What to do if your pub gets flooded

By Claire Churchard contact

- Last updated on GMT

When it rains, it pours: what pubs need to think about if they are flooded
When it rains, it pours: what pubs need to think about if they are flooded

Related tags: Flood, Public house, Cellar

As heavy thunderstorms hit the UK this week, flooding many homes and businesses, The Morning Advertiser finds out what you should do if your pub gets flooded.

Immediate action

If water has already started entering your pub, the most important thing is to stay safe, ideally somewhere with a means of escape.

The Environment Agency (EA) and the fire brigade advise that you co-operate with the emergency services and call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Be ready to evacuate quickly as flood water can rise very fast.

Do not wade through water that is more than six inches high because currents can be strong enough to sweep people away. Move people and pets upstairs or to a place of safety outside the building.

If there is time, gather essential items together either upstairs or in a high place and fill jugs and saucepans with clean water. Gas, electricity and water supplies can be turned off if water has not entered the property but do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.

The emergency services will communicate the risk of floods via its warning services as early as possible. However, be aware that certain types of flooding such as flash flooding and surface water flooding are more difficult to predict so the advice from the EA is to “stay alert to localised flooding” and check the daily flood risk forecast on its website​ as well as listening to local radio and other media for up-to-date weather forecasts.

In its flood guide for pubs, the Licensed Trade Charity said: “Contact your pub company area manager if applicable to find out if they have put a plan in place.

“If you lose your home due to flooding, you will be a priority need of the local council emergency accommodation, so contact your local council.”

My pub is flooded, what now?

Once the immediate danger has passed, it’s imperative that you call your insurance company as soon as possible. Photograph the damage and list the losses.

The Licensed Trade Charity said: “If your insurance policy covers you for loss of perishable goods, make a list of all the food you throw away, including food affected by floodwater and any food ruined by loss of power to your fridge or freezer.”

It is also advisable to keep receipts for emergency expenditure you need to make as a result of the flood. Also check that your insurance company will pay for this.

FSB Insurance Service managing director David Perry said: “After the floodwater has receded, contact your broker or insurer to make your claim. Make sure you don’t dispose of anything until you have photographed it for your records.

“If you have previously purchased loss recovery insurance, your loss adjuster will be able to help you arrange appointments to check gas, electricity and if the building is structurally safe. Otherwise, arrange these checks yourself. Ventilate and dehumidify the property, but if you’re using a diesel generator, make sure you’ve got a carbon monoxide detector.”

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds said it is the responsibility of the pub operator to ensure their cellar and contents (including kegs, casks, dispense equipment and gas cylinders) are professionally sanitised. BBPA has guidance for pubs on how to deal with flood damage, to ensure they take the steps necessary to protect consumer safety and get back trading as soon as possible. 

The fire brigade advises: "Be aware that contacting your insurance company after a flood can be quite difficult due to the amount of people that may have been flooded at any one time."

The service also urged businesses to be cautious when hiring builders to repair the damage and warned: "It’s also important to note that some builders offering to put things right quickly will prey on people who have been subjected to flooding. Take advice from your insurance company first.”

Preparing for a flood

The EA urges businesses to have a flood plan. This will include knowing who to contact and how in the event of a flood, deciding where you will go and creating a list with all your important contacts that you can access quickly.

It is important to think about what items you can move upstairs or to higher ground before the water starts rising.

Check all staff know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies.

The EA advises considering flood protection equipment such as plastic covers to seal air bricks and sandbags to repel floodwater, which your local council may provide. However, councils may be in short supply so think about buying your own sand and bags or use pillowcases or plastic bags filled with earth.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government provides guidance on flood protection for those at risk. Any pubs that are concerned about the possibility of flooding should proactively consult the advice to see what steps they should take.

"Businesses should also contact their local authorities to see if there is any guidance tailored to their local areas. If there is a risk of flooding, all businesses should ensure a plan is in place and that team members are adequately briefed on the steps they should take to protect the venue and themselves.”

More information

The Environment Agency​  

The Licensed Trade Charity​ 

The British Beer & Pub Association

The National Flood Forum

The Business Continuity Institute​ has created this video to help people prepare for unexpected events and to reduce the impact on their business.

Related topics: Health & safety

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