Flooding on the High Street

13 March 2015

Historically, villages, towns and cities have grown around a watercourse, whether this is a stream to drive the watermill or a large river for transporting goods.  There’s a tangible flood risk on the doorstep for the commercial premises that operate in the centre of the populous area termed ‘the High Street’. Under normal circumstances the watercourse provides an amenity not a risk, but at times of heavy rainfall over a sustained period, the amenity becomes a risk to both property and life.

Further afield, sharp downpours in rapid catchment areas represent another kind of risk – that of flash or surface water flood. We’ve already looked at the possibility of such flood happening in your road. Have you thought about if it could happen in your High Street?

There are simple measures that shop owners and others can take to minimise the effects a flood has on the business or property, be it from the local river or a flash flood. Here’s a list of a few of them:

  • Ensure stock is stored off the floor. Preferably at a height flood water can’t reach
  • If stock must be on the floor ensure it’s the least expensive if lost to flood damage.
  • Raise electrical items out of harm’s way
  • Electrical sockets should be at a height of 450mm
  • Computer towers should be on desks not the floor
  • Store all electronic data in the ‘cloud’ and back up regularly
  • Store paperwork on shelves not the floor
  • Keep a small supply of alternative sand bags and ensure staff know how to deploy them in times of emergency
  • Prepare a Flood Plan and test it occasionally.
  • Share your plan with neighbouring businesses/properties and develop a resilient community

Being prepared for such an eventuality - a timely warning is a must. If you’re in an Environment Agency Floodline Direct Warning area, ensure you’re registered. Through this you’ll receive a text warning to your mobile – quite useful if you live some distance from the shop or business.

Remember, a resilient business is a sustainable business.

  • Know Your Risk
  • Be Prepared
  • Have a Plan

Free Ebook for communities: How to prepare for flooding and other emergencies.

Image by Freepik


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