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“You Are Here”: Assessing the Inclusion of Maps in a Campus Emergency Alert System


Emergency alerts are typically sent through mobile devices and email and are a means by which to notify students of threats or hazards on campus. Alerts that include maps help illustrate the significance of a threat and improve understanding when designed correctly. This study of a college campus examines how maps can clarify who should take protective action by specifying the location of the threat in relation to the user, and whether maps affect risk perception, intended action, and trust in the message source. Results indicate a significant difference in perceptions of risk susceptibility between participants exposed to a long‐distance map, a short‐distance map, and no map, and participants exposed to the shooting condition reported significantly higher measures of negative emotions, risk susceptibility, risk severity, and behavioural intention. Findings indicate that while personalized maps improve risk susceptibility, they cannot work alone in affecting other message response factors and may be most useful when paired with highly specific warning messages. The results of this study are useful to practitioners developing or improving emergency alert systems.

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Full Citation:

Cain, Lauren, Emina Herovic, and Kevin Wombacher. 2021. '“You Are Here”: Assessing the Inclusion of Maps in a Campus Emergency Alert System.' Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (March). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-5973.12358

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