Protect your small business from flooding risks
Floods are one of the most common natural disasters, and pose a major risk to businesses all over the world. While little can be done to avert such a disaster, there is plenty that business owners can do to minimise the risk and protect their companies from ruin in the event of a flood. Here are some tips to prepare to flooding and protect both your employees and your business premises:
Take precautions with your equipment
If you keep valuable stock and expensive equipment on the ground floor of your premises, your losses could be high. Your business will be unable to trade until the damage is repaired. Minimize the risks by storing valuable items, including goods, equipment and key documents such as contracts and accounts, higher up, on shelving, or on a higher floor within the building. Also re-position electrical sockets, wiring and large equipment off the floor. If your business is located in an area prone to flooding, it could be worth investing in flood-protection products, which may also lower your insurance costs.
Draw up a flood plan
If you are in a risky area, make a list of the areas that flood and the level of warning each area would receive. Include maps and if possible details of existing flood schemes. Make the list of local flood co-ordination centre, means of reporting incidents and location of emergency evacuation rest centres. Also compile a list of local volunteers who can be contacted in an incident.
Insure your business
If your business is situated in an area deemed at low risk of flood by local environmental agencies, flood damage cover is likely to be included in a standard business insurance policy. In areas where the flood risk is deemed to be significant, there may be additional costs for flood cover. A flood can cost a business dear, disrupting trade for weeks or even months, so it is worth checking that the insurance policy covers business interruption costs.
Train staff to deal with flooding.
You are prepared, you have the correct insurance cover, but if the worst was to happen do your employees know what to do? Their safety is paramount, so make sure they know both how to minimize flooding when at risk, and how to evacuate the building safely. Part of an anti flood protection measures could be placing floodboards across openings, blocking airbricks, creating sandbag walls or temporary defence systems.
After a flood
Once it is safe to go in, gather photographic evidence of any damage to equipment or goods, or to the building itself. Contact your insurance company before you start repairing any damage. They may have a list of preferred tradesmen and in some cases will offer an interim payment to help the business get up and running as quickly as possible.
While nobody wishes to face flooding, a good preparation will help you to know what to do immediately if something was to happen, minimizing panic situation and risks for business damages or employees’ injuries.