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The Human Side of Mass Notification



Erica D. Kuligowski


On February 19, 2009, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) held a Federal Workshop on Mass Notification Messages. Participants from 12 federal agencies attended to discuss issues surrounding warning the public, building occupants, and other organizations during an emergency. The workshop, in addition to being a networking success, brought 37 federal employees and others around the table to discuss different perspectives and ideas surrounding mass notification messages and information dissemination during emergencies. This paper will focus on the results from the NIST federal workshop and required next steps to improve the human side of mass notification. First, the paper will discuss the current state of mass notification messages within the federal agencies that participated in the workshop. The paper will also describe the gaps and needs identified by the federal workshop participants as well as the social science-based research that can aid in closing some of these gaps. Social science literature has identified certain factors of a message that are shown to influence public or occupant response. These factors and other human factors that influence response will be identified. The paper will conclude with a discussion of future steps in research and application needed to improve mass notification messaging.
Conference Dates
February 16-19, 2010
Conference Location
Orlando, FL
Conference Title
2010 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference


mass notification, emergency communication, notification technology, human behavior


Kuligowski, E. (2010), The Human Side of Mass Notification, 2010 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference, Orlando, FL, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created January 8, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017