VigiFlood: Evaluating the Impact of a Change of Perspective on Flood Vigilance
Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management
Emergency managers receive communication training about the importance of being 'first, right and credible', and taking into account the psychology of their audience and their particular reasoning under stress and risk. But we believe that citizens should be similarly trained about how to deal with risk communication. In particular, such messages necessarily carry a part of uncertainty since most natural risks are difficult to accurately forecast ahead of time. Yet, citizens should keep
... the emergency communicators even after they made forecasting errors in the past. We have designed and implemented a serious game called Vigiflood, based on a real case study of flash floods hitting the South West of France in October 2018. In this game, the user changes perspective by taking the role of an emergency communicator, having to set the level of vigilance to alert the population, based on uncertain clues. Our hypothesis is that this change of perspective can improve the player's awareness of flood risk, and response to future flood vigilance announcements. We evaluated this game through an online survey where people were asked to answer a questionnaire about flood risk awareness and behavioural intentions before and after playing the game, in order to assess its impact. The results are encouraging, showing improved risk awareness, protective intentions, vigilance, and trust after playing. However, it also suggests that the current "game design" is still poor and unable to engage the general public, in particular school students. Future research will therefore address this issue.