Integrating direct messaging with flood alerts and warnings: insights into effectiveness from a registered public user population

Alistair Geddes (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew R. Black, Michael D. Cranston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Direct messaging involving simultaneous mass transmission of brief text or voice messages to large numbers of recipients has become a frontline method in flood hazard communications. Messages are intended to serve as cues, drawing recipients' attention to changing conditions, yet the actual effectiveness of direct messaging among recipient groups remains under-examined. This article considers direct messaging within the Floodline public flood warning service in Scotland, implemented by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Within Floodline, messaging is integrated with alerting and warning information, termed straightforwardly ‘Flood Alerts’ and ‘Flood Warnings’. Collaborating with SEPA, we conducted an online questionnaire survey of registered Floodline direct messaging recipients. In this article, our analysis focusses specifically on responses to three open-ended questions included in this survey, with an iterative qualitative coding approach employed to interpret themes of meaning from the question responses. This analysis gives a clear indication that recipients value Floodline and direct messaging. However, there are also questions raised over the utility of Flood Alerts and related messaging, which we elaborate in the findings and discussion, along with the scope for adding content, linking to other information, and developing closer relationships. Changes being developed by SEPA align with several of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12972
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
Early online date17 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2024


  • Direct messaging
  • Flood risk communication
  • Flood warning
  • Public understanding
  • Qualitative research
  • flood warning
  • direct messaging
  • flood risk communication
  • qualitative research
  • public understanding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Environmental Engineering


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