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Wong-Parodi, Fischhoff, & Strauss (2018). Effect of risk and protective decision aids on flood preparation in vulnerable communities

Bibliographic details:

Wong-Parodi, G., Fischhoff, B., & Strauss, B. (2018). Effect of risk and protective decision aids on flood preparation in vulnerable communities. Weather, climate, and society, 10(3), 401-417.


Although the risks of flooding demand responses by communities and societies, there are also many cost-effective actions that individuals can take. The authors examine two potential determinants of such adoption: individual predisposition to act and the impact of decision aids that emphasize the risk, the actions, both, or neither (control). Respondents are a representative sample (N = 1201) of individuals in the areas most heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The authors find that, in the overall sample, seeing protective actions coupled with risk information or alone produced higher rates of individuals reporting that they intended to take action preparing for future storms, compared to a control group receiving no additional information. Moreover, that occurred despite the aids reducing their perceptions of risk. The authors find that individuals who reported having taken previous action are more responsive to decision aid messages with the exception of the combined message (risk and protective actions)—which had a positive effect on those who had not acted previously, but a negative effect on those who had. These results suggest that, in communities that already are aware of their flood risks, the critical need is for authoritative, comprehensible information regarding the most feasible and cost-effective protective actions that they can take. Providing such information requires analysis to determine which actions qualify and a design process that incorporates user feedback to ensure that recommendations are easily understood and credible.