It has been another wet year. Unprecedented levels of rainfall from winter storms and the seemingly endless wet days in between have caused widespread flooding.
This has affected much of the country – the usual culprits whose homes and businesses lie in flood zones - but also affected are those for whom floods are an unwelcome novelty; properties which have never experienced flooding before.
The causes are multi-faceted as well as contentious and would take too long to go into, but the results are the same. Devastation. Loss of earnings. Business interruption. Homelessness, both temporary and permanent.
Assessing Flood Risk in the UK
In the UK, there are around 1.6 million commercial properties. More than a third of these sit within either a moderate or a significant flood risk zone, with a third of the remainder at low risk and the remainder with no perceived risk.
Flood risk zones are calculated with computer modelling using water courses and topography and as with any model, nothing is perfect.
Although it is not possible to prevent flooding, homes and businesses alike can undertake steps to mitigate it.
Practical Steps for Flood Mitigation
At Securus, we advise clients on flood risk likelihood and mitigation. Here are some hints and tips we have compiled across our collective experience.
Be prepared. Check the local flood map and use it for planning - GOV.UK (flood-map-for-planning.service.gov.uk)
Keep an eye on the long-range forecast and sign up for weather warnings and flood alerts.
Undertake regular physical maintenance of premises, such as cleaning and clearing guttering, downpipes, sewers and drains.
Install additional drains and soakaways. Fit non-return valves on drains to prevent sewage or flood water from entering the property.
Check property boundaries and consider permanent barriers if you are at high risk. Keep sandbags on the property.
Seal brickwork with treatment and fill any gaps around pipes.
If possible, move plant and machinery to an elevated position.
Move sockets higher up the wall.
Use pallet racking to elevate stock, chemicals, and anything else away from the floor.
Use removable floor coverings.
Keep an emergency plan handy and ensure staff are familiar with it.
Take an up to date photographic record of the condition.
Consider using technology such as FloodFlash - this won’t prevent a flood but will assist with the claims afterwards.
Ensure adequate Business Interruption cover.
Immediate Actions and Safety Measures
In the event of a flood:
Turn off the power.
Move mobile machinery to higher ground.
Place sandbags over WCs and sinks to prevent the backflow of sewage.
Use covers for air bricks.
Use floodgates and sandbags in entryways.
Move anything portable and valuable to a higher level.
Take photographs of all damage.
Above all, consider your personal safety and that of others.
In the event of a flood, be prepared to act fast. Flood waters can rise at an alarming rate and may continue to do so for several hours. Flood water is likely to harbour harmful bacteria, so practise good hygiene if you come into contact with it. Wash hands and clothes and do not ingest.
Remember, floods are dangerous, damaging and deeply unpleasant, but in these changing times they are fast becoming an unpleasant fact of life. Taking stock of business premises and how they will fare in the event of a flood can be the difference between a mild inconvenience and total devastation.
Securus can help you protect your business assets and survey the risks that lie ahead.
For more information contact: