How to respond during a flash flood

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Be prepared: advice available for pubs on dealing with flash flooding
Be prepared: advice available for pubs on dealing with flash flooding

Related tags: Flood

As we head into summer, the risk of flash flooding in the UK is at its highest.

Just days ago (4 June), a JD Wetherspoon pub in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, was forced to close its kitchen after heavy rain caused an “ankle deep” flash flood in just 10 minutes.

The Morning Advertiser​ explains what you can do to mitigate the damage if you are caught in a fast-rising flood situation.

Immediate actions

The National Flood Forum​ says the first priority during a flood is protecting life. Move upstairs or to higher ground, keep safe and warm and follow guidance from emergency services on evacuation.

If you have prior warning, usually from the environment agency or local authorities, turn off the electricity supply to the property and leave it off. Don’t turn it back on until a qualified electrician, or utility company has checked it.

Minimise your contact with flood waters because they can also be contaminated, especially by untreated sewage, which remains after the floodwater has gone and can be hazardous.

Before the storm

If weather forecasters have been able to give enough warning, you can contact your local council, which will have a policy on the deployment of sandbags. You can also get sandbags from some DIY or building supply shops.

Get advice from a Floodline adviser on their 24-hour phone line ​0345 988 1188 to find out how to stay safe during a flood.

The Federation of Small Businesses says, if possible, move your undamaged goods, stock and equipment to upstairs rooms or higher ground.

After the flood

Ask qualified professionals to check the electrics and gas supply to appliances that have been flooded or where their vents/flues have been affected.

Be aware that floodwater can damage buildings and potentially make them structurally unsound, particularly if it has been flowing quickly and reached a height in excess of 1m. You may want to ask a structural engineer to check that it is safe to return to the building.

Take photos of all your possessions including one of the tide mark on the wall and call your insurance company.

If you are a pub tenant, contact your landlord as soon as possible to update them and request they take immediate action to help you get the pub up and running as soon as possible.

Contact your customers to advise them of your situation.

Create separate cost codes in your accounts books specific to the flood damage and allocate all related expenditure to this code. This will make tracking the final costs easier when an insurance claim has been agreed. This is especially important for any additional costs incurred maintaining the business during repairs.

Don’t fully occupy your property until after all standing water, mud, detritus and water-damaged carpets has been removed. Keep a sample of the carpet for your insurer.

Be prepared

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has advised pubs to sign up to the Environment Agency’s email alert​ to receive live information on flooding.

“As with any other risk, businesses should make sure they take time to identify any worrying issues and make sure staff are trained and ready in case of a flood,” said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls.

You can check if there is currently a flood warning in your area by clicking here.

Related topics: Health & safety, Training

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