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Hazard information management during the autumn 2004 reawakening of Mount St. Helens volcano, Washington: Chapter 24 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006

Professional Paper 1750-24

This report is Chapter 24 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006. For more information, see: Professional Paper 1750
By:
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Edited by:
David R. Sherrod, William E. Scott, Peter H. Stauffer

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Abstract

The 2004 reawakening of Mount St. Helens quickly caught the attention of government agencies as well as the international news media and the public. Immediate concerns focused on a repeat of the catastrophic landslide and blast event of May 18, 1980, which remains a vivid memory for many individuals. Within several days of the onset of accelerating seismicity, media inquiries increased exponentially. Personnel at the U.S. Geological Survey, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest soon handled hundreds of press inquiries and held several press briefings per day. About one week into the event, a Joint Information Center was established to help maintain a consistent hazard message and to provide a centralized information source about volcanic activity, hazards, area closures, and media briefings. Scientists, public-affairs specialists, and personnel from emergency-management, health, public-safety, and land-management agencies answered phones, helped in press briefings and interviews, and managed media access to colleagues working on science and safety issues. For scientists, in addition to managing the cycle of daily fieldwork, challenges included (1) balancing accurate interpretations of data under crisis conditions with the need to share information quickly, (2) articulating uncertainties for a variety of volcanic scenarios, (3) minimizing scientific jargon, and (4) frequently updating and effectively distributing talking points. Success of hazard information management during a volcanic crisis depends largely on scientists’ clarity of communication and thorough preplanning among interagency partners. All parties must commit to after-action evaluation and improvement of communication plans, incorporating lessons learned during each event.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hazard information management during the autumn 2004 reawakening of Mount St. Helens volcano, Washington: Chapter 24 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1750-24
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Volcano Hazards Program
Description:
15 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
First page:
505
Last page:
519
Number of Pages:
15
Country:
United States
State:
Washington
Other Geospatial:
Mount St. Helens