Online flood alerts boost UK warning system

People will be able to sign up for flood alerts online as part of a £4.2m deal to bolster the UK's early warning system

People will be able to sign up for flood alerts online as part of a £4.2m deal to bolster the UK's early warning system.

Fujitsu Services will continue to run the Floodline Warnings Direct (FWD) system for another two years under the agreement with the Environment Agency (EA).

Since its introduction in 2006 FWD has raised the alarm with 99 percent of users within 30 minutes of an alert being issued by the EA.

The map-based system, run from Fujitsu's datacentres, pinpoints the locations of FWD's 330,000 users and allows area-specific flood warnings to be swiftly routed to the right people.

The FWD system alerts emergency services simultaneously with residents, raising the alarm through telephone, fax, SMS, email or pager.

The first change to the system under the contract extension will allow online registration later this year.

Stephen Biddle, head of flood-risk process management at the EA, told ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com, it is a vital system for the five million people in England and Wales living in flood-risk areas.

He said: "The Floodline Warnings Direct system allows us to issue thousands of warnings in a very short period of time, and when we are dealing with an increasing amount of rainfall we need to get this information out very quickly. Before we had this national system we had to rely on a number of different teams issuing their own warnings."