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Developing warning and disaster response capacity in the tourism sector in coastal Washington, USA


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Johnston, DM, Becker, J, Gregg, CE, Houghton, B, Paton, D, Leonard, G and Garside, R 2007 , 'Developing warning and disaster response capacity in the tourism sector in coastal Washington, USA' , Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 16, no. 2 , 210 - 216 , doi: 10.1108/09653560710739531.

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Purpose – There has been a considerable effort over the last decade to increase awareness of the
tsunami risk in coastal Washington, USA. However, contemporary research on warning systems
spawned by the recent Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy highlights the need for development of an
effective tsunami warning system for both residents and transient populations, including visitors and
tourists. This study sets out evaluate staff training for emergencies, emergency management exercises
(including drills and evacuation), and hazard signage within motels and hotels in Ocean Shores,
Washington, USA.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from interviews with reception staff and
managers at 18 hotels, motels, and other accommodation establishments.
Findings – Levels of staff training and preparedness for tsunami and other hazards were found to be
generally very low, although examples of “best practice” were found at a select few establishments.
Larger hotels already had orientation or general training programmes set up which had the potential
to incorporate future tsunami and hazard training, while smaller “owner-operator” businesses did not.
Research limitations/implications – Suggestions on how to improve preparedness are discussed,
including undertaking training needs analyses and conducting workshops, simulations and employee
training to empower both businesses and employees.
Originality/value – This case study provides an insight into the challenges faced by emergency
managers and the tourism sector in improving the effectiveness of warning systems in areas with high
transient populations.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Johnston, DM and Becker, J and Gregg, CE and Houghton, B and Paton, D and Leonard, G and Garside, R
Keywords: Tidal waves, Response time, Training, Natural disasters, United States of America
Journal or Publication Title: Disaster Prevention and Management
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISSN: 0965-3562
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/09653560710739531
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