1 in 13 non-residential properties in Scotland are at risk of flooding. As a business owner, you are responsible for ensuring that you have taken steps to reduce the impact of flooding on your property and employees. Taking simple steps now will help you to reduce damage and disruption to your business if flooding happens. By taking action to prepare in advance for flooding, most businesses can save between 20 and 90 per cent on the cost of lost stock and movable equipment, as well as some of the trouble and stress that goes with such an event.
Is my business at risk?
Remember flooding can affect more than just your property, it may impact on your employees and deliveries that need to travel through areas of flooding to reach you. Check SEPA's Flood Maps to find out if your business, fields or stables are in an area at risk of flooding.Taking action now can reduce the impact of flooding on you and your business.
Sign up to Floodline
Sign up to Floodline to receive Flood Alerts and/or Flood Warnings to let you know when flooding is expected. You can register more than one property address.
Train your employees
You should ensure your employees are aware of the flood plan, can access it easily and are aware of the procedures to follow if flooding occurs.
When flooding is imminent, your main priority is to make sure that your employees are safe.
Following a flood, you and your employees may find the stress of cleaning up and the disruption to the business takes its toll on physical health and mental wellbeing. Flooding can affect people of all ages and it is important to be aware that the impact on health is often not immediately obvious and can affect anyone.
A guide to dealing with the health effects of flooding is available which provides further information and details of organisations that can offer support and advice.
By preparing for flooding, you can reduce the potential for financial losses, damage to property and business disruption while ensuring that your staff and customers are not put in undue risk.
Include how to prepare for a flood in your health and safety policy and include a flood plan in your contingency plans for emergencies.
A flood plan should include:
- A staff contact list (those who should be notified of a flood) and a list of other important contacts including Floodline, building services, suppliers and evacuation contacts for staff who may require assistance in the event of a flood
- A description or map showing key locations, protective materials and service shut off points
- Basic building materials to help protect your property
- A checklist of procedures that can be quickly accessed by staff during a flood
Depending on the size of your business, there may be a responsible person or team who will create, communicate and maintain the flood plan.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has established itself as a hub of innovation and improvement in support of its partners, members and the business community.
They are a unique organisation comprising contributions and secondments from Police Scotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, major banks, industries, investors and private membership.
The business resilience team of SBRC work across all aspects of business in Scotland ensuring it is prepared to continue service whether there has been a flood, fire or threat either internally or externally. Click on the logo below to find out more.
Protect your property
There may be benefit in investing in flood protection to reduce the risk of your property flooding and causing damage to stock, machinery or equipment.
On receipt of a Flood Warning, which aims to provide 3-6 hours advanced notice of flooding, you should:
- Install flood protection products if you have them
- Move all electrical equipment to a higher level and away from electrical sockets
- Turn off gas and electricity supplies if this is possible and required
- Inform staff and customers of the potential for flooding
- Move valuable items to a higher level in your property
If the car park is likely to flood, all employees should move their cars to a higher spot away from the area.
You should ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover flood damage to stock, assets and property.
Keep your policy number and insurance documents in a safe, dry place that is easily accessible and include this information in your flood plan.
In the event of a flood - and only if it is safe to do so - take photographs of the damage to your property, assets and stock as proof for your insurance company. Do not discard any property until instructed by your insurer as they may need to inspect it as part of their assessment.
For more information and handy hints, read our practical guide to flood insurance in Scotland.
Advice for farmers
As with any business, there are a number of steps you can take to prepare for flooding and reduce the impact of flooding. There are a number of extra considerations for preparing for flooding on a farm:
- Identify fields at higher ground where livestock can be moved to safely
- Identify stock/machinery/tools that can easily be moved off the farm to prevent loss or damage
- Identify any chemicals/fuels on the farm that could contaminate flood water and think about how they could be moved to safety during a flood
- Consider how you will inform staff about an impending flood, and how staff may be able to help you prepare
- Draw up a contingency plan with suppliers to ensure business continuity to reduce loss of earnings.
For many, your farm won't just be your business; it will also be your home. Visit Your home to find out how to prepare your home for flooding.
Protecting your horses
If you own or your horse is in fields, stables or livery yard, you should find out if there is a likelihood of flooding in the area.
If there is, you should take steps to prepare. Register with Floodline to receive advance flood messages direct to your phone. It is possible to register up to five numbers for other family members or staff so if you aren't available, someone will get the message. Flood messages can be issued 3-6 hours before a flood, giving you time to take simple actions such as moving your horse to higher ground.
- Prepare a flood kit: within your flood kit you should include a spare head collar and lead rope, your horses passport and first aid kit; any medication your horse needs, feed, wire cutters (in case you can't leave the field by a gate) and a warm waterproof rug
- Prearrange a suitable suite if evacuation is required and identify fields on higher ground where horses can be moved to safely
- Create a flood plan: your flood plan should include details of everything you need in the event of a flood. Include an evacuation route, emergency contact numbers and details of a suitable site to move to. Emergency contact details should include; emergency services, local authority, insurance companies, horse transporters, feed suppliers and your vet
- Feed and water: Store as much feed and water as possible above flood level, enough to last until clean water and food can be delivered.
When it floods:
- Find out more information from Floodline about the current flooding situation
- If required, implement your flood plan
- Stay safe: it is unsafe to lead your horse or drive a vehicle through flood water. Don't tether horses during a flood or in a flood risk area. Horses will become stressed and anxious during a flood; ensure you wear a hat and gloves for handling horses. If you have many horses, try to move them together as this will help to keep them calm. Avoid contact with flood water where possible, it may be contaminated and fast flowing.
For regulated sites, flooding can increase the likelihood of a major accident or pollution occurring and lead to severe environmental consequences. Flooding can also impact on roads and transport networks meaning employees, deliveries and collection services might face difficulties reaching you.
Find out how to prepare your regulated site for flooding and its impacts by reading our guide for regulated sites in Scotland. If your business operates in other parts of the UK, please visit the relevant environmental regulator's website for further information for those areas.