05 - Pre-Flood / Flood Contingency Plan

A flood contingency plan will help reduce material damage and consequent business interruption in a flood event. These plans define the response measures at various stages of the potential flooding event as well issues such as response team composition, hierarchy, communication flow, etc. The purpose of such a plan is to ensure safety of staff, minimization of property damage and, when possible, quick return to normal operations.

The detail of contingency plans will be determined by many factors including the size, value and occupancy of the facility and the probability of flood occurring.

Regular exercises should be conducted to test the plans, in coordination with local authorities. Based on these exercises plans should be periodically reviewed and updated where necessary.

Hazards

  • Reliance on mobile flood protection that needs intervention prior or during a flood event where procedures (eg. for alarming required staff, instructions how to install flood protection, etc.) are not covered in the plan.
  • A general emergency and contingency plan exists, but has not considered flood as a specific scenario.
  • Key staff are not aware of or trained in the implementation of the plan.
  • Complex procedures that have not considered the minimum response time, ie. duration between flood notification and arrival of flood water.

Controls

  • Fully developed and implemented flood plan.
  • Flood planning includes the regular review and exercise of the overall plan, also with the involvement of local authorities.
  • All elements of the plan can be carried out within the expected warning time prior to the flood.
  • Development of a business continuity plan that considers, amongst other issues, alternative sourcing and production facilities that lie outside the flood zone to ensure continuation of operations throughout the duration of the flood event.

Risk improvement ideas

  • Develop specific Flood Emergency & Contingency Plans, or ensure that existing plans have considered flood as a potential hazard.
  • Review, discuss and test the plans regularly to ensure that they will function in an actual emergency situation. Also consider elements not directly affecting the site itself, such as safe access of staff to the facility, transportation, auxiliary power for the duration of the flooding event, etc. Identify and check possible watercourse restrictions and how they could be avoided. In fluvial flooding this includes, but is not limited to, culverts and bridges that could become blocked. Coordinate with local authorities to ensure that these are regularly maintained to reduce the probability of flooding.
  • Identify elements that need securement or shutting off. Floating objects will damage buildings as they could become ‘missiles’ in fast-flowing flood water. Items to be aware of include but are not limited to, liquid storage tanks, yard storage, etc. Do not store elements that could float and act as missiles in flood prone areas of your premises. Secure any such material and have a means available to move or secure them ready in the event that flood is imminent. 
  • The presence of forests, especially those not well maintained, may cause tree trunks, branches, logs and debris to float into the riverbed and cause damage. Consider professionally clearing them if you have authority, or tell the authorities about your concerns.

Resources

Zurich Resources