The impact of a flood can be devastating, so it’s important to know how to prevent and prepare for a flood if you can.
Winter months bring increased rainfall, which can potentially cause a lot of damage for your club. Without the proper insurance cover, flood damage is an expensive business. But the good news is, although you can never completely eradicate the risk, there are steps you can take to prevent flooding or at least reduce the impact.
In this blog, we’ll take you through those steps. This is vital information for all insurance holders, as these precautions will help you stay on the right side of your risk management obligations.
Identify if your club is at risk
Find out if your site or its locality has a history of flooding. If you haven’t been at the location long, find out from local residents if you’re at risk.
If you’re close to a large body of water such as rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs or located on a low-lying area, then you’re probably at greater risk of a flood.
Keep up to date with the news
Being prepared is key to preventing flood damage. Your first port of call should be local weather forecasts. If they predict heavy rain, head to one of these websites to access flood warnings & advice:
Look after your staff
If a storm or flood is predicted, advise staff to avoid coming to work. Your employees shouldn’t risk a dangerous journey – and neither should your customers or members. If you think the weather will be particularly treacherous you should consider not opening your club.
If you’re due any deliveries and you know your club is likely to be shut, make sure you rearrange these as soon as you can. The last thing you need is a huge stock delivery arriving if you’re trying to deal with flood damage.
Try to prevent damage
Don’t leave it until a flood’s on its way to start putting together a plan of action. Ensure that drains and gutters in, on or around your premises are kept clear and in good working order and check this every six months.
Flood proof your club before it’s too late
There are several steps you can take in advance of flood warnings to help minimise damage to your club:
- Exterior walls: check the pointing, and apply water-proofing sealant to exterior walls
- Floors: raise damp-proof brick courses. Seal floors or replace wooden floorboards with concrete with a damp-proof membrane.
- Air bricks: buy automatic flood-proof air bricks or specially designed covers that are easy to fit over air bricks when flooding is expected
- Drains and pipes: fit non-return valves to drains and water inlet and outlet pipes. This will prevent wastewater from flowing back into the property through sewerage pipes for ground floor toilets and sinks
- Landscaping: landscape garden areas and driveways to help divert water away from your property
Prepare an emergency flood kit
A flood kit could include items such as bottled water, medication, first aid equipment, a torch and a battery-powered radio. You should write and print out a flood checklist so you know exactly what you need to do if the bad weather hits.
You should also include plastic folders and bags to place important documents in. These should be kept on a higher level or in a water-proof container/safe to prevent any damage.
If a flood is imminent, you can prevent damage by following these steps:
Sandbags and Barriers
Make use of any sandbags, or barriers than can be installed at the doorways of your leisure facility. If you want to know where you can get access to sandbags and other protective measures, contact your local Environment Agency. You should also consider putting up temporary flood barriers for doors and windows.
Moving Equipment and Carpets
If possible, you should move all equipment from the lower floors. This is especially true for social clubs who may have items which would be expensive to replace should they be damaged by flood water such as gaming machines and pool tables. If the items are too heavy, putting electrical items up onto bricks will help to prevent damage.
Moving sports equipment from outside storage where it is more likely to become damaged or lost is also advisable, and relocating expensive sporting equipment to high ground will also help you re-open faster after this disruption. It is sometimes worth taking up carpets and moving them to a higher floor if you predict that flooding is a likely eventuality.
Try to route the water flow
If your structure has a basement try and clear the basement and route the water flow into these areas and pump out, it is better to flood a basement and actively pump the water out, rather than have the flood water fill up the ground floor (where significantly more expensive and harder to replace damage would be caused).
Unplug all electrical items, turn off mains supplies and close off flow valves
Turn off any electric at your venue if flooding is predicted. Failing to do so can cause immense damage and increase the cost of repairs significantly. You should also turn off mains supplies to minimise damage.
Make sure yourself and your staff know how to shut off gas, electricity, oil-fired heating and water. You should also be equipped with a torchlight to help you find your way in the dark.
What to do after a flood?
If you are unfortunate enough to experience flooding, you should know what to do in the aftermath:
- Don’t throw anything away
- Keep copies of all letters, emails and faxes you send and receive, and take photographs and video footage of any and all damage to your property
- Get photographic evidence of all equipment (such as machines and other goods covered by your policy)
- Make detailed notes of damage (such as where the damage is and the extent of the damage)
- Make sure you do not remove or replace any items damaged without prior approval from your insurance company. Instead make detailed notes of all the items which have been affected
- If you can safely get inside your property, mark the height of flood water on the wall with a permanent marker, in all the affected rooms
- If your insurance covers you for food or perishable goods, make a note of anything you throw away because it has gone off, or is contaminated
- Keep a record of everything related to your claim
- Keep a detailed record of all correspondence with anyone cleaning up or repairing your leisure establishment
- Where possible, get an estimate for repair which includes a full breakdown of the costs involved
- Keep all receipts of any emergency repair work you have done, like fixing electric fittings or other time critical repairs
- Evidence all the risk management measures you took
Check your insurance
Flooding is a type of damage that is sometimes missing from standard insurance coverage wording, so be sure to clarify this with your insurer or broker if you have any questions or concerns about flood damage to your establishment.
If you’d like a confidential review of your insurance or want further advice, please contact the Club Insure team.