9 Point Emergency Business Contingency Recovery – Flooding

25 July 2019

As the mercury rises in the UK, as does the potential for extreme thunderstorms and associated down-pouring of rain. The Met Office has already issued Yellow Warnings for Rainfall that may lead to surface water and flooding in a few places. This is expanded to the potential risk that homes and businesses could become flooded.

How to recover from a flood at your company, business or place of work?

Business Flooding in Cornwall Shows a street under waterHere is our list of things to consider when you have a flood disaster at your business.

1) Try and prepare in advance

a. Move business critical items as high as possible
b. Implement some form of flood barrier outside the building
c. Create a flood barrier at the entrances to the building

2) Consider the safety of you and your staff
3) Isolate Gas and Electricity
4) Get organised Delegate to your team

a. Make a list of what you need to do to get your business operational again
i. Consider Stock
ii. Drying and Cleaning
iii. Building Repair Work?
iv. Essential Utilities
v. Staff Welfare
vi. Contact List
b. Have regular update huddles to check progress

5) Call your Insurance Company

a. They may assist you to get your business back into operation

6) Contact List

a. Are you expecting any Supplier Deliveries?
b. Landlord
c. Surrounding Businesses (you can pool effort and work as a team to recover)
d. Do you have any customer waiting fulfilment?
e. Are you due any shift changes?
f. Do you require all personnel on site?

7) Get the premises Dry and Clean
8) Restore Essential Services
9) Get the building secure

You will be prepared for most eventualities in business. But natural disasters involving water and flooding in the UK costs the country about £2.2 billion per annum. It is no surprise businesses of all sizes can get caught out when floods happen. We live on an island, with very picturesque low-lying valleys, arable farmland with areas where we are fighting in normal weather conditions to keep the sea from reclaiming the land. Post-industrial UK has not moved on that much. Small fluctuations in water levels can take their toll.

Recover from a flood

You’ve began to work the list, once you have safety sorted. The most important aspect is the drying and disposal of any rubbish that may have accumulated as a result of the flood. The rubbish or general waste could include damaged stock, building materials, damaged furniture – basically anything damaged as a result of the flood. Disposal of this during a clean up of your business is an easy enough task. Once the loss adjuster or your insurance company has given you the approval.

  • Waste

Simply begin collating your general waste. As an indicator you can hire a RORO (roll on roll off skip/container) costs from £340 including 2 tonnes of weight. That based on a 20-yard RORO container. Obviously where you have this sort of container delivered is a factor, you need space and they can not be placed on road. But for general waste after a flood the 20 yard is your answer to most waste issues. Other sizes of skip and container are available and as with anything – the size depends on what waste you have.

  • Drying

Getting your premises back to being fully operational and safe is going to take drying. There are professional companies that can do this for you. But if demand for that sort of service is high – then you may be forced to wait, or it may drive the cost of using such a company beyond what you are covered in your insurance. You may not (for one reason or another) be claiming on your insurance, in which case you will require to hire Dehumidifiers and Dryers. There are a host of professional quality dryers that can speed up your business recovery.

  • Cleaning

The nature of water being a Newtonian fluid, its ability to be everywhere (and anywhere) is limited only by temperature. That means that water, for all its wonderful qualities (like sustaining life), when inadvertently entered your premises. Will be behind skirting boards, in and around every fixture and fitting. Also, you will be delighted to discover that whatever water has been through, encountered on its travels, will be in your business premises. Bare this in mind when embarking on your clean up. Staff should wear correct personal protective clothing. You are going to want to wear gloves. Especially if you have downstairs toilets. In most business plumbing there will be a high risk that the drains could have been flushed into your premises.

Kitchens, restrooms and anywhere where food is prepared or consumed also need to be given due consideration. Your business may be in food manufacturing or preparation. This would make the process of sanitation following a flood event even more important.

Keep a log of your actions

In every business process it is always best practice to keep a timed log of events as they occur. Your log of events following flooding and or other disaster recovery process – keeping a log of your actions may assist with mid and long-term recovery. An example of this would be if you are in the food preparation industry and you need to satisfy local authority that your premises is fit for purpose of food prep. Having a detailed list of what you achieved during your recovery will amplify your professional resolve. It could also help with decisions about other aspects of your business.

About the Author

PAL Hire Ltd is a nationwide plant, machinery, equipment and tool hire business. Specialising in long- and short-term hire solutions of all sizes. From a simple skip hire, tower lighting, RORO container and multiple exchanges to complete constriction site set ups. Encompassing everything that could be hired – we have the expertise and experience to solve your flood hire needs. Any pricing in this article is subject to VAT at the current rate.