesomeofthesocietaldynamicssurroundingtheevent.ThisfieldtripwassupportedbyNationalScienceFoundationfundsthataredistributedbytheNaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterlocatedattheUniversityofColoradoatBoulder.ItsentoneresearcherfromCaliforniaStateUniversity-stanislaustocentralCaliforniatocollectdataontheevent.Thiswasdonealmostimmediatelyaftertheannouncementsothatthedatacouldbecollectedastheactualeventunfolded.TheprimarypurposeofthisresearchwastoinvestigatethesocialresponsetotheA-alert.Specificallythepublicwastargetedtoformthecoreoftheproject.Inaddition,governmentalagenciesandtheprivatesectorwerequestionedaboutwhateffect,ifany,theA-alerthadonthem.Questionsaskedcanbebrokendownintothreegeneralcategoriesincluding:1)HowdidthepUblicrespondtothe72hourwarning?DidthepUblictakeitseriouslyanddidtheyengageinpreparedness 2)Whatwastheofficialgovernmentresponse?Didagenciesprepareforapossibleearthquake?3)Howdoesthisalertdifferfromthatofoneyearago?Havegovernmentagencies,theprivatesectorandthepUblicchangedtheirattitudestowardtheParkfieldPredictionExperiment,theCaliforniaOfficeofEmergencyservices,andtheUSGSwiththeissuingofasecondalertthatdidnotoccur?7

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Thesethreeareaswerethefocuspointsinthisresearch.Theconcludingsectionsofthispaperdetailthealertitself,theresponsebydifferententitiesandfinallyconclusions.TheAlertDuringtheinitialyearsofthepredictionexperimentcriteriawereestablishedastowhatconstitutesanalert.BasedonworkbytheCEPECandtheParkfieldEarthquakePredictionResponsePlan,issuedbytheCaliforniaGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServicesin1988,sixlevelsofalertstatuswereestablished.ImportanttothisstudyarethethreehighestlevelsC, BandthehighestlevelA.WhentheUSGSpredictsthatthereisatleasta 37percentchanceofatypicalParkfieldearthquakeina72-hourtimeframetheA-alertisissued.AB-alertmeansan11to37percentlikelihoodofanearthquakeina72-hourtimeperiod.TheClevelisa2.8to11percentchanceofanearthquakeoccurringinthe72-hourtimeframe.Alloccurrencesthereforearefora72-hourtimeperiod,however,thehighestlikelihoodisimmediatelyfollowingtheannouncementofanalertandslowlydeterioratesastimepasses(Governor'sOfficeofEmergencyServices,1988).TherehavebeenseveralB-andC-alertsissuedoverthelifeoftheexperiment.Theseareonlygivenminorattentionbyboththepublicandthemedia.OnOctober19,1992,theUSGSissuedthefirstA-alert.ThiswasacteduponbytheCaliforniaGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServices(OES).Societallessons8

PAGE 11

learnedfromthatexperiencehavebeendocumented(FitzpatrickandO'Brien,1992).ThesecondalertcamefromtheCaliforniastateDirectorofOESinSacramentoonNovember14,1993,at5:49am.Themessageread:"TheUSGSinformedtheGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServicestodaythatthereisasignificantlikelihoodthatanearthquakeofaboutmagnitude6RwilloccurontheSanAndreasfaultnearParkfieldinthenext72hours".ThismessagewassenttoallsevencountyOESofficeslocatedintheeffectedregion.Thisalertwasissuedaftera4.8Rearthquakeoccurredat4:25amthemorningofNovember14,1993,withinfourmilesofParkfield(OESa1993).TheStateOESofficealerteditscountyofficesthroughtheteletypeandthenviafaxcommunications.TheSanLuisObispoCountyEmergencyOperationsCenter(EOC),theOESSouthernandInlandregions'EOCsandtheStateOperationsCenteractivatedonminimalstaffing.Monterey,Fresno,Kern,Kings,SanBenito,andSantaBarbaracountieswereallonstandby,althoughKerncountyactivateditsEOCbrieflythefirstday(OESb1993).ThelocalcountyOESofficesbegantheirstandardprocedures.Thefirstbeingacalldownprocedure.Thisnotifiespoliceandfiredepartments.Inaddition,citymanagersandotherhighlevelcountyandlocalauthoritiesarenotified.OncetheseactionsweretakentheOESofficesanswered fromthepublicandthemediaandwaited.9

