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Browsing by Subject "early warning systems"

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  • Sihvonen, Ida (2023)
    Research has identified the importance of understanding the connection between heat wave risk perception of elderly and their adaptation actions. In addition, developing more tailormade risk communication to elderly has been emphasized. The aim of this study is to understand how elderly citizens in the district of Töölö, Helsinki perceive the risk and adapt to increasing heat waves in a central part of the city and what the role of early warning systems (EWS) could be by collecting information through interviews on heat wave adaptation and risk communication. The qualitative data (N=6) consisted of transcribed interview data collected during February- March 2023. The data was analyzed through a thematic analysis and through using both a deductive and an inductive process, main themes and subthemes were identified within the data. The theory used in the deductive process was the Protection Motivation Theory in order to test if the theory could be used in this context. The results show that the personal risk perception and general risk perception varies for elderly and adaptive actions are in general taken to protect oneself from heat waves. However, Töölö as a high exposure area does not clearly increase the amount of adaptation actions but can rather offer benefits through its geographical position by the sea. The elderly’s interest in improving heat wave risk communication through an early warning system in Finland is noticeable. However, the final role of the system still remains open, and skepticism was expressed about the real need of a system in Finland. The results highlight that the elderly’s personal risk perception is rather independent of their adaptation actions, and they still adapt to heat waves, even when they perceive the threat as low. The results also highlighted that the elderly use multiple information sources to follow updates on heat waves, but the ideal risk communication media needs to be determined to develop an early warning system according to the needs of vulnerable risk groups such as elderly.