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FEMA Released Research Findings to Improve Public Messaging for Evacuations and Sheltering-in-Place

FEMA released “Improving Public Messaging for Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place” The report includes research findings and recommendations emergency managers can use to frame messaging to provide effective warnings, help community members understand risk, and increase compliance with recommended evacuation or shelter-in-place protective actions. This research also includes strategies to help emergency managers understand complexities in individual and household decision-making.

FEMA examined over 120 published peer-reviewed articles to answer five essential research questions drawn from the Protective Action Decision Model:

  • How do environmental and social cues affect individuals’ attention and response to evacuation and sheltering-in-place guidance?
  • How do warning messages, information sources and channels affect the message receiver’s beliefs and behaviors?
  • What individual and family characteristics affect beliefs and behaviors relative to evacuation and sheltering-in-place guidance?
  • How do awareness and perceptions of different threats and hazards affect decision-making?
  • What are the impediments to positive behavioral response? What situational factors tend to support public response to evacuation and sheltering-in-place guidance?

FEMA created research support resources for use by state, local, territorial and tribal partners. These resources enhance the guidance provided FEMA’s “Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place, Guidance for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Partners” publication.  

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