In this rainiest of nations, Del Sharman, underwriting manager at Pound Gates insurance brokers, offers advice on preparing for, and responding to, flooding…
In recent years the UK has seen a dramatic increase in incidents of flooding, and not just in areas traditionally considered susceptible to it. Over five-million people in England and Wales and 100,000 people in Scotland live or work in areas at risk from coastal or river flooding. Many more are at risk of flash flooding caused by torrential downpours. Thankfully, there are precautions you can take to protect your nursery business before a flood occurs, and steps you can take after a flood to get your business back on track as quickly as possible.
The most important action you can take is to find out if you are in an area that is at risk. Being aware of whether your nursery is in a flood risk area can help you prepare and help you to understand the extent to which you may be affected. If you are in an area likely to be affected you should draw up a flood response plan (you may already have this as part of a wider disaster recovery plan). This should be shared with staff so they are clear what is expected of them, and should deal with how you will notify parents and evacuate children if flooding occurs during opening hours.
● Floodline (0345 988 1188) gives real-time flood warnings and advice. It is worth contacting this service regularly to stay updated if you are in an area likely to be affected.
● In England and Wales further information is available from environment agency.gov.uk/floodline, where you will also find a flood risk map.
● In Scotland the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) provide similar facilities – sepa.org.uk/flooding
1. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.
2. Unplug all electrical items and where possible store them up high or upstairs. Raise heavy electrical items such as fridges on bricks if possible.
3. Put the lid down on your toilets and place something heavy on top to stop the water coming in through waste pipes.
4. Put plugs in sinks and weigh them down with a sandbag, pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil or a heavy object.
5. Keep all important documents in a watertight plastic bag in a high safe place. This should include lists of important telephone numbers such as:
● emergency services;
● local council;
● emergency claims line for your insurance broker or insurance company;
● your landlord;
6. Move as much furniture and equipment as possible upstairs, particularly high-value items or those more susceptible to water damage. If items can’t be carried, move them away from the wall as this will speed up drying times later.
7. Don’t forget about contents in outbuildings or sheds.
8. If possible, open doors and windows and smear the frame with silicone sealant, then shut and lock them to provide a watertight joint. For flooding deeper than a metre, allow flood water to enter the property to prevent any structural damage that could be caused by a build up of water outside.
Do not attempt to walk or drive through flood water – six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet and two feet could float your car. Manhole covers may have come loose and there may be other hazards you cannot see below the water. Remember to try to avoid contact with flood water to avoid any potential contamination risk.
1. Boil drinking water before use.
2. Do not handle electrical items that are or could have been water damaged.
3. If your electricity was turned off, have a qualified electrician check the installation before having it switched back on. Equally, if your gas was switched off, a Gas Safe-registered tradesperson should check the supply before it is switched back on.
4. Try to photograph and make detailed lists of the damaged items to assist your insurers in the handling of your claim.
5. Wear appropriate clothing and gloves when handling anything that has been contaminated by flood water; it often contains sewage, so take sensible hygiene precautions.
6. Consider making changes to your premises to minimise the impact of future floods. This could include things like raising electrical sockets higher up the wall, replacing plaster with a water-resistant version or replacing timber floors with concrete.
For more information, visit Pound Gates insurance brokers.