Flood Emergency Plans: the what, when and why

What is a Flood Emergency Plan? When do I need one? Why do I need one?

These are all questions you might be asking yourself when you see the term Flood Emergency Plan. Sophie Dusting, one of our flood emergency planners, is on hand to help by sharing her expertise in planning for a flood response.

Emergency Preparedness CycleJBA Flood Preparedness Cycle

Preparing a Flood Emergency Plan is part of the “emergency preparedness” cycle. Planning for a flood event/emergency can help to:

  1. Reduce the risk to life and increase public safety
  2. Reduce damage and financial loss resulting from a flood event
  3. Increase individual, community and/or property resilience to a flood event

Depending on the purpose of the Flood Emergency Plan these may cover the entire emergency preparedness cycle or focus on one element e.g. the response.

New or re-development

For new development or redevelopment sites it is important to PLAN and prepare Flood Emergency Plans as a mitigation measure. In the flood risk management hierarchy, mitigation is a ‘last resort’ after all other options have been investigated and considered.

The Planning Practice Guidance states that developers can use flood warning and evacuation procedures to demonstrate that the development will be safe and that residual risk can be overcome. It can also be used to help satisfy the second criteria of the Exception Test.

The Flood Emergency Plans prepared for development sites tend to focus on the response. The purpose of the plan is to prepare written procedures related to flood evacuation or containment which are to be followed in the event of forecasted, imminent or actual flooding of a site. The overall aim is to help those responsible for managing the safety of the site to facilitate a safe flood evacuation or containment.

Individuals and communities

Recent Government reviews such as the National Flood Resilience Review and the Defra Property Flood Resilience Action Plan encourage authorities and those at risk of flooding to take measures to increase their resilience. One such measure is to prepare an individual, business or community Flood Emergency Plan. This will help property/business owners and/or the community to respond swiftly and efficiently prior to, during and after a flood and to minimise its impact. In addition, a community Flood Emergency Plan can:

  • Review the nature the flooding in your area
  • Identify members of the community who have existing skills, knowledge and resources which can be utilised in a flood event
  • Identify more vulnerable members of the community which may need additional assistance
  • Provide procedures for the deployment of existing property-level protection measures
  • Prepare contact details and communication arrangements
  • Understand the role and responsibilities of external organisations
  • Maintain community awareness of the flood risk
  • Identify local flood warning procedures and options

No plan can be validated until it has been put to test

Exercising and evaluating a Flood Emergency Plan is part of the Flood Preparedness cycle. No plan can be validated until:

  • You TRAIN your staff / members of the community
  • You EXERCISE the Plan
  • You EVALUATE your individual, organisational and / or community response.

It is imperative that Flood Emergency Plans are tested in a safe training environment rather than waiting until a real flood event. Evaluating the response will help to identify where arrangements can be refined and where information may need updating to inform the next revision of the Plan. Flood Emergency Plans are ‘living documents’ and therefore, training and exercising is not a one-off ‘tick box’ event; it is part of a cycle of activities which should be repeated periodically.

JBA has delivered numerous flood exercises which rehearse incident and response plans and procedures for Category 1 responders (e.g. the Environment Agency) and Category 2 responders (e.g. Network Rail).

We work closely with the Environment Agency to provide flood exercises and modular based training using our bespoke JEMS software. Our flood exercising service has been fully endorsed by the Emergency Planning Society.

JBA JEMS Logo        JBA Endorsed Training EPS

Want to find out more?

We can help you create a Flood Emergency Plan as well as develop training and exercising requirements. You can read more about flood risk management on our website or please contact Sophie Dusting on 01675 437750 or our Flood Resilience Lead Phil Emonson on 01392 904040.

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