The Human Dimension of Early Warning. A viewpoint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami prompted global efforts to develop end-to-end multi-hazard warning systems. Taking this event as a starting point, and drawing on experiences from the following advancement of the Indonesian tsunami early warning system, this paper aims to highlight the importance of paying attention to human factors and the perceptions and behaviors of end recipients when trying to design efficient early warning systems.

Design/methodology/approach – The study is a viewpoint where theoretical
frameworks for the design of efficient early warning systems are used as backdrop to an extensive review and analysis of secondary data, including scientific papers and newspaper articles.

Findings – The paper presents what an end-to-end warning system means, explores process problems related to perception and communication and concludes with views and recommendations toward more inclusive early warnings.

Originality/value – Research and practice related to early warning systems have traditionally had a strong focus on technological elements whilst the target groups of early warnings (i.e. communities) have received far less attention and resources. This paper focuses on the human dimension of warning systems and uses a real case to exemplify how efficient warning systems not only require a sound scientific and technological basis, but also depend on the awareness, trust and will of the people they aim to protect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 11

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences
  • Other Civil Engineering
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • Early warning
  • Risk analysis
  • Vulnerability
  • Risk perception
  • Tsunami
  • Risk reduction


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