Social media and flooding in Streetly, Walsall

More than 100 homes in the Streetly area of Walsall were flooded shortly after 6am on a Saturday in November. This is how the emergency unfolded on social media from fire and police sources and how Walsall Council, residents and the media responded.


  1. 6.13am The news was first broken on Twitter shortly after 6am by PC Rich Stanley and followed 15 minutes later by Sheldon Fire Station's Twitter from Sheldon in Birmingham. This gave an indication that a situation was unfolding:
  2. 6.50am The police baton was passed on by PC Stanley who was changing shift with a tweeting colleague to make sure there was a trusted source of information:
  3. 6.59am Within an hour concerned residents were starting to tell their own story:
  4. 7.54am The size of the incident was now coming clear. Erdington Fire spoke of 150 homes flooded:
  5. 7.56am there were more than 20 tweets on Streetly flooding. The Walsall Council Twitter @walsallcouncil - and others - began retweeting police and fire feeds to give trusted sources on the ground a greater audience. South Staffordshire Water pipes had burst.
  6. 8.41am A fake tweet suggesting that the BBC's Breaking News Twitter @bbcbreaking was talking about the story, putting it on a par with a hijacking and news on the collapsing Italian economy:

  7. 8.42am The informative but calm fire and police tweets were in contrast with those made by the general public:
  8. 8.58am the Press Twitter was active. More than two hours after the emergency services were using social media:
  9. 10.54am: Feedback in praise of the police, fire and council Twitter: