Following Storms Ciara and Dennis, a number of communities across the North West have been affected by flooding. Recovery information is available on The Flood Hub here.
Many businesses in the UK are at risk of flooding. By planning, preparing, and making your business more resistant and resilient, you can aim to reduce the impact of flooding to help with business continuity. From creating a flood plan to protecting your products, there are many resources available to help you plan and prepare for flooding to your business, and ease the recovery process that follows.
Planning ahead for flooding will ensure that you can respond to the incident in the most efficient way. You can do this by creating a basic plan of action, signing up multiple people to receive flood alerts and warnings, and considering your insurance options.
It is always a good idea to create a flood plan if your business is situated in a flood risk area, even if it has never been flooded before. It ensures that in the case of receiving a flood alert or warning you are prepared to take action, can deploy any temporary resistance measures efficiently, and are best prepared to protect the property and contents from the impacts of flooding. This will minimise financial losses and help with business continuity.
The information on this page explains how to create your business flood plan. Click here to download the business flood planning guide which contains all of this information.
You can download a printable version of a business flood plan here. The document contains a pre-populated flood plan, and a blank flood plan which you can complete yourself or with other staff members and keep in a suitable, easy-to-see place that all staff members are aware of.
Businesses of all sizes should consider having a flood plan, and for larger businesses with multiple sites the flood risk should be considered on a site-by-site basis. This may be done centrally by the head office, however it is important that site managers understand what plans are in place for their premises and ensure that site specific changes are made to best protect the property and staff.
There is a Business Resilience Healthcheck available here which you can complete for your business and receive a report outlining options for you to consider as a starting point for creating a business resilience plan.
The Environment Agency’s ‘Would your business stay afloat?’ document also offers help when preparing your business for possible flooding, suggesting some actions that you can take with a simple flood plan template that you can use.
Create a checklist to make sure you take all the measures you can to plan and prepare for potential flooding in the future. You can tailor the checklist to suit the specific needs of your business, and it can include points such as:
Taking time to gather together some important contacts could be a massive help as it means you will easily be able to find the telephone numbers of emergency contacts you may need to talk to if flooding occurs. Here are some suggested contacts:
Identify any important documents, products or equipment that need to be protected and note their locations so you can quickly access them. It is essential that a business identifies the data and equipment that is key to business continuity, and either stores these items in a safe area at all times or identifies on the flood plan where they should be moved to as a priority. You should think about:
If you have any temporary property flood resilience measures that needs putting in place if flooding is expected, make sure that you make a note of where it is stored and how to install it. This will help you to find it quickly and should allow you to install it as easily as possible.
As part of your flood plan document it is a good idea to set out actions to take when flood alerts and warnings are received.
Firstly, make sure you are signed up for free flood alerts and warnings from the Environment Agency which can be received by call, text or email by more than one individual at the business. It is important to understand what the different warnings mean so you can use them as a trigger to put your plan into place at the right time. Discover alternative flood warnings here. Out of office contact numbers and contact details for additional staff members who are local and able to attend if a warning is received, should also be signed up to receive flood alerts and warnings.
Secondly, decide what actions you will take at each flood warning stage. Some ideas are suggested below:
‘Flood Alert’ – Flooding to low lying land and roads is possible. Stay vigilant and make early preparations for a potential flood.
‘Flood Warning’ – Flooding is expected. Immediate action is required to protect yourself and your property.
‘Severe Flood Warning’ – Severe flooding is expected. Significant risk to life and property. Prepare to evacuate and cooperate with emergency services.
A plan of what to do if you need to evacuate should be included in your flood plan. You should follow local news or contact your local council to find the nearest emergency assistance centre.
For more ideas on what you can add to your step-by-step plan of action, download our Business Flood Planning Guide.
It is good practice to fully test your flood plan once finished. Run a ‘flood drill’ with staff so they know what to do and what to expect if you ever have to put your plan into place, and run training if necessary.
It is important that your flood plan is reviewed regularly to ensure that contact details are up to date. You should create a maintenance schedule to check that any property flood resilience measures still function correctly, and practice installing it periodically.
Preparing for future flooding will enable you to be well equipped to deal with the impacts of a flood, and allow you to be protected from some of the disruption caused by floodwater. Having property flood resilience and resistance measures will help you to be more prepared.
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CLASP has developed some ‘Weathering the Storm’ self-help guides for SMEs focused on areas in the North West, which look into the impacts of climate change on businesses and how they can increase their resilience to the changes. Click to download these resources for: Cumbria, Liverpool, Greater Manchester. You can also browse CLASP’s resource library here.
The Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) campaign from Business in the Community offers information on various ways for businesses to become more resilient, including for flooding.
When making your business more resilient to flooding, check that you have covered everything on our property flood resilience checklist here, to ensure you are as prepared as possible for a future flood event.