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Flood protection tips for businesses

With one in six properties in the UK at risk of flooding, businesses need to take adequate preparation to minimise the risk to their premises and have an effective plan to stay in business if disaster strikes.

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Recent floods across the country are a reminder that our businesses and our livelihoods are often at the mercy of the elements. With 5.2 million properties – that's one in six – in the UK at risk of flooding, businesses need to take adequate preparation to minimise the risk to their premises and have an effective plan to stay in business if disaster strikes. In an average year, in England alone, Defra and the Environment Agency put the cost of flooding to businesses at £401 million. As a business, it is law to have a fire management plan in place, but not all businesses have an equivalent flood management plan prepared. When you consider that the average cost incurred per flooded business is between £75,000 and £112,000, you may want to think again. Top tips to minimise the risks and effects of floods 1. Check your risk The Environment Agency monitors the areas at risk of flooding and issues warnings to those areas where there is a danger of flooding. Simply register with the EA Floodline to receive advance warnings of flood. 2. Put a flood plan in place Business continuity planning can help minimise the impact of flooding on the business. Make sure you have a flood emergency response plan and an emergency response team. Like a fire warden, have a flood warden in place to take charge of showing staff where the plan is kept and a list of key contact numbers. Consider preparing a flood kit that can be stored where staff members can easily get to it if the property is flooded. 3. Are you protected? Check insurance policies to see if you are covered for business interruption, loss of profit and water damage. Recent reports show that only a small minority act to ensure they are adequately protected. Look at simple preventative steps you can take such as portable flood barriers. Top tips to deal with flood damage 1. Switch off and relocate Relocate high-value stock, critical records and electronic equipment to upper floors. If it is safe to do so, move essential vehicles to higher ground. Disconnect all electrical appliances and shut off the gas supply to reduce the risk of fire. 2. Hold back hazardous water Floodwaters are often contaminated with biohazards, such as sewage, or other hazardous materials (fuels, asbestos, farm chemicals, etc.) Flood-damaged buildings may also have damp areas where mould, mildew, and other organisms thrive. Close hand-operated valves on drain piping to prevent backflow through floor drains or plumbing fixtures. Check roof, floor or yard drains are clear. 3. Document any damageTake pictures of the damage, both to the property and its contents for insurance claims. Notify insurers of the damage and schedule restorative works. About the author Floodgate is a unique flood barrier product which requires no modifications to be made to the property where it is fitted. It is one of the first flood protection products to pass the stringent physical tests set by the Environment Agency and is accredited with the prestigious BSI Kitemark. For more information about Floodgate products, please visit www.floodgate.ltd.uk or call 01267 234205.

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