Flood early warning systems play a major role in the disaster risk reduction paradigm as cost-effective methods to mitigate ﬂood disaster damage. The connections and feedbacks between the hydro-logical and social spheres of early warning systems are increasingly being considered as key aspects for suc-cessful ﬂood mitigation. The behavior of the public and ﬁrst responders during ﬂood situations, determinedby their preparedness, is heavily inﬂuenced by many behavioral traits such as perceived beneﬁts, risk aware-ness, or even denial. In this study, we use the recency of ﬂood experiences as a proxy for social prepared-ness to assess its impact on the efﬁciency of ﬂood early warning systems through a simple stylized modeland implemented this model using a simple mathematical description. The main ﬁndings, which are basedon synthetic data, point to the importance of social preparedness for ﬂood loss mitigation, especially in cir-cumstances where the technical forecasting and warning capabilities are limited. Furthermore, we foundthat efforts to promote and preserve social preparedness may help to reduce disaster-induced losses byalmost one half. The ﬁndings provide important insights into the role of social preparedness that may helpguide decision-making in the ﬁeld of ﬂood early warning systems.