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In focus: Flood prevention

By Simon Crowther BEng (Hons), Founder and MD of Flood Protection Solutions Ltd

Flood Prevention

Flood prevention has never been more important. Flooding is the biggest threat the UK faces as a result of Climate Change. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which means rainfall and storms can be more intense. Alongside this, as sea water warms, it expands.

Urban Flood Water can carry dangerous bacteria that cause disease, especially where sewers have overflowed. 40% of businesses do not reopen following a catastrophic loss such as flooding, and average insurance claim for a flood is in the region of £30,000.

Being flooded is horrible. Filthy brown water devastates the ground floor of your home. My family home was flooded in 2007 and we were out of the house for 9 months whilst it was repaired. The upheaval, expense and stress was immense. Flash flooding affected a number of the houses, some up to five times when the normally pretty stream that enters the village spilled onto the road making it like a fast flowing river.

After this event, everything was pretty quiet until July of 2012. Once again rain, the like of which would normally be seen in the tropics, hit the village. The Main Street became like a brown fast flowing river, but this time the majority of the residents had taken preventative measures.

The first thing to do is check your flood risk, but remember – anywhere it can rain, it can flood. According to a YouGov Survey, 67% of people do not know their flood risk!

One of the best methods to reduce your risk of flooding is to try and keep the water as far away from your property as you can. This could be with walls and flood gates, or with a product like the Water-Gate barrier. The Water-Gate flood barrier is a temporary system which is unique in the way that once rolled out, it self deploys. It uses the weight of the water to hold the water back. It was a Water-Gate which kept my home dry in 2012.
You could have flood doors or barriers fitted, and alongside air brick covers, these reduce the amount of water that enters your home. Make sure you look for FM Approved or Kitemarked products, so you know they have been tested.

Pumps can be used to help keep an area dry. No matter what type of barrier you use, a certain amount of water will almost always flow into the protected area or in the case of rain, fall behind it. Therefore, water pumps can be as important as your protective barrier.

It is also important not to forget to fit a non-return valve to your sewerage. Some people do not realise they are flooding until sewage starts backing up out of the toilets. I have seen this happen first hand and it is disgusting. Raw sewage overflows onto the floor.

Sandbags are ineffective and expensive. In Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the 2007 floods he states ‘The review was unable to obtain any significant evidence that sandbags were particularly effective during the 2007 summer floods in providing protection to individual households.’ Newer proven technology should be embraced instead.

Flood defences reduce the risk of flooding, but do not remove it. Flooding and its effects are always unpredictable and can vary from property to property. In some situations, the water is so deep that trying to keep it out could cause structural damage. Flood Resilience is therefore important too. This is where the property still floods, but the damage is reduced. Consider having electric sockets raised up, and having ceramic floor tiles instead of carpet.

For more information, please visit: www.floodprotectionsolutions.co.uk/.

Flood Prevention

Top 10 Tips to Reduce the Impact of Flooding on Businesses:

With the weather constantly changing business need to know how to be prepared for the worst, particularly when it comes to flooding. Simon Crowther, BEng (Hons) and founder of Flood Protection Solutions Ltd, offers his top tips on how to reduce the impact of flooding on your business.
1. Check your flood risk. There are many different types of flooding, so it is important to know your level of risk. You can get a flood report from ‘Know your Flood Risk’: www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk/our-flood-report.
2. Be alert – sign up for the FREE Environment Agency Floodline Warning Service via: fwd.environment-agency.gov.uk/app/olr/register.
3. Draw up a Flood Plan of how you’ll respond to a flood to keep you and your staff safe. Carefully think through how you will deal with any hazardous equipment and how to reduce the risk from polluting materials.
4. Create a ‘Grab Bag’ containing essential items such as antibacterial hand gel, spare keys, water etc. Make sure this bag is easily accessible – identify in your flood plan where it should be kept.
5. Flooding could destroy your computers so ensure you regularly back up your documents and data to a safe and secure storage, eg. the cloud, dropbox, etc.
6. There are new innovative ways to help protect your own business. Why resort to ineffective sandbags when there are more effective products? An example is the Water-Gate barrier from Flood Protection Solutions Ltd. www.floodprotectionsolutions.co.uk/. Do not forget that water can come up through the ground and drains. Non-return valves and pumps can help here.
7. Be resilient by minimising the damage flood water causes if it does enter your building. No flood defence scheme can ever be 100% effective. Consider replacing carpets with tiles and raising electric sockets etc.
8. Familiarise yourself with how to shut off gas, electricity and water supplies.
9. Store important documents higher up. Make sure they are easily accessible if possible.
10. If you are flooded, take lots of photos of the damage afterwards, and make sure you wear rubber gloves – the water can be very contaminated.

Simon Crowther BEng (Hons) is the founder and MD of Flood Protection Solutions and has introduced the Water-Gate flood barrier to the UK. The Water-Gate is a unique and affordable product for businesses to protect their premises from flooding as it is quick and easy to use – once rolled out, it self deploys using the weight of the water to hold the water back – and reusable. Simon’s pioneering research into flooding earned him a prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, he was invited to speak at the 2015 Flood Expo and also sit on their climate change panel. Simon was selected as a finalist in the coveted Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2015.

For more information, please visit: www.floodprotectionsolutions.co.uk/.

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