How Can Your Business Prepare For a Flood?
Did you know that according to Gov.uk, flooding is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the UK and that since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood every year? With storms such as Ciara and Dennis hitting the headlines earlier this year, it’s important not to bury your head in the sand when it comes to considering whether your business is at risk.
Flooding can cause potentially devastating consequences for businesses, in terms of the clean-up and drying-out of business premises, replacing equipment and stock, and operations being disrupted. Would your business be able to survive such an event?
You might be interested to know that businesses can save between 20 and 90 per cent on the cost of lost stock and movable equipment by taking advanced action to prepare for flooding – not to mention the stress and trouble that flooding can cause too. With this in mind, in our latest blog we have put together a list of ways that business owners can prepare their business for a flood. Read on to find out more.
How Can I Find Out if My Business is at Risk From Flooding?
It is really important to find out if your business is located within a flood-risk area. To check your postcode, visit: www.gov.uk/flood or call Floodline: on 0345 988 1188 (open 24 hours and calls are charged at local rate).
How Can I Prepare for Flooding?
Preparation is key in the event of a flood, and here are some key steps that you can follow to ensure that you are equipped if the worst should happen:
- Keep an eye on the weather
One of the best ways to prepare for flooding is to keep up to date with the weather situation and water levels in the area where your business is located, and you can do this by checking flood forecasts and the river and sea levels on the Gov.uk website. In addition, in serious situations you should also keep an eye on local television and radio news as flood warnings will also be broadcast in this way too.
- Sign up for flood warnings
If your business is located in a high flood-risk area, you should call Floodline to see if you can receive flood warnings from Floodline Warnings Direct. Available 24 hours, this free service sends automated flood warnings by telephone, SMS text, email, fax or pager.
- Create a flood plan
It is a good idea to create a flood plan for your business, which will outline how you will take action in the event of a food. A flood plan may include a list of steps you will take in the case of a flood and will provide a way to easily access key information such as insurance details and details of utility companies.
If you’re the owner of a small business, it may be your responsibility to put the flood plan together, or if you own a medium-sized business then the responsibility might be with a specific flood planning team. For larger businesses with multiple sites, it is probably a good idea to consider this on a site-by-site basis.
Your flood plan should include following:
- Details of important contacts: Floodline, building services, local disaster recovery companies, local radio stations for flood updates, suppliers, evacuation contacts for staff, your business insurance provider or landlord if you do not own the premises.
- A description or map showing locations of key property, protective materials and service shut-off points (such as fuse boxes and stopcocks).
- A basic strategy for protecting your property, preventing business disruption and assisting with recovery.
- Checklists of procedures that can be quickly accessed by staff during a flood.
Once you have put your flood plan together it is so important that you don’t forget about it. This means taking the time to look at it on a regular basis and ensure it is kept up to date, and most importantly that you use it in the event that a flood does occur. In addition, you should also consider conducting staff training to ensure that they are aware of the correct flood safety procedures, and also store your flood plan on your company’s network so that it can be easily found.
- Prepare your equipment and stock
You should take the time to identify which stock and equipment may need special protective measures in the event of the flood.
These could include:
- Tables / heavy furniture
- Paper files
- Electrical items
- Chairs / stools
- Soft furnishings
- Computer files
- Staff files
In terms of protecting your items, there are certain things that you can do:
- Make a copy of important documentation and store this in a location that is safe
- Raise items above ground level, move to an upper level of the building or store off site.
- Buy special flood protection products such as sandbags, hydrosacks, hydrosnakes, toilet WC Pan Seals, air brick covers and flood barriers.
- Prepare your business premises
The next step is to ensure that your business premises is properly protected if water starts rising.
Here are some suggestions for materials that you may want to stockpile for use in the event of a flood:
- Tools – hammer, nails, saw and shovel
- Sand and sandbags (unfilled)
- Strong plastic bags
- Wood – plywood, blocks of wood
- Sturdy plastic sheeting
- Emergency power generator
What Insurance Will Help to Protect My Business in the Event of a Flood?
In order to help protect your business in the event of a flood taking place, you should consider taking out the following types of business insurance policies:
- Business and contents insurance: This will provide cover for your offices buildings contents and computer equipment in the event of flood damage (as well as damage caused by fires, explosions and storms).
- Business interruption insurance: This will provide cover for additional costs that arise in the event of a flood, for example finding a new temporary office or retail premises. It will also cover any loss of income and can help to minimise the financial impact on your business while drying out and repairs take place.
- Comprehensive motor insurance: If your business owns any vehicles, then this will cover the cost of repairing or replacing them in the event that they are damaged by a flood.
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What You Should Do if Your Premises Flood
If your business premises do flood, it’s important not to panic. First of all you should contact your business insurance provider, who is likely to have an emergency 24-hour helpline to ensure that claims can get moving without delay.
As it will be likely that you may have a large amount of possessions that are ruined or damaged by flooding, you can help to speed up the recovery process by giving your insurer as much information about these items as possible (it is also worth recording your own details and taking photos of items too). Then, once you have spoken to your insurer you can dispose of any items which may pose a health risk (for example rotting food).
Would You Like to Find Out More?
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If you would like help assessing your business’ exposure to different risks, book an appointment by calling: [broker_phone].