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Research Methodology ThisresearchproceededwithindaysoftheUSGSannouncementoftheA-alert.Inordertogetintothefieldtocollectperishabledata, datacollectionmethodswereutilized.Uponarrivalatthetargetedareatheinterviewprocessbeganimmediately.ThisallowedfortheimmediategatheringofdataontheA-alertbeforepeoplelefttheareaandpUblicreactionwanedwithtime.Townsincludedinthisstudyare:SanLuisObispo,PasoRobles,Coalinga,andParkfield.ThisincludedSanLuisObispo,Kings,andFresnocounties.DatacollectionconcentratedonthesethreecountiessincetheyareinclosestproximitytotheSanAndreasfaultwherethepredictedearthquakewasmostlikelyto occur.Inaddition,PasoRobleswasseenasatownwhichlackedrecentexperiencewithearthquakes;Coalinga,theopposite,havingexperiencedadamagingearthquakein1983.Atotalof18interviewswithofficialsanddozenswiththepUblicwerecompletedduringthefieldwork.Thesampleincludedthreedifferentunitsofanalysis.ThefirstwerepublicofficialswhoareresponsiblefortheprotectionofthepUblic.ThesepUblicofficialscamefromalllevelsofgovernment.Localcity,county,andstateofficialswereinterviewedinthecourseofthisresearch.Examplesincluded:police,fire,CaliforniaHighway (CHP),andcountyOfficesofEmergencyServices.10

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Thesecondgroupofinterviewswereconductedwiththebusinesssector.Membersofthisgroupincluded:storesinallareasofretailtrade,banks,andavarietyofserviceindustrybusinesses.Allofthesebusinesswereselectedwiththefollowingpurpose.ItisthoughtthattheseserviceindustrybusinesseswouldbemoresensitivetothesocietaleffectoftheA-alertthanthemanufacturingsectorwhichdoesnothavedailycontactwiththegeneralpublic.Finallythethirdgroupincludedawidecross-sectionofthegeneralpUblic.InterviewswiththepUblicformthecoreofthisproject.Theiractions,reactions,andpersonalperceptionsofthepUblicresponsetotheAlertwereseenasthecentralfocusofthisinvestigation.Membersofdifferentsexes,racialandethnicbackgrounds,andsocialclassesweresoughtforthewidestcrosssectionofrespondentspossible.ThisgoalwasrealizedoverthecourseofthedataCOllection.Datawerecollectedconductingunstructuredinterviews.Withthelimitednumbersandkindsofinterviewscompleted,thedatacollectedcannotbegeneralizedbeyondthelimitedgeographicallyA-alertarea.FindingsPolice,fire,andofficesoftheCHPallhavespecificinstructiononwhattodo,andhowto perfqrm. Theyfollowedtheirstandardpre-scriptedprocedures.OfficesofEmergencyServicesperformaspecialroleintheseevents.Theyformthe11

PAGE 14

corecommunicationset-upforallotheragenciesandtrainforthesetypesofincidentsonanon-goingbasis.Again,aswiththepastA-alert,OESofficesperformedasplanned.Theydidtheirnotificationprocess.andseveralcountiessetuptheirEOCs.Alsocentraltotheirmissionisfieldingphonecallsfromthepublicaboutwhatthealertmeansforthem.ThestateOESofficeactivatedthestateOperationsCenterinSacramento.Inaddition,italerted,andactivatedtheregionalEOCs.LastlythestatesentalimitednumberofpersonneltoParkfieldtocoordinatethestate'sactivitiesandtobeavailableforthemedia.TheUSGSalsoactivatedsomeofitsemergencyplansoncetheannouncementoftheAlertbecameknown.TheUSGSmadestaffavailable,initsMenloParkheadquarters,toanswerquestions.Inaddition,theUSGSalsosentpersonneltoParkfieldtocoordinateactivitiesandtomakeitselfavailabletothemedia.ThemediaplayedacentralroleintheunfoldingeventsurroundingtheA-alert.Bothradioandtelevisionbeganrunningearthquakestoriesimmediatelyfollowingtheofficialannouncementofthealert.Thiswasfollowedupbyalargenumberofstoriesaboutthealertitself,inclUdingmitigation,andpreparednessactivitiesthatthepubliccouldandshouldtake.Ininterviewswithresidents,widespreadpraiseofthemedia'squickresponseandthoroughreportingonandabouttheeventwasnoted.12

