Increasing numbers of British businesses, big and small, are facing the devastating results of floods this winter, and worryingly more flooding is set to hit parts of the UK!
Floods can impact your business in a wide variety of ways. From damaged stock to customers, suppliers prevented from visiting your business to disrupted deliveries and delays, floods can have devastating effects for business owners. But as a business owner, what can you do to minimise the disruption to your life and livelihood?
The first thing you should do is assess the risk of flooding to your business premises. You need to consider where your business is situated - is it close to a river, at the foot of a hill or near the coast? The Environment Agency website has a map that you can use to help you assess the likelihood of flooding in your area.
You should also consider how your business is organised, and how well it can withstand flooding. How much damage will a flood do? In particular, what do you have on the ground floor or in the basement? Stock and equipment on these levels is more likely to be damaged if the premises flood. We also recommend taking a look at your rights and responsibilities as an employer.
All businesses which have a risk of flooding should draw up a flood plan. This is a document which explains how your business will deal with a flood. It should include key contact numbers, instructions for shutting off the electricity and other services, key procedures for employees and a description of how you will minimise damage and disruption. You need to review your flood plan regularly to make sure that you have taken into account any changes in your business, in your environment or in the law.
If you know that you are at risk of flooding, we suggest investing in some practical measures to keep the damage to a minimum. Fit removable or permanent seals to doors and windows - and don’t forget other ways that water can get into your property, such as toilets, ventilation pipes and drains. Flood sacks are also available and a great help.
Prepare your property by raising electrical sockets, wiring, lighting and heavy equipment. If possible, store computer equipment and records on an upper storey, and always back up important computer information. When you redecorate, try to use water-resistant materials such as lime-based plaster instead of gypsum.
Finally, if your business is unfortunately hit by floods, you should consider how you can best get rid of the water if it does find a way in. Submersible pumps are suitable for different sizes of businesses and are designed to be submersed in water and are safe to use, connected to the electricity mains and protected by an ECB. A submersible pump is a fast and safe way of getting flood water away from your premises, but be sure to direct the flow away from neighbouring buildings.
By Tom Corkhill, Head of Ecommerce, Anchor Pumps