UK among first EU countries to receive Google Flood Alerts

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

The UK has become one of the first countries in Europe where people will be able to receive flood alerts on their computer, phone or personal device through the Google Public Alerts map.

Alerts used at Whaley Bridge

Residents at Whaley Bridge were able to access the Environment Agency's flood warnings through Google for the first time this week.

Flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency will now appear on Google Search and the Google Public Alerts map with live alerts becoming visible on personal devices in a matter of seconds once they have been issued.

Vital information

These flood warnings will also include vital information on steps people can take to keep themselves and their property safe when flooding is expected. 

This is another important step to help lower the number of people who are affected by the devastating consequences of flooding through early warnings and advice messaging, the UK Environment Agency said.

The Environment Agency has been working closely with Google for two years to design and implement this service in England.

Early warning: UK now has access to Google Flood Alerts

The service has already been rolled out in the USA, South America and parts of Asia to alert residents to environmental emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires and extreme temperatures. 

Additionally, the service has recently also gone live in Germany, where Google have collaborated with the German Met Office (DWD).

The Environment Agency already sends flood warnings and alerts to over 1.4 million properties in England which have signed up to a text, email and automated phone call service.

Greater access

However, Google Public Alerts will give even greater access and visibility to this key public warning service through tens of millions of personal devices, helping people to stay safe when flooding hits.

Flood Warnings

The Environment Agency issues 3 levels of flood warnings: Flood Alert, Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning.

  • Flood Alert – Prepare. Flooding is possible.
  • Flood Warning – Act. Flooding is expected. Immediate action required.
  • Severe Flood Warning – Survive. Severe flooding. Danger to life.

“This pioneering service will ensure that our live flood warnings and safety advice reaches even more people when it is most needed, giving UK residents access to the first service of this kind in Europe”, said John Curtin, Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency.

“We are always looking to find innovative ways to give people advance warning of potential flood risk so they can take action to keep themselves and their property safe. 

“We will continue to work closely with Google to explore ways in which we can further develop this fundamental public warning service.”

Malte Will from the Social Impact Partnerships team at Google said: “We are very excited about the collaboration with the UK Environment Agency that will enable users to find authoritative information on severe weather conditions in real time.”

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