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Thiswasalsotruefortheprintmedia.Itwasimpossibletopickupanewspaperduringafivedayperiodthatdidnothaveanalertoralertrelatedarticle.Theeventwastakenveryseriouslybythe mediaandconsiderablespacewasallottedtothestory.Someeditorialsquestionedthealertprocessitself,butthesearticleswereanexceedinglysmallproportionofallthearticlesthatprinted.Thishighlevelofprofessionalmediainvolvementistheresultofseveralalerts.Themediahashadtheopportunitytointeractwithgovernmentauthoritiesonseveraloccasionsnowandacloseworkingrelationshipisobvious.Theactorsinallareasofthealertaregaininganunderstandingofeachotherandthisresearcherfeelsthataleveloftrustisdeveloping.Inaddition,thepublicwantsinformationandthemediatriestofillthatdesire.Businessorganizationswereinterviewedintheaffectedareas.ThecitiesofSanLuisObispoandPasoRoblesreportedbusinessasusualfollowingthealert.Therewas,however,adifferentresponseinCoalinga.BusinessesinCoalingadidtakepreparednessactions,andreportedthesameforthepUblic.Businessesreportednotonlytheirheightenedawareness,butthatthepUblicrespondedbypurchasingwater,batteries,andotheremergencysupplies.ThereasonforthedifferentresponseisthoughttolieinthefactthatCoalinga has hadarecent(1983)damagingearthquakeunliketheothercities.Thisexperiencekeepsthethreatofpossibledamageatahigherlevelof13

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awareness.Thistheoryhasbeenborneoutbyotherresearch(FitzpatrickandO'Brien,1992).Thepublicresponsevariedbylocationasnotedaboveinthebusinessresponsetothealert.Dependingonwhereonewaslocatedhadarealimpactonthelevelofpreparedness.PreparednesswashighestinCoalingaandlowestinSanLuisObispoandPasoRobles.Everyoneknewofthealert,butfewactuallytookconcreteactionstoprepareforit.Ofallinterviewscompleted,notonesuggestedthatthepredictionexperimentshouldnotproceed.Thereweremany,however,whowerebeginningtoquestionthechancesoftheUSGShavingsuccesswiththeproject.Thepubliccanbebrokendownintothreedistinctgroups.ThefirstbelievedthealertandtookpreparednessactionsasrecommendedbytheirlocalOESoffices.Thesecondgroupsimplydidnotanddoesnotbelievethatearthquakepredictionispossibleandusedthatasajustificationtoignoreinformationgivenoutbyavarietyofsources.Thisgroupwasintheminority,butnevertheless,sizable.ThefinalgroupofthepUblicusestheUSGSpredictionsliterally.TheyfollowedrecommendationsandgivetheUSGScreditforperhapsmorepredictioncapabilitiesthantheyreallyhave.Ifthereisanalert,thentheygoonahigherlevelofawareness.Conversely,whenthereisnoUSGSalertineffect,14

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thenthereisnodanger.ThisgrouplivesinrealdangerinthattheyusetheUSGSalertsystemasafail-safesystemfortheirsafety.Ifnoalertis"on"thennodangerexists.ThisfinalgroupanditsreactionstothealertisthoughttobethemajorfindingcomingoutofthisQuickResponseGrant.Asnotedbefore,manyfindingscomingoutoftheParkfieldPredictionExperimentarenewandunique,giventheuniquenessoftheprojectitself.Neverbeforehasapublichadtodealwithapossibleearthquakepredictionandsubsequentalerts.HowthepUblicrespondstoalertsisofgreatimportancetopUblicsafety.Recommendationsonhowtodealwiththissegmentofthepopulationappearinthefinalconclusionsection.CODclusioDsThealertprocessisworkingwellincentralCalifornia.The 'USGSalertstheGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServices,whichinturnnotifiesallofitseffectedregions.ThisprocessworkedwellinthefirstA-alertofOctober19,1992,andagainonNovember14,1993.withalltheattentionfocusedontheParkfieldareaandtheA-alerts,severalnewproblemshavearisen.OneofthemainbarrierstobeovercomeiswhataretheUSGSandtheGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServicestodointhefuture?WorkingtogethertheyhavenowissuedtwoA-alerts,neitherofwhichhasresultedinthe"promised"earthquake.Many-peoplereportedthata"cry-wolf"syndromemighteventuallyhappeninthearea,butthatisnotyetthecase.Bothorganizationsenjoywide-spread15

