1. Being prepared
- Check the flood risk for the area through the Thaiflood.com
- Find out what the local flood warning service for your area is and check local flood records.
- Ask neighbours if the area is susceptible to flooding.
- Be aware however, that climate change is expected to lead to heavier downpours of rain which may increase your flood risk.
- Check access to your property. Think about how you would get out if it was flooded and where you could store valuables out of reach of the floodwater.
- Keep a list of useful numbers to hand e.g. your local authority, the emergency services, your insurance company and Floodline (1111).
- You may also want to take steps to reduce your risks. Consider adapting your property for example by moving power points higher up or changing the flooring.
If flooding is likely…
- Have a few sandbags or flood boards prepared to block doorways and airbricks. Check the Environment Agency’s website for advice on how to lay sandbags effectively.
- Make up a flood kit, including a torch, blankets, waterproof clothing, Wellingtons, a portable radio, first-aid kit and rubber gloves. Keep it upstairs or high up.
- Talk about possible flooding with your colleagues. Consider writing a flood plan and store this with your flood kit.
- Make sure you know where to turn off your gas and electricity.
- Think about where you would move vehicles to in the event of a flood warning.
- Move valuable equipment upstairs or in a high place downstairs.
- Keep insurance documents in a waterproof plastic bag.
- Make sure you have adequate buildings and contents insurance that covers the full replacement cost of any items ruined, rather than their current market value. As for cars and other vehicles, comprehensive insurance should cover flood damage but third party won’t.
- If maintaining business continuity is of strategic importance you may wish to take out business continuity insurance.
2. During a flood
- Follow the Flood Warning Codes .
- Watch water levels and keep an eye on the weather. Listen out for warnings on radio and TV.
- Check out the Environment Agency or flood news website. They update their flood warnings online 24 hours a day or ring Floodline 1111.
- Reconsider travel arrangements.
- Be aware that the situation could worsen.
- Your insurer will expect you to take reasonable steps to protect your property. Therefore, take easily moveable objects upstairs and, if possible, use sandbags to hold back the water.
- Prepare to turn off gas and electricity, if necessary. Switching the electrical supply off at the mains and unplugging equipment.
- Protect yourself, your employees and others that need your help. Have warm clothing, Wellingtons, water and food stocks ready and be prepared to evacuate.
- Co-operate with emergency services and local authorities.
- Avoid contact with floodwater as it may be contaminated with sewage.
- Flooding can kill. Don’t try to walk or drive through floodwater or walk on sea defences, riverbanks or cross river bridges.
- Take care when walking through shallow water as manhole covers may have come off and there may be other underwater hazards, and never try to swim through fast flowing water.
3. After a flood
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible using their 24 hour emergency helpline.
- Make sure your insurance company knows where to contact you if you have to move out of your premises.
- Make notes to help your insurer deal with your claim including the time of flood warning; time the floodwater entered your property; maximum depth of the flood, how long the flood water was in your property, presence of any contaminants, what damage was done to building and contents and take photographs of the damage.
- Try to keep an inventory of correspondence after the flood (e.g. letters to local authorities, builders, insurers and loss adjuster).
- It is very important that you keep all damaged items rather than throw them away, including carpets, so that the insurance company loss adjuster can see them and verify the claim.
- If necessary, you may have to store damaged items outside or elsewhere.
- Clean and dry out your property as quickly as possible to minimize damp problems.
- Take up sections of damaged floorboards, carpet, wall tiles, and wet furnishings. Clean off mud and contaminants, wash with disinfectant and leave them to dry outside if possible.
- Check Yellow Pages under flood damage for suppliers of cleaning materials or equipment to dry out your property.
- If necessary commission immediate emergency pumping /repair work to protect your property from further damage.
- Get advice where detailed, lengthy repairs are needed.
- Wash your hands with disinfectant/wear rubber gloves.
- Water supply companies advise that mains tap water should not be contaminated. Wash taps and run them for a few minutes before use. If in doubt contact your water company.
- Do not touch items that have been in contact with floodwater which may be contaminated. Check external walls, roofs and drainage systems.
- Contact your local authority for information on how to deal with floods.
Getting back to business
- Ask gas, electricity and water companies to check your supplies before turning back on.
- If you have business interruption cover this will pay the cost of alternative accommodation.
- Keep in touch with your customers to let them know when you will be back in business.