Wet, wet, wet - Don't let flash floods damage your business

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Flood Prevention

Don’t let flash floods damage your business

This type of flooding can occur anywhere and is not limited to areas that are traditionally at risk from river or coastal flooding. Businesses must have an effective plan to remain operational if disaster strikes, otherwise outgoing costs will sky rocket and incoming payments will cease. In an average year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency (EA) calculate that the cost incurred per flooded English business ranges from £75,000 to £112,000.

1. Check.
Is there a risk of flooding? During heavy rain check for water build up and that drainage is effective. Register with the EA Floodline to receive flood warnings. If there is a chance, be prepared.

2. Plan.
If you don’t have physical flood protection, you may need to evacuate and this will need to be organised and carried out safely. Businesses could modify an existing fire exit strategy. Ensure you have a flood emergency response plan and an emergency response team. Appoint a Flood Warden to show staff where the plan is kept along with a list of key contact numbers. Keep essential systems off ground level e.g. IT servers. Consider preparing a flood kit that can be stored where staff members can easily get to it if the property is flooded. Have the ability to isolate different parts of the business so if water enters at one point it does not affect the entire business.

3. Continuity.
Plan to facilitate continued operational effectiveness. Modern technology makes it easier to have a portable company. You can relocate to another property, or at least have a scaled-down operation functioning for the duration of the flood. Ensure that customers are aware of the situation, and try to operate ‘business as usual’.

4. Protect.
Have a plan of action in case of flooding; have sandbags or a floodgate to help keep the water out; know who is in charge of doors, windows, drains and air vents; who will be responsible for tracking the status of the flood; have an exit strategy, and a list of contacts where you could stay in a worst-case scenario, as well as your local support telephone numbers. It is vital to ensure that someone is appointed to turn off all the gas and electricity.

5. Insurance.
Are you protected? Check insurance policies to see if you are covered for flood damage. Only a small percentage of people in high flood risk areas know if their insurance covers water damage. If you can keep the water out, this is better than fixing the damage. Look at simple preventative steps you can take such as portable flood barriers.