There was no sign of the white stuff last Christmas; instead, storms Eva and Desmond tore through the UK, bringing with them heavy winds and torrential downpours that made December the wettest month ever on record.
At an estimated cost of over £1.5bn, many regions of the UK are still recovering from the impact of the storms. And with heavy rainfall predicted for the coming months, the Environment Agency has urged people to be prepared for more flooding.
The severity of the weather has meant that properties previously not considered to be situated in flood-prone areas may now be at risk. Have you checked if your property, whether commercial or private, is situated in a flood risk area?
The very first step to protecting your home or business is to devise a plan which can be activated if and when flooding is imminent. Creating an in-depth, structured plan will allow you to respond to flooding in a timely manner and therefore minimise risk and damage to your property. Here are some tips on what your flood plan should include:
Create a list of contact details of businesses or people whom you may need to get in touch with in the event of a flood. This should include insurance providers, service providers, local disaster relief agencies and if you own a business, contact details of your employees. The Environment Agency’s floodline number is 0345 988 1188.
Service cut off points
Make a note of where the service cut off points for water, gas and electricity are located in your property. It might be helpful to label the locations on a printed map and include instructions on how to operate each system.
Write down where important documents (insurance policies, customer files, evacuation plan) are located within the building.
Have you thought of ways you can protect your property and minimise risk? Steps could range from moving electrical sockets higher up the wall to installing shelving and making copies of important documents. Write down actions applicable to your home and/or business and tick off when completed. 2
Advice for staff
Your plan should include information for your staff on evacuation processes and meeting points in the event of flooding. Flood water can pose various health risks including a number of diseases and chemical hazards. Employees must be aware of these dangers and know how to protect themselves.
Finally, your flood plan should include an action checklist; a list of tasks to carry out when there is a high risk of flooding. These tasks may include moving furniture and electrical items to safety, covering items in protective materials, or rolling-up rugs and carpets.
If you’re a business owner, you need to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the flood plan and know how to carry out prevention procedures. Also, make sure you check that your business and/or home insurance policies are up-to-date and provide you with sufficient coverage in the event of a flood.
Wet winter weather is inevitable – taking simple preventative steps to protect your home or business will help to significantly minimise risk in the event of a flood.