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

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

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).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Paul W. O'Brien.
General Note:
"Final report. December 1993"--P. 1.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001985434
oclc - 299086172
usfldc doi - F57-00019
usfldc handle - f57.19
System ID:
SFS0001100:00001


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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