If there is one thing we can predict, it’s the unpredictability of the UK weather forecast!
It seems like it was only yesterday we were basking in the mild temperatures of the Indian Summer and yet this week, we’ve been seeing reports that Britain is braced for flooding as heavy rain and gales are forecast to hit the country over the next few days. At the time of publishing this article, there are 63 places under alert as Met Office Amber Warning hits Britain.
Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the UK. Since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood every year and climate change is increasing that risk. Annual flood damage costs for the whole of the UK are estimated at £1.1bn.
How Flood Risks Affect Your Business
Heavy rain can cause groundwater to rise and blocked sewers could put your business at risk.
Whilst it’s not possible to eliminate the risk of flooding, there are steps businesses can take to better understand it and reduce the risk. So, we’ve summarised some simple steps within this article to help protect your business.
Step one – Forewarned is Forearmed – Prepare a Risk Assessment.
Before you can understand the steps you can take, it’s important to understand what the risks actually are for your business.
It is important to do this preparation in advance in order to assess how much damage could be caused if there were flooding in the area around your business premises. For example, if your business holds significant amounts of stock on-site then your potential loss could be much higher compared to those who don’t.
Did You Know? Most businesses can save between 20 and 90 percent on the cost of lost stock and moveable equipment by taking action to prepare in advance.
How Can a Risk Assessment Help?
Your risk assessment can help you to take action to be prepared and minimise business disruption and recovery costs, fulfil your responsibility to protect employees and help you comply with regulatory requirements.
Step 2 – Take action – create a plan
Once you’ve completed your risk assessment, it’s now time to back it up with action and create a business flood plan. A flood plan is a document that outlines how your business will respond to a flood. Remember, requirements differ depending on the business and therefore it’s important that your plan is specific to your business and unique set of priorities. Your plan should be reviewed and updated annually to make sure that any changes to your business have been considered.
Important things to consider as part of your plan:
- Details of insurance company
- Floodline number: 0345 988 1188.
- Evacuation contacts for staff
- A map showing the locations of key equipment and where to shut off the electricity.
- Identify stock, equipment and possessions that may need special protective measures should water damage occur.
- Identify the critical functions that you need in place to keep your business trading (this could be IT equipment, key machinery, products, services etc).
- Are there any actions you can take in advance to minimise the impact on the aforementioned functions? For example, higher-level storage, digital copies of key files held in a secure off-site location.
- Train employees in their roles of executing the plan – it’s crucial to ensure that all employees understand the protocol to follow in the event of an evacuation emergency.
Step 3 – Understand the Risk Within Your Area
Once you’ve completed your flood plan it’s then important to consider if your business is in a high-risk area. You can click here (use the government’s long term risk link) to learn more about the specific risk within your area. The flood risk map uses computer models to assess an area’s long term flood risk from river levels, sea flooding, surface water and groundwater.
What Happens If I’m at High Risk?
If you do establish that you’re at high risk then see if it’s possible to sign up to receive alerts from Floodline Warnings Direct. This is a free, 24hr service that sends automated flood warnings by telephone, SMS text, email, fax or pager. To find out if you can receive this service, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or click here to find out more.
Understanding flood warning codes
- Flood Alert – flooding is possible, be prepared, think ahead and keep checking Environment Agency Website (add link) for updates.
2. Flood warning – flooding is expected and immediate action is required. Activate your flood plan, evacuate any employees that might be at risk and call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date information.
3. Severe flood warning – severe flooding is expected with a potential of danger to life. Stay in a safe place, co-operate with the emergency services, call 999 if you are in immediate danger.
For more information on how CPL can help with water damage restoration in the aftermath of a flood, please click here to find out more or contact us on 03300 240 699 and speak to our friendly team.