Towards a general system design for community-centered crisis and emergency warning systems
Early Warning Systems (EWS) provide an effective measure for better disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation. The effectiveness of EWS depends highly on the ability to distribute alert message to the persons that will be affected. In this context mobile devices play already a vital role in the ability to reach people in time and at the endangered location. Most existing approaches focus on mass dissemination methods via SMS and Cell-Broadcasting. As these approaches are effective to inform masses about a disaster with one message for all they have their weaknesses in telling the people how to respond according to their location and provide individual guidance (e.g. by maps) within specific communities. Research in disaster management gives strong evidence that the later is often crucial for better disaster response. Accordingly, we witness an increasing demand for more community-centered warnings systems solutions. This paper introduces the general foundations and architecture for alert services on mobile devices that adapt incoming alert information to the profile and situation of user groups and even individual users. The approach is scalable for different communitycentered warning systems. Its first applicability and community engagement effects are shown in the example of the community-centered public disaster alert system in Germany and a target group specific weather hazard alert system, KATWARN and WIND with currently over 2.5 million subscribed users, which was developed by the authors.