Tom Melhuish 5 min read

Flood Planning For Businesses

Preparing for flooding is often overlooked. If you’ve never been flooded, it can be difficult to imagine. However, flood damage in the UK is estimated at 2 billion each year, and the average cost to an affected business is over £80,000. A flood will have a serious impact on your business, so it is essential to plan ahead.

It’s much better to have one and never get flooded, than not have one and get flooded, as it can have devastating effects on your business.

How to check flood risk for my business

Firstly, it’s worth checking the flood risk level of your area. You can do this on the government’s flood risk checker.

Even if you’re at relatively low risk, we highly recommend that you prepare a flood plan for the worst-case scenario.

Creating a flood plan for your business

Here are the key steps to ensure you have an extensive flood plan for your business in case of an emergency.

Create a flood plan checklist

To create a flood plan checklist, you’ll need to cover the following areas to ensure you have everything you need to have a flood plan in place.

  • Sign up to flood alerts.
  • Investigate flood resilience options for your premises.
  • Ensure your business insurance covers you for flooding and flood damage.
  • Store any physical documents of importance somewhere waterproof and away from any potential flood risks within the room.
  • Create a flood kit.
  • Ensure your employees are aware of the plan and procedures. Make sure any staff who need training on this are fully trained.

Develop a list of important contacts

Collecting all of the critical contacts in one document is integral to the flooding plan. It’s essential as if you incur a flood, you’ll have the key contacts readily available.

The details to include are:

  • Your insurance company.
  • Staff personal details.
  • Landlord (If you have one).
  • Environment agency flood line and incident hotline.

Environment agency’s flood line: 0345 988 1188

Important documents, vehicles and equipment

Within the plan, ensure you have identified key documents, equipment and vehicles. You must identify these key documents and ensure that they are stored in a safe and secure space.

Identify equipment for business continuity and ensure they are stored in a safe area.

Then have a plan to move vehicles that need to be kept secure if the flood warning increases. Identify the area in which they need to be moved to in case of a flood.

You should consider the following important documents, equipment and vehicles:

  • Vehicles – Move all vehicles to a safer location, that are identified in your flood plan. This location could potentially be off-site.
  • Electronic files/Data – Ensure all important documents and data is regularly backed up on an online cloud storage system. Just saving to a computer or to a physical hard drive leaves room for error, especially if the equipment is damaged in the event of a flood.
  • Equipment – Make sure to keep important equipment above ground level or store it in the upper levels of the building.

Note: if you have any hazardous materials – if stored in a flood risk area, containers must be protected, e.g. moved, protected by barriers, or secured so they can’t float away.

Build a step by step action plan

Firstly, ensure you’ve signed up for the flood warnings alert. This is incredibly important to ensure you’re up to date and ready to make a judgement on the situation.

You can access the free flood warnings here through the Environment Agency.

There are three stages of flood warning, so ensure you have a plan in place for each stage of the warning.

The three stages are:

  • Flood alert – Potential flooding to low lying land and roads is possible. Make preparations.
  • Flood warning – Flooding is now expected; immediate action is required.
  • Severe flood warning – Serious flooding is now expected, increased risk to life and property immediately, and cooperating with the emergency services.

Flood alert

When the alert initially comes through, make sure to monitor the forecast in detail. Make sure you can access your flood plan and flood resilience products.

Ensure that staff on site are aware of the flood alert and the steps they need to take if the warning reaches the next level.

Flood warning

At this point, begin moving all equipment to safety and set up any flood resistance tools you have. Move all vehicles off of the premises to your agreed safe location according to the flood plan.

If you can, start to evacuate any staff that are not part of the flood plan team, this will help reduce the final footfall when the risk becomes “Severe”.

Severe flood warning

When your business receives a severe flood warning, you will need to evacuate everyone from the premises to safety to the agreed location. Ensure all gas, electricity and water supplies, if safe, are switched off.

What is the average cost to a business when flooding occurs?

The average cost of damage a business occurs when flooded is £82,000, according to the
Environment Agency.

AquaSwitch Guides

Here are a couple of resources we feel will be of use to you as a business: