Over the last century natural disasters have increased both in frequency and severity, killing thousands of people and costing trillions of dollars (United Nations, 2015). Despite the fact that natural hazard mitigation reduces fatalities and saves significant amounts of money (Godschalk et al., 2009; National Institute of Building Sciences, 2018), communities are still underprepared (Ablah et al., 2010; Bourque et al., 2012). Using two research experiments, my research uses the Protective Action Decision Model (PADM; Lindell & Perry, 2004; 2012) to investigate whether educational strategies are effective, change attitudes, and motivate household preparedness. The first study investigates how the use of natural hazard map best practices influences university students’ comprehension of risk. The second is a longitudinal study that investigates preparedness levels, perceptions of risk, and behavioral change among residents of the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. This research will refine risk communication best practices and substantiate relationships between components of the PADM to better understand what motivates individuals to prepare.