Information seeking in a flood

Ryan, Barbara ORCID: (2013) Information seeking in a flood. Disaster Prevention and Management, 22 (3). pp. 229-242. ISSN 0965-3562


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to address the gaps in knowledge about how people get information in a flood and what they want to know.
Design/methodology/approach: A total of 27 people were interviewed from two communities that suffered flooding in the 12 months before the interviews. Slow-moving flood and flash flood were covered.
Findings: The type of disaster determines how people seek information. In slow-moving flood, people heard from others, tracked it visually and via web-available river gauge information, and talked to others with more flood experience. Radio was an important confirmation tool in the slow-moving flood. In flash flood, people first heard from others and then turned to television.
Research limitations/implications: Participants made up a small sample skewed toward regional areas and were selected by snowball/convenience sampling methods. A survey is required to confirm or refute findings.
Practical implications: Word of mouth needs to be tapped into by agencies, and mobile phone networks and social media are critical to this. Radio and television should be more proactively used by emergency agencies and maps should be a feature of all flood communication.
Originality/value: The focus of disaster communication research tends to have been on agency use of communication rather than the individual's use of a range of communication channels. This study encourages agencies to look at how individuals look for information, the channels they use to get information and the type of information they seek.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Apr 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Apr 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2013 23:35
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2020 04:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: communication; natural disaster; emergency; floods; information source; information-seeking; radio; social media
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370903 Natural hazards
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
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