chapter  1
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Understanding the interaction between accessibility of Wireless Emergency Alerts and behavioral response
WithDeeDee Bennett, Salimah LaForce

Mobile text alerts are one of many channels used to send and receive emergency messages. Currently, there are several ways to use mobile text alerts for risk messaging, including through downloaded device applications, subscription-based services, social media, and the Integrated Public Alert and Warnings System (IPAWS). This chapter focuses on Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), a component of IPAWS, and outlines the strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and threats (SWOT) to the intended goal of WEAs, namely to elicit protective action responses. The content presented in this chapter is based in part on a summary of findings from extant research and development efforts including focus groups, a survey of FEMA-approved alert authorities, and surveys of populations at risk who receive WEAs. This approach will examine the effectiveness of WEAs along a continuum, from the creation of messages by alert originators and the provision of WEA by wireless service providers to the accessibility of the receipt of WEA messages by the general public, with special emphasis on people with disabilities. Findings show that WEAs and other text-messaging based alerts have different implications for the protective action response sought by alert authorities.