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supportamongthepublic,especiallytheUSGS.Whetherthiswillremainthecaseisyettobeseen.Socialresearchonthe"crywolf"syndromehasbeencarriedout.ItsconclusionisthatiffalsealertsaregiventothepUblictherecanbeanadverseeffect.ThewaytoavoidthenegativeaffectistoexplaintothepUblicwhytherewerefalsealarms(SorensenandMileti,1989p.360).ThisisanareawhereboththeUSGSandtheCaliforniaOfficeofEmergencyServicesneedstoputtheiremphasisfollowingthissecondalert.Howmanyalerts,however,willittake?Onemore,threebeingthenumberorperhapsfourormaybefive?Thisquestionwasaskedduringallinterviews.Allhadadifferent"magical"number,butthreatorfearofonetoomanyfalsealertsisrealamongthepUblic,government,andtheprivatesector.Thustheexplainingofthefalsealertsneedstobeatoppriorityofallinvolvedagencies.Theexperimentitselfistakingscienceintonewunchartedterritoriesandthisholdstrueforgovernment,theprivatesectorandthepUblic.UnfortunatelynoonehasacrystalbaIlorpriorexperiencetoguidetheminthebestcourseofactiontotakeatthisjuncture.Thelimitedpastexperience,asnotedabove,wouldstronglysuggestasteadyflowofinformationtothepublicasthebestcourseofaction.TheUSGSandtheGovernor'sOfficeofEmergencyServicesnowfindthemselvesinanuncomfortableposition:whattodowhentheanomaliespresentthemselvesinthefuture.Whatdifferentactionsdotheseorganizations,chargedwiththepUblic's16

PAGE 19

welfare,dointhatevent?Toissuethealertistheresponsiblethingtodo.Losingtheircredibilityisthedangertotheseorganizations.AsuccessionoffalsealertscouldalsocreateapUblicthatno botherstoprepareandmitigate.Theotherpossiblescenarioisasunappealing:iftheanomaliesagainpresentthemselvesandtheUSGSinconjunctionwiththeStateOESofficeweretodonothing.Tofurthercomplicatetheprocessandanearthquakestrikes,whatwouldbetheendresult?NaturallytherewouldbeafullinvestigationofwhythepUblicwasnotwarned.TheUSGSandStateOESriskpoliticalannihilation,dependingontheseverityoftheearthquake.ThustheUSGSandstateOESofficeareinaveryuncomfortableandpotentiallydangerousCatch22.Anyscientistsandmostpeopleintheemergencymanagementfieldknowwhatanexperimentis.Itisnotsomethingthatisguaranteed,ratheritisanattempttolearnnewlessons.ThatdistinctionbetweensomethingthatisguaranteedandsomethingthatisforknowledgeacquisitionislostonmanyinthegeneralpUblic.Whentheyhearearthquakealert,theyreacttothatandnotthatthisisanexperiment.PerhapspubliceducationisneedednowmorethaneverbytheUSGSandothergovernmentalorganizationsdirectedatthepublic.TheStateOESofficeisawareofthisandhavecalledforare-evaluationoftheentirealertprocess.Thiswillbeeasiersaidthendone.One newpossibleapproachwonalmostinstantapprovalfromthelocalOESofficesinterviewed.Oneofthe17

