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 September 20, 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 September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) 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