Posted on: 17 November 2015
High winds and heavy rain can occur at any time and if you haven’t prepared your business premises, assets and operations for the impact of bad weather, the devastating effects can often linger.
What could be at risk?
- Customer Supply Chain – Fleet lorries/ delivery services
- Any onsite equipment which uses water/electrics
Keep informed. Bad weather can set in at any time so make sure you regularly check the MET office and other weather apps or news mediums.
Make a plan. Make a full continuity plan for your business and employees including details of how to turn off your utilities including gas, electric and water. Your plan should be in a safe and accessible place alongside your insurance and utility providers contact details.
Set up a contingency plan with your clients and suppliers in case you are unable to trade.
Check if you are prone to flooding The Environment Agency has a 24 hour flood warning line and you can check on their website if your area is prone to flooding. The MET Office also has a weather warning system.
Protect your building in advance. If you own your business premises and you are in a flood prone area, it is worthwhile considering making changes to your building. Raise electrical plugs and protect lower level walls with flood resistant materials.
Check that your insurance policy covers you for extreme weather events. It’s worth considering Business Interruption Insurance as part of your cover, so that you can continue to run your business from another premises should the worst happen.
Preparation. Purchase and store sandbags in advance, secure loose objects in and around your premises including roof tiles, outdoor stock and signage. Move any cars or vans from potential hazards such as falling trees, make sure that you have provisions ready for power cuts and raise any floor level or basement stock in case of flooding.
Check Utilities. If water is threatening your premises, turn off any gas or water supplies. Do not touch electrics if there is any nearby flood water. If you smell gas or overhead power lines become damaged, contact the National Grid.
Prevention. Place sandbags and any flood prevention tools in the appropriate places and check that outdoor stock is still secured. Seek advice from your local emergency services if your premises begin to flood.
Employees and Customers. Make sure all employees are accounted for and keep in contact with your customers and suppliers to let them know what’s happening.
Stay updated. Keep an eye on any weather changes by checking the Met office weather warning system, local news and the Environmental Agency.
Call your insurer if you need to make a claim. Take photos and videos of any damage but don’t remove anything until you have spoken to your insurance provider.
Do not enter the premises until local emergency services have deemed the building to be safe. Be aware that there may be contamination which could present a health hazard.
Call utility providers. If your utilities have been disconnected, find out when your electricity, gas and water will be running again.
Contact your customers. Keep regular contact with customers and suppliers, let them know that you’re ok and give them a date for when you expect to be back to usual business.
Parking. Take care to park away from hazards such as falling trees or roof tiles.
Lights. Be aware of limited visibility in bad weather. Check that your lights are clear and working properly.
Wiper Blades. Check your blades and make sure your wiper fluid is topped up.
Brakes. You should always avoid driving through flood waters but if you have to, make sure that you check your brakes.
Emergency Contacts. Make sure that you have a list of emergency contacts in your vehicle(s).
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