At Work - How will floods and storms affect your business?

It’s not just homes that can be affected by flooding, flooding may also be a risk to your business. Think of how much you could lose in stock, equipment and fittings due to a flood, along with the profits you could lose for the days and weeks it might take you to clean up after the flood.

Is your business close to a river, creek, major storm drain or in a low-lying area, then you may be at risk.



Outdoor Dining

Loose items such as outdoor furniture, umbrellas and movable barriers that are common place with outdoor dining venues can quickly become dangerous in the event of thunderstorms or strong winds.

What’s the risk?

Strong and sudden wind gusts are commonly associated with heavy showers or thunderstorms. These can develop suddenly and catch you off guard

  • Spring is generally a windier season as the climate transitions from cooler to warmer weather but storms can happen at any time of year.
  • Winds speeds can be increased in laneways by funnelling between two buildings
  • Loose items such as outdoor furniture, umbrellas and movable barriers can quickly become dangerous projectiles in strong winds.

How can I be better prepared?

  • When designing your outdoor layout, consider your location and what risks to consider that may arise from a strong or severe weather event
  • Ensure that outdoor items such as tables, chairs, umbrellas and mobile barriers are tied down or safely secured
  • Regularly clean gutters, downpipes and drains to ensure they are not blocked.
  • Make a plan that can be acted upon quickly to demobilise area if severe weather forecast 

Forecasts and Warnings

  • Stay informed with the latest weather information and warnings 
  • Know what the warnings mean - Severe Weather Warnings are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for: Sustained winds of gale force (63 km/h) or more, Wind gusts of 90 km/h or more or very heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding
  • Monitor severe weather warnings and forecasts  - via the Bureau of Meteorology App or website and warnings via VicEmergency.


How will floods affect your business?


  • Floods can be life threatening to you, your employees and your customers. Most flood deaths occur when people enter flood water.


  • Floods cause hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to business stock, plant, equipment, furniture and fittings every year
  • Damage can be caused by water inundation, debris, humidity, contamination, mould and power disruption
  • Insurance policies that cover your business for flood damage may be difficult to obtain and can be expensive


  • It usually takes a week or more to clean up after a flood, adding to your costs and stress. Your business may have to close for an extended period of time
  • It can take several weeks or months for your business to return to normal. Your customers may take their business elsewhere


Flash flooding and riverine flooding

There are different types of flooding that could affect your business. Your area may have a history of flash or riverine flooding.

Flash flooding:

  • Is usually a result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a short period of time
  • They occur with little or no warning, can be fast moving, dangerous and destructive and can reach full peak in only a few minutes
  • Response to flash flooding is highly reactive
  • This type of flood tends to subside quickly.

Riverine flooding:

  • Is a result of high rainfall over extended periods of time over a catchment area which may result in rivers and/or creek systems ‘bursting their banks’
  • The size, spread and how long the flood lasts can depend on how much rain has fallen and the landscape.
  • A longer lead time and flood intelligence may allow for time to plan and respond


Both flash and riverine flooding may not only inundate your property but also affect access roads, power, water and phone lines.



Developing a Business Flood Plan:

Take steps to prepare yourself and your business for a flood by creating a Business Flood Plan using the template in resources. Early preparation will help lower the risk of flooding to your business.

  • Comply with Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) regulations
  • Reduce damage to stock, plant, equipment and fittings
  • Reduce the amount of time that you can’t trade
  • Ensure customers will return when trading commences
  • Minimise the loss of profits
  • Protect employment
  • Protect your business reputation and image 

What to think about when developing your Flood Plan:

Identify what the main impacts are on your business and prioritise them

  • People’s health and safety are compromised
  • Property is damaged or destroyed
  • Profits are lost or service provision stopped
  • Paperwork and records are ruined
  • Other potential impacts

Manage your plan

  • Train all your employees to have knowledge and understanding of the actions and requirements
  • Ensure the plans details are up to date
  • Review your Flood plan periodically, significantly after a flood event


Sandbagging is a great way to help protect your business:

  • Find out where you can purchase them from your local supplier
  • Watch our Sandbagging video to ensure you know how to use them, fill them, lay them and safely dispose of them if they have been contaminated by flood water 
  • Download our Sandbagging flyer and include it with your Flood Plan


Understand the Warnings information available on the VICSES website.

Stay informed by ensuring you are notified of any flood events in your area by:




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