Disaster Management Manual
A manual for practitioners and decision makers!

You are here Know the risks and act

Identify, assess, and monitor disaster risks – and enhance early warning. To reduce vulnerability to natural hazards, countries and communities must know the risks that they face, and take actions based on that knowledge.

Understanding risk requires investment in scientific, technical, and institutional capabilities to observe, record, research, analyze, forecast, model and map natural hazards. Tools need to be developed and disseminated: statistical information about disaster events, risk maps, disaster vulnerability and risk indicators are essential. Most importantly, countries need to use this knowledge to develop effective early warning systems, appropriately adapted to the unique circumstances of the people at risk. Early warning is widely accepted as a crucial component of disaster risk reduction. When effective early warning systems provide information about a hazard to a vulnerable population, and plans to act, thousands of lives can be saved.

Earthquake early warning systems are in use in Japan, Mexico, Romania, China, Turkey, Italy, and Taiwan. and the United States.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) manages ShakeAlert®, an early warning system for the West Coast of the United States. 1

 Figure ShakeAlert

‘The most important component of an earthquake early warning system is a dense network of seismic and geodetic stations with robust communications. Future development of the warning system will include the installation of larger numbers of seismic stations and upgrading station telecommunications. The current seismic station densities in California are currently much lower than the Japanese public alert system. New sensors are needed in California to reduce earthquake detection times allowing warnings to be issued faster.’ 2

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