Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Ross B. Corotis

Second Advisor

Abbie B. Liel

Third Advisor

Nevis E. Cook


Within this thesis is a new way for policy makers to incorporate sociology and human perception of risk into their hazard mitigation plans. Previous methods used only dollar losses from natural hazard events as the statistic by which to make decisions. Disregarding how people view natural hazards can cause lack of compliance of emergency plans. This could lead to an even greater disaster. New graphs have been created that combine the typical risk assessment factors, such as death, injury, and economic loss, and human perception of risk. The framework includes risk perception by plotting natural hazards on the axes of dread versus familiarity. These two created parameters represent the largest range of an individual's risk perception as studied by social scientists. Knowing where a hazard stands in terms of risk perception can help policy makers adequately prepare for future events.