Is Your Organisation Prepared for a Flood or a Fire?

August 7, 2019 | Reskill Your Workforce | 4 min read
Firefighter extinguishing a fire

We all watched in horror and disbelief as smoke billowed from a burning Notre-Dame. It was a stark reminder of the vulnerability of buildings, even those that have withstood countless attacks and bombings. It is also a reminder to all that nothing is permanent, and although the French firefighters managed to save the main bell towers and outer walls of the cathedral, this is not always the case.

Protecting your business today

The question companies must ask is, what are they doing to minimise the risks? My colleague, Donna McEntee, offers some excellent practical advice on How to Protect Your Organization Against Floods. Her blog post reminds readers about the critical importance of having both an Emergency Action Plan and a Business Continuity Plan. While Donna’s blog focuses on the US, I want to speak to these concerns as they relate to those of us in Europe.

UK Fire Safety

The consequences of a fire are devastating, and some industries are more susceptible to its risk than others. In March of this year, a fire at a recycling centre in Grantham took over 60 firefighters and fire engines to quash. However, this was not the first fire on this site. There have been repeated fires at the location, and in 2007 it burnt to the ground. Last year a fire at a London UK Snacks warehouse caused extensive damage and destroyed areas of the building. A few months after the fire, UK Snacks fell into administration, and although the fire did not directly cause the collapse, it may have impacted the outcome.

The UK government provides practical advice to those responsible for fire safety in your organisation.

A short guide to making your premises safe from fire

Organisations can also request a fire risk assessment

BAFE offers a comprehensive overview of your legal responsibilities for fire safety within your company.

UK Flooding

Businesses are susceptible to damage and destruction from multiple sources. Across the globe, we see an increasing rise in the threat to organisations from severe weather changes. According to one UK government report, over £200 billion worth of assets are at risk around British rivers and coasts and in towns and cities. We are all vulnerable to the disruption of transport and power when a major flood occurs. While the unprecedented snowstorms that hit in 2018 are by some estimates to have cost the economy £1 billion a day.

If you are concerned whether your business is at risk of flooding, you can call Floodline on 0345 b988 1188 or go to their website and check.

Sign up for flood warnings. This is a free, 24-hour service that sends automated flood warnings by telephone, SMS text, email, fax or pager. To find out if you can receive this service, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Floodline’s steps for preparing a flood plan

Taking simple steps can go a long way to protecting your business from flooding. Preparing a flood plan could:

  • Significantly reduce financial losses, damage to property and business interruption;
  • Help compliance with regulatory requirements (for example, Occupier’s Liability Act 1984);
  • Reduce exposure to civil or criminal liability;
  • Enhance your company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community;
  • Help fulfil your moral responsibility to protect employees, the community and the environment; and
  • Help you to obtain insurance cover.

The website also offers best practise for writing a business flood plan and a business checklist to see if you are prepared for flooding.

Compliance awareness and training

Part of the preparation against such a threat is ensuring that you and your colleagues know what to do in the event of a disaster at the workplace. Training is a vital component of any organisational awareness plan. Here’s a list of the Skillsoft Environmental Health and Safety courses that are tailored to safety best practices for each region.

  • UK Fire Risk Assessments for Facility Managers
  • UK Fire Safety and Prevention 2.0 / Fire Safety and Prevention 2.0
  • UK Emergency and Disaster Preparedness / Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • UK Emergency Response in the Workplace / Emergency Response in the Workplace

We also have courses for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain:

  • Brandschutz und Sicherheit / Fire Safety and Prevention
  • Sicurezza e prevenzione degli incendi / Fire Safety and Prevention
  • Seguridad y prevención de incendios / Fire Safety and Prevention
  • Sécurité et prévention incendie / Fire Safety and Prevention
  • Brandveiligheid en -Preventie / Fire Safety and Prevention


  • Vorbereitung auf Notfälle und Katastrophen / Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Preparación frente a emergencias y desastres / Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Prontidão para emergências e desastres / Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Préparation aux situations d'urgence et aux sinistres / Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

Andrew Nickolls is the Director for Compliance Solutions at Skillsoft EMEA.