Help available for groups to communicate during flood incidents
Tue, 05/31/2022 - 11:32
Free help is available for groups to support effective communications during flood incidents. The offer is from Yorkshire iCASP (Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme) and consists of an interactive engagement exercise that can be held virtually or in person. The offer will run until the end of the summer.
The exercise is ideal as a training tool and would be useful for anyone who has a role in communicating during flooding incidents. This could be flood wardens, members of community groups and anyone with a duty or resilience focused role across risk management authorities, including the Environment Agency, Flood Resilience Forums and emergency services.
The goal is to help overcome challenges associated with communicating flood risk during an incident and facilitate best practice to help make us more resilient, especially in the light of the increased risk of flooding as a result of climate change.
The aims of the exercise are: to improve understanding of roles and responsibilities during a flood; to promote better understanding of effective messaging to reach the right people at the right time; to improve ways of communicating technical aspects of flooding, such as their magnitude and frequency in a user friendly way; and to consider how to support effective relationships between risk management authorities and people vulnerable to flooding, including those who are in hard-to-reach groups.
The exercise has been developed as part of iCASP's Communicating Flood Risk project, which was set up in response to a request from Risk Management Authorities who wanted to improve how they communicate during flood events. Project partners include Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency, City of York Council and the Living With Water Partnership.
The West Yorkshire Community Risk Register places severe weather and flooding as one of the four “very high” risks to the Yorkshire and Humber region. In light of the three winter storms in just one month in February 2022 (Dudley, Eunice and Franklin - see this BBC news story), which caused widespread impacts including floods, deaths, power cuts, travel disruption and a landslide and evacuation, this is proving to be a useful exercise says iCASP, which has been busy running sessions.
"We have hosted virtual exercises for teams in the East Midlands and National Environment Agency staff around the country. More recently our team has held face-to-face exercises for officers from Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Fire Service (WYFRS)," said Communications Officer Cath Seal
Some of the positive comments the iCASP team have received from participants are:
“Overall, we found this to be extremely valuable learning. We learned about the complexity of the networks involved in flood resilience and the need for effective communication between disparate groups, from Government, down to engaged members of the public and those who can’t or won’t engage.”
“I really enjoyed that we were together as a team and that we could get time away from the day job to really dig deep into some of these issues. It is a really good use of time for anyone who is involved in flooding or who is interested in flooding or maybe who doesn’t know much about it but would like to should really consider taking part as it opens up your mind to issues you wouldn’t have thought about.”
The courses are being run groups of six people and bookings can be made online. They are particularly keen to target flood wardens, community groups and mixed groups with members from different organisations.
If you would like to know more about the course then please get in touch by emailing Farhana Naz, project support officer at F.Naz@leeds.ac.uk or Jenny Armstrong, impact translation fellow at J.C.Armstrong@leeds.ac.uk or email@example.com