With record breaking amounts of rainfall affecting parts of the North of England and our beloved home town of Doncaster during the end of last week, you only have to look at the news to see the devastating affects a flood can have on the lives of the people caught up in them.
Around 5 million people in England and Wales are now thought to live in flood risk areas, a staggering one in six homes in England is at risk of flooding and annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.1 billion.
Floods are a real threat to many individuals, in fact I read this week that you are now more likely to experience flooding than be burgled!
The media tends to show us the devastation that extreme weather can cause to people’s homes and possessions but what is often over looked is the effect it can have on businesses. 40% of businesses do not reopen after suffering a catastrophic loss due to flooding. Some businesses never recover simply because they do not have suitable contingency plans in place.
So today I am asking, in the event of a catastrophic flood, would your business sink or swim? How do you begin to put a robust plan in place so you’re ready to get back on your feet should such a flood effects your premises?
Well there are several questions that you should be considering and by answering these questions and in turn thinking about the actions you should be taking you can start to create your very own Disaster Recovery Plan.
At Prosafe UK Ltd we advise a number of strategic steps that should be taken to help prevent a disaster, such as a flood occurring:
- Identify the threats to your business
- Look at viable options and the capacity to cope
- Assess the impact of the threat
- Identify the resources you currently have and assess the critical resources you need to restore a functioning business
- Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
- Print out your Disaster Recovery Plan
- Rehearse and learn from the initial plan
- Modify the plan if necessary
- Periodically review the plan
As a quick exercise, read the following questions and think if your answer would be yes, no or does not apply. Also think about what action you would need to take for each.
1. Is there a local flood warning system in operation?
2. Are copies of vital records stored in a safe place preferably off site?
3. Is vital equipment raised above ground level?
4. Is there sand & sand bags (unfilled) and shovel available for use?
5. Is there sturdy plastic sheeting available for sand bag barriers and pulling up ground furniture?
6. Are plastic bags available for putting around legs of tables and chairs to protect them?
7. Can stock be placed on to pallets and raised above floor level?
8. Is there a list of companies that may need to be called upon e.g. pumping out flood and firewater, emergency power supply & equipment, equipment repair, etc.?
9. Are contracts and emergency telephone numbers in place with companies that may be needed in an emergency?
10. Is there an automatic water pumping system with back-up pumps from wells under buildings and basements?
11. Is there a safe means of escape from rising floodwater especially if needed during the hours of darkness?
12. Are all chemicals and materials safely contained to prevent uncontrolled release and pollution?
13. Is the site subject to statutory requirement for safe storage, use and disposal of materials and does the site comply?
14. Do any of the Emergency Services need to be aware of any particular site hazards should they be called?
15. Have all hazardous areas and processes e.g. gas bottles, fuel storage, chemical/paint stores, gas inlets and metering equipment, electrical gear, lagoons, pits, etc. been identified and detailed on a site plan to enable the Emergency Services to work with.
16. Can all stocks be replenished when the site re-starts?
17. Can power and fuel supplies be safely isolated?
18. Is advice sought from the local flood protection agency?
19. Do you have current and accurate photographs of all critical and complex plant/equipment and valuable items as part of evidence to be used in an insurance claim?
20. Do you have procedures to evacuate the site and prohibit anyone from entering the site in an emergency?
21. Can all appropriate personnel be contacted in an emergency?
22. In the event of a significant flood would it be the intention of the organisation to continue on the site?
23. If the organisation was not to continue on the site are there written plans for setting up the business on an additional site?
24. Have all staff been given sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision in dealing with floods?
Now you have completed these questions ask yourself, if an event did occur what impact would it have on the business? Allocate your Level of Risk as High, Medium or Low. As you start acting on some of the points you have made above and you come to revise the questions some of your no’s will become yes’s and therefore your Level of Risk, if once High would be Medium or even Low.
With the threat of a ‘flood’ fully analysed you are now in a position to go on identify other threats that may affect your business and in turn create your own valuable and comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan. It’s as simple as that!
We can help you work through the straightforward process of safeguarding your business and should a disaster occur, you will have a practical Disaster Recovery Plan in place to help recover and continue with your business, with the minimum of disruption.