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Decentralized community-run early warning systems are a low-cost technology for improving disaster preparedness run by local community members. These systems represent a shift from the top-down approach to disaster management toward one at the community level, allowing members of vulnerable communities to establish and run early warning systems on their own. The community members use simple equipment to forecast potential natural disasters such as floods, landslides and drought, and operate a communication/dissemination system to inform other local residents of impending threats. Effective early warning systems increase the lead-time before a potential disaster and allow for community and disaster response teams to prepare for the disaster and mitigate its impacts. The projected increase in the number and severity of extreme weather events makes this technology important for climate change adaptation efforts, particularly in smaller communities where installation of expensive large-scale systems may not be feasible. The low costs associated with this technology, and the added capacity of local communities to monitor and manage the early warning systems improve local preparedness, reducing damage to livelihoods and infrastructure.