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state'sregionalpeopleequatedthepredictiontotheweatherforecast.WhenthestateissuesanA-alertitshouldmeanthatthereisahigherchanceofanearthquake,butnotaguaranteeofone.Thiswouldnotbeunliketheweatherforecastthatpredictsa 30percentchanceofrain.OncerainispredicteddoesthatmeanthatthepUblicpanicsandstopstheirlives?No,ratheritmeansthatonetakesprudentmeasures,e.g.,takearaincoatwhenonegoesout.Intheeventofthepredictedearthquakeonewouldnotstopliving.Ratheronewouldtakeprudentmeasurestoprotectoneself,andone'sfamilyandproperty.Butthisadvicealsocarriespotentialrisk.Whilereadinganewspaperinarestaurantaboutthealert,thewaitresscameoverandsaidnottoworryaboutearthquakessincethealertwasover.Manyofthepublicarealreadytakingthesealertslikeweatherreports.Ifthereisnoreportthenthereisnodanger.Naturally this isnotthecase.ButmanyincentralCaliforniaarenowusingtheUSGSalertsystemasa waytodenyrisk.Itwon'thappeniftheUSGShasn'tannouncedit.ThisisleavingapUblicatriskopentodangeriftheyfeelthatnothingisguaranteedtohappeniftheUSGSdoesn'tsayso.Publicinformationisseenasplayingakeyroleintwomajorproblemsthathavecomeoutofthissecondalert.Thefirstproblemisdealingwiththefalsealertsandthesecondproblembeingpeopletakingthealertsliterally.CommontobothproblemsisapUblicthatismakingdecisionsbasedonnoorpoorinformation.Thesolutionappearstobetokeepthelinesof18

PAGE 21

communicationbetweentheUSGSandtheStateOESwiththepublicanongoingprocess.TheUSGShasbeenattheforefrontofusingbasicprinciplesofriskcommunicationinitspublicoutreacheffortstoinformthepUblic.TheUSGSneedstoredoubleitseffortstoensuresuccessoftheParkfieldPredictionExperiment.StateOESisinauniquepositiontohavelocalstaffthroughouttheaffectedregion,whichlendsitselftoamoreeffectiveoutreachifitistaskedtodosobymajorspowerswithinthatorganization.Thisalertleavesmorequestionsthananswers.Therearemanythingsthatnowneededtobedealtwithbeforethenextevent.Acoherentstrategyneedstobedevisedthatallpartiesareapart.Onlyinthiswaycantheexperimentproceedwiththenecessaryautonomyitneedstobesuccessful.TheprivatesectorandpUblicarewillingtogiveUSGSscientiststimetohavesuccessinthearea.ThepUblicultimatelyknowsthevalueofearthquakeprediction.ItisapublicthathasexperiencewithearthquakesinvaryingdegreesandwillgivetheUSGSthebenefitofthedoubt.Itisnot,however,apUblicthatwillendureendlessalertswithoutnegativeeffects.TheUSGSandstateOESneedtodevisearealisticpolicythatisunderstoodbythepUblicandthepUblicwillsupportit.19

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ReferencesFitzpatrick,ColleenandPaulW.O'Brien.1992."socialResponsetotheFirst"A"AlertoftheParkfieldEarthquakePredictionExperiment".FinalReporttotheNaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenter.TheUniversityofColoradoatBoulder.Governor'sOfficeofEmergencyServices.1988."ParkfieldEarthquakePredictionResponsePlan".Sacramento,CAStateofCaliforniaOfficeofEmergencyServices.Mileti,DennisS.andColleenFitzpatrick.1993.TheGreatEarthquakeExperiment:RiskCommunicationandPublicAction.westviewPress,Boulder,CO.Mileti,DennisS.andColleenFitzpatrick.1992."TheCausalSequenceofRiskCommunicationintheParkfieldEarthquakePredictionExperiment".RiskAnalysis12(3):393-400Mileti,DennisS.,ColleenFitzpatrickandBarbaraC.Farhar.1990."RiskCommunicationandPublicResponsetotheParkfieldEarthquakePredictionExperiment".FinalreporttotheNationalScienceFoundation.FortCollins,CO:HazardsAssessmentLaboratory,ColoradoStateUniversity.Mileti,DennisS.andJaniceR.Hutton.1987."InitialPublicResponsetotheApril51985ParkfieldEarthquakePrediction".Boulder,CO:theNaturalHazardsResearchApplicationsandInformationCenter,UniversityofColoradoOESa.1993."SituationReport#1".Nov14,1993,2:45P.M.SanLuisObispoCountyEOC.OESb.1993."SituationReport#2"November15,1993,8:15A.M.SanLuisObispoCountyEOC.Sorensen,JohnH.andDennisS.Mileti.1989."WarningSystemsforNuclearPowerPlantEmergencies".NuclearSafety,vol.30No.3,July-September358-370.20


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Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.