If this city could talk Improving flood resilience in Newcastle

Residents and visitors to Newcastle can find out how to become more resilient to flooding by having a virtual conversation with an everyday item on the street.

The Environment Agency and Newcastle City Council have launched a pilot with Hello Lamp Post to mark the tenth anniversary of “Thunder Thursday,” which saw a month’s worth of rail fall within two hours – on 28 June 2012 – flooding 500 homes in the city.

Hello Lamp Post allows people to have 2-way ‘chats’ with objects in their local environment. QR codes have been attached to the Quayside and around the University, with more to come in different locations; anyone with a smartphone can scan the QR code or text the number on the sign to begin a conversation.

Users will be able to find out what measures they can take to reduce their own flood risk in a digestible, informative and playful way. Information around climate change and relevant special events that are happening nearby can also be provided.

Studies have shown that taking steps to prepare for flooding and knowing what to do in a flood can significantly reduce the damages to a home and possessions, reduce risk to life, and reduce the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future.

The first interactive objects are now live at Newcastle Quayside and the Urban Science Building at Newcastle University.

Alex Scaife, Flood Resilience Engagement Advisor, for the Environment Agency, said:

We know the devastating impact flooding can have which is why community engagement has always been a key part of our flood defence work. We’re always looking for new and better ways to talk to people and now we can reach residents and visitors as they are walking through the city.

This clever piece of modern technology will explain all the whys, what and the what ifs of flood risk and resilience. I would encourage everyone in Newcastle to try out this new, interactive service.

To find out if you are living in a flood risk area and for information about how to sign up for flood alerts visit: Check for flooding in England

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