Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Use of media can save lives in bad storms

Date:
December 30, 2013
Source:
Medical University of Vienna
Summary:
The number and intensity of storms and other extreme weather events are on the increase all over the world. The latest study by the Medical University of Vienna in cooperation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the example of one of the largest American series of tornados of all times to show that the risk of injury can be reduced significantly with the use of certain media.

The number and intensity of storms and other extreme weather events are on the increase all over the world. The latest study by the Medical University of Vienna in cooperation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the example of one of the largest American series of tornados of all times to show that the risk of injury can be reduced significantly with the use of certain media.

Several dozen tornados struck in April 2011 across Southeast USA and made for an image of devastation. Thomas Niederkrotenthaler from the Centre for Public Health of the Medical University of Vienna used this third-largest series of tornados in the history of the USA as an opportunity to conduct a study, which just appeared in the latest edition of the international top journal PLOS ONE.

Television and social media offer particularly good protection

Together with his research team, Niederkrotenthaler investigated the behavioral factors which reduce or increase the risk of injury. The researchers particularly concentrated on the media use by those affected, which had never been scientifically investigated in this context so far. The results of the study show that people who used media intensively for education during the series of tornados, had a significantly less risk of injury. Television and Internet were mainly protective and warnings via social media such as Twitter and Facebook particularly in this case.

"The media carried out excellent work. It accurately predicted the streets and the locations through which the tornados would pass, and continuously provided information about changes in the predictions. The corresponding media users could thus effectively protect themselves from the consequences of the storms," says Niederkrotenthaler. "The great protective effect of media has its cause in an important characteristic feature of tornados because unlike hurricanes, its exact course can only be predicted shortly before its arrival. The target forecast lead time of the US National Weather Service is just 15 minutes."

Adapting the US prevention guidelines on the basis of the Medical University of Vienna/CDC study

The media is however also important for another reason: Approximately 20 percent of the injuries are caused only after a tornado, mainly during the cleaning-up operations. Toppling trees and accidents with chain saws are especially dangerous and rather frequent. This was an outcome that led to an adaptation of the American prevention guidelines. Niederkrotenthaler also says: "The tornado prevention guidelines were adapted as an outcome of our study. The media now informs the citizens that they need to be particularly careful after tornados as well."

The internationally composed research team identified a visit to shelters and cellar rooms as another important protective factor. Niederkrotenthaler said, "As a whole, factors of primary prevention mainly save lives in such cases. In Alabama alone there were 212 deaths due to the tornado outbreak; however, most of the victims did not make it to a hospital, which emphasizes the relevance of primary prevention." Tornado sirens also correspondingly made a significant contribution to protecting the civil population. They did sound quite frequently because of false alarms, but those affected have surprisingly not become hardened because of that -- on the contrary: "People, who had already heard the sirens before when a tornado actually struck, protected themselves better than others even during the series of tornados which we investigated," says Niederkrotenthaler.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical University of Vienna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Erin M. Parker, Fernando Ovalle, Rebecca E. Noe, Jeneita Bell, Likang Xu, Melissa A. Morrison, Caitlin E. Mertzlufft, David E. Sugerman. Injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress following Historic Tornados: Alabama, April 2011. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e83038 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083038

Cite This Page:

Medical University of Vienna. "Use of media can save lives in bad storms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131230101434.htm>.
Medical University of Vienna. (2013, December 30). Use of media can save lives in bad storms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131230101434.htm
Medical University of Vienna. "Use of media can save lives in bad storms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131230101434.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins