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Flood advice for businesses

Business flood plan

Taking simple steps can go a long way to protect your business from flooding. Preparing in advance will make it easier to respond to and recover from a flood.  

Your business should have a continuity plan. If the organisation operates over multiple sites, each site will need a separate continuity plan of its own based on the principles outlined on this page.

A business continuity plan should contain the key information listed below. More guidance can also be found in the Further Guidance section of this page. This is not an exhaustive list, and other key pieces of information may be found that could prove useful to your organisation.

Assess the flood risk to your business

Is your business at risk of flooding?

First check to see if your business is at risk of flooding from surface water, reservoirs, and rivers on the Environment Agency website.

Sign up to flood warnings

If your business is at risk of flooding, sign up to flood warnings at the Environment Agency or call 0345 988 1188.

Important questions to ask yourself when building a flood risk plan

  • do you have a business continuity officer to lead and organise this workstream? 
  • does your business insurance cover flood risk?  
  • where are your vulnerable areas? Produce a list including suppliers, human resources, systems, processes, technology etc.  
  • how essential is each department’s work to the overall performance of the business on a day-to-day basis?  
  • how long can the business cope without its key services?  
  • how easy would it be to relocate?

Assessing the risks  

To identify risk, look at the vulnerable areas of the business, as well as considering some of the more generic “what if” scenarios. The essential part of any risk assessment is to ask three simple questions:  

  • how likely is it to happen?  
  • what effect will it have on the business?  
  • what factors can reduce the likelihood, effect, or mitigate the risk entirely?  

The main priority is to make sure that all staff are always safe. Always try to consider the worst-case scenario when carrying out the risk assessment. This will mean that less serious incidents will be easier to manage.

Test the plan  

A plan needs testing regularly to help all involved to realise their role, how it fits into the bigger plan and how important each role is. This should be carried out on a six-monthly basis to allow new staff to understand and rehearse their role.  

Protect your business  

It may not be possible to prevent flooding to your business, but you can plan and prepare for it using the actions set out below.


  • a catalogue of the business assets for insurance and recovery
  • a list of important contacts, including Floodline, insurance provider, suppliers, and contacts for staff
  • a description or map showing locations of key property, protective materials, and service shut-off points
  • a basic plan and delegate roles to key staff for protecting property and assisting recovery
  • checklists of procedures that can be quickly accessed and followed by staff during a flood

There may be other actions that can be taken to prepare business buildings and contents to minimise damage and associated repair and restoration costs, such as:

  • ensuring storm drains are clear and operating as they should
  • protecting doorways and low windows.
  • moving and storing electrical, boxed, material, food, critical and perishable goods to an area at least one metre above floor level
  • placing all chemicals in a proper storage locker to prevent contamination, spillage, and loss
  • raising electrical sockets and separate ring mains
  • ensuring delegated personnel know how and when to turn off gas, electric and water supplies
  • enclosing or locking down items that may float or cause damage if moved

Further protection

If there are areas that need protecting, fit flood barriers recommended for that use. Ensure delegated personnel are trained and know how and when to deploy these items.

To protect doorways and low windows, fit purpose-built flood-proof doors and windows or install removable barriers. To protect air bricks temporary covers can be fitted in time of flood or new flood proof air bricks can be installed.

Standalone perimeter defences can be installed to protect a larger area of land and not rely on the strength of the building to hold back the flood. Built-in slumps with pumps can be used for removal of flood water that enters a building. Basements can be sealed using a ‘tanking’ system to make them completely waterproof.

To reduce runoff, permeable paving of car parks, green roofs and tree planting can be utilised. Additionally, green roofs and tree planting increase biodiversity and wildlife, improve air and water quality, insulate the building, and can provide amenity space.

Have clean up equipment and a recovery plan ready.

How we can help

We provide support and advice to businesses regarding the production and development of their business continuity plans and arrangements.

For further information please contact [email protected].

Further information and useful links 

Last updated 08 March 2024