Information and advice to help your business before, during and after a flood.
Before a flood
Before a flood is forecast, there are actions you can take to better protect your business. The following advice is aimed at businesses but you can also read our general
before a flood advice.
If your premises are at risk from flooding, a risk assessment should have already been carried out.
Find out if your business premises are in an at risk area
- If possible, equipment and food stock should be removed from any area in danger of flooding.
- If you can't move food out of areas at risk of flooding, you can put all opened goods in air tight containers to prevent the food from becoming damp, mouldy and possibly unfit to eat if it floods.
During a flood
If your business is flooding, it's important you keep yourself and your employees safe.
For advice and help when it's flooding, please view our
during a flood advice.
After a flood
We offer a number of services to help businesses get back on their feet after a flood. The following information is aimed at businesses but you can also read our general
after a flood advice.
Making a food insurance claim after a flood
If you need to throw away food because it's been in contact with floodwater, we can provide you with a Food Surrender Certificate. You can give this certificate to your insurance company to help you claim back the costs of losing your stock.
Before giving you a certificate, we'll visit your premises and inspect the food that needs to be thrown away.
It costs £81 for a Food Surrender Certificate. You may be able to recover this cost from your insurers.
Arrange a visit from our food safety team after a flood
We can visit your premises to offer specific advice on food hygiene and health and safety after a flood. In particular cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and throwing away food and drink.
It costs £81 for a visit but if there's been a borough-wide flood, you wouldn't have to pay.
We'd usually visit your premises within 7 days of you asking us. In urgent cases we aim to visit you within 48 hours.
Health and safety advice after a flood
After a flood, you still need to keep health and safety in mind at all times.
- As a business you must consider the safety of yourself, your employees, the general public and any contractors who enter your premises. This includes workplace safety advice during COVID-19.
- You must also ensure you comply with your duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when staff are carrying out work activities they wouldn't normally be doing.
Lifts and hoists shouldn't be used until they've been checked by a competent person to ensure that the floodwaters haven't affected the safety of the system.
Remember, only when your premises are safe should you allow members of the public back into the premises.
Cleaning your business after a flood
Here's how to clean up your business after a flood.
- All river debris, furnishings, equipment and other items which have to be disposed of must be dealt with legally and as carefully as possible.
- People cleaning up mustn't be put at risk of coming directly into contact with potentially contaminated rubbish which may contain hidden, sharp or jagged objects.
- You must ensure your staff are aware of these precautions whilst carrying out the cleaning.
Using water and electrics after a flood
Making sure your water and electric are safe to use after a flood is important.
It's vitally important for safety reasons to have your electric appliances inspected by a Gas Safe registered engineer before being put back into use. The appliances may look and appear to be working normally, but the flue or ventilation systems which are essential for normal operation may have been adversely affected by floodwater.
Find Gas Safe registered engineers
- If a swimming pool has become flooded, it must be drained, thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. After refilling the pool, the water should be tested to check the system isn't still contaminated with harmful bacteria.
- If you're charged a fix water fee without a water meter, contact United Utilities. They may suspend your water bills if you're not using your business property because it has flooded.
Re-opening your food business after a flood
When you come to clean up and re-open your food business, you should consider:
- Wooden beer casks which have been in contact with floodwaters must be thrown away. Metal beer barrels may be able to be used as long as the floodwater has not reached any connection, outlet or inlet.
- When returning any contaminated barrels, casks, bottles and cans, advise your suppliers they've been in contact with floodwaters so they can take the necessary precautions.
- It's essential that all flood-damaged food and drink is correctly disposed of to ensure that it can't be consumed and cause illness. If you're in any doubt about the safe disposal of such items, please contact us for advice.
- Some equipment, although in working order, won't be easy to clean and disinfect. Any equipment such as fridges, freezers and ovens, where the motor or fan is included in, or directly communicates with the main body of the unit, must be thrown away.
- If you're in any doubt about the need for disposal, or whether equipment is possible to disinfect properly, please contact us using the details on this page and we may visit you to help.
Dealing with rodents on your business property after a flood
Floodwater may disturb rodents which could've entered your premises and caused damage to electrical wiring and furniture.
If you think this has happened, a pest control contractor should check your premises.
Cleaning up chemicals after a flood
There may be chemical residues left after the flood water has gone down, either from open containers on your premises or elsewhere. Some of these chemicals can be harmful and could combine with other chemicals to form a more dangerous substance. You must consult with the suppliers of the chemicals for advice.