Our tips on protecting your business.
Sadly major flooding incidents such as those seen in Cumbria recently are on the increase. In 2013-14 over 3,000 commercial premises were affected by floods. It is estimated that the financial cost to each business ran into tens of thousands of pounds but the cost emotionally to those who have spent years building a business is immeasurable.
Whilst much emphasis is placed on fire risks, with fire alarms, sprinkler systems and practice evacuations, flood procedures are often overlooked, despite the fact that in certain areas a flood is more likely than a fire.
So what steps are in place for your business to deal with a flood?
Did you know 260,000 commercial properties in England are located in flood risk areas?
The Environment Agency warns that even if you are not beside a river that could breach you need to consider risks such as heavy rainfall and surface water.
1. Being aware means you can plan
The first step is to assess the risk. To quickly establish whether you are in a flood area, type you postcode into the Environment Agency map. In addition you can sign up for free flood warnings.
2. Undertake a health check
This can seem quite a daunting task so take advantage of the free business resilience health check. A website backed by the Environment Agency which provides a personalised report that outline actions that you should address.
You may also consider:
- Are computers backed up online or off-site?
- Who is responsible for keeping procedures and contact lists up to date?
- Are plans easily accessible?
- Do people know how to switch off water and electricity?
3. Write a flood plan
So now you are aware of the risks it’s time to write a flood plan which gives details on how to manage in the event of a flood. Once again the Environment Agency can help as they have a free online easy-to-use template you can use. You can also contact them to discuss flood plans.
4. Business as usual?
The flood plan should also include how you would recover and get back up and running quickly. This might include considering where a business could be temporarily re-located, or whether you could adapt your building i.e. raising electrics in a shop so you can get back up and running quicker. Solutions like this will benefit not just the business but often the wider community.
The plan may also include considering how your supply chain might be affected – are there alternative routes to get to your business that suppliers could use?
5. Review insurance cover
It is good practice to review your insurance policies annually to make sure you are sufficiently covered in the event of damage caused by a flood. But also ask yourself this question – If you could not get up and running for a number of weeks would your business survive? If you are not sure then consider whether you should also have ‘loss of income through interruption of the business’ insurance.
6. Ready in any event?
Whilst flooding is one risk how would your business cope with a major hurricane, terrorist attack or heat wave? Ideally all businesses would consider all these in one go and have a contingency plan (or resilience plan) to deal with any event.