Research Papers

Abstract

Effective warning can be life-saving in the event of an emergency. The pervasiveness of smartphones among the population affords public authorities a distributed network they can leverage for emergency notification. In Germany, for instance, warning apps (e.g., NINA, Katwarn) are integrated within emergency warning systems (EWS) authorities use for emergency communication. Online reviews by users of two major warning apps, however, indicate the public is mildly unsatisfied with how they communicate emergency-related information. Drawing on a representational perspective of information systems, we postulate that the intended use of EWS is enabling the population to retrieve faithful digital representations of emergencies for informing protective counteractions. We test this theoretical claim by analyzing warning app online reviews and interviews with emergency management experts. In doing so, we identified 11 enabling dimensions of effective use of mobile-enabled warning systems. The dimensions constitute a model for studying the effective use of EWS from a representational theory perspective.

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