Fujitsu enhances Future Flood Warnings System to Environment Agency

Posted: Tuesday 5th April 2016

Provides a major development to existing systems bringing flood notification to more digital platforms.

Fujitsu today has announced it has been awarded a £4.6 million contract with the Environment Agency to provide its Future Flood Warning System to notify the public when their property is at risk of flooding.

Since 2004 Fujitsu, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales have been working together to deliver flood warnings which, from its early beginnings as a free subscription based telephony system, has become a multi-channel flood warning system supporting 1.2 million properties in flood risk areas. To date the system has sent over 20 million messages to the public and Emergency Services and helps reduce the impact of flooding by ensuring that households and businesses at high risk of flooding receive direct alerts.

The Environment Agency's Future Flood Warning System incorporates the latest digital enhancements. Based on virtualised cloud technologies it will provide a warning-as-a-service platform that will extend the reach of flood warnings to more people, communities and businesses. The system will help them prepare for flooding by providing faster and more convenient warnings as well as reducing Environment Agency spend on the current system by 40 percent.

Currently people are notified either by phone, email or by a text message that provides a contact number to call for further information. Messages are also sent to the media as well as the Emergency Services and other response partners including local authorities, to notify the public at risk and to help provide a coordinated response.

The new system will also be used by Natural Resources Wales to provide flood warnings to nearly 100,000 people at risk of river and coastal flooding in Wales. In preparation for the new system, Natural Resources Wales have continued to work in partnership with the Environment Agency to fund and develop the new system.

The new system will extend the reach through additional digital channels, such as social media, transforming the system and bringing new capabilities to meet the expectations of people using digital technologies. People will be able to download a smartphone app which can deliver flood warnings on the move, providing richer content via whatever channels people prefer, giving them more information and more time to react. In addition to the traditional means of pushing communication out to the public by phone, Fujitsu's solution for the Environment Agency also integrates new pull channels allowing people to choose how, when and where they receive warnings.

"Flood warnings are a vital lifeline for people at risk of flooding, giving them time to act early to protect their belongings and get themselves and loved ones to safety," explained Craig Woolhouse, Acting Director Incident Management and Resilience at the Environment Agency. "Our free service currently benefits 1.2 million people and the new system will offer even more choice over how people receive warnings. Flood warnings save lives and we are constantly looking at ways to improve and expand the service so that people at risk of flooding have valuable time to prepare."

Andy Wall, Flood Risk Manager at Natural Resources Wales said: "With fast responding rivers, flooding in Wales can often happen very quickly. To provide a flood warning system in this context, we need a system we can rely on to issue warnings quickly and reliably to our English and Welsh language customers. We are therefore pleased to continue our relationship with Fujitsu and to continue to build on the success of the last decade."

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to work together with the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to further develop the flood warning system and to meet the increasingly digital needs of citizens and government," said Steven Cox, Executive Director and Vice President for Public Sector, UK & Ireland, Fujitsu. "Based on our collaborative experience providing a very resilient service that has already proved itself time and again, it's great to help transform the system building on some of our core strengths including Cloud and Digital and to help make a difference to people's lives."

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