Floods destroy. Be prepared
The nights are drawing in and winter is fast approaching. Recent downpours have brought back memories of last year’s wettest winter on record for 250 years. In some of the worst hit areas whole communities were affected by flooding, and with around one in six properties in England currently at risk, it’s a subject that can’t be ignored. This year, Marks & Spencer are partnering with the Environment Agency’s flood action campaign to help educate and prepare our employees, customers and communities.
Prepare, plan, protect
Following the effects of flooding on some of our communities, staff and suppliers, M&S is making plans to help combat its potential impacts.
We’re providing information to our colleagues and customers about the risks of flooding and how they can protect themselves, and their homes. During November, we will be reaching out to the local communities in 10 of our stores which are at highest risk of flooding. Environment Agency staff will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information and guidance for customers and staff.
The campaign urges residents and local businesses to take a series of simple steps to safeguard themselves, their families and homes. The three most important actions are:
- Use the Environment Agency’s online flood risk maps to find out if you are at risk of flooding
- Sign up for free flood warnings in your area
- If necessary, prepare a personal flood plan.
We have installed newly designed “Flood Hubs”, with emergency provisions of sand bags, rock salt and pumping, into some of last year’s worst affected stores. Working with the Environment Agency as part of our adverse weather preparation, we have also mapped the flood risk to all our UK stores.
We’re committed to proactively managing our property estate so that it is fit for the future. This means assessing and adapting our new and existing stores to minimise the risks around climate change. A great example of this is our Cheshire Oaks store, which incorporates rainwater harvesting, tree planting and a sustainable drainage feature to minimise the effects of storm conditions.
We are also working to support farming for the future and are engaging with our food suppliers to help them prepare for flooding and ensure they manage the risk.
We are all in this together. We have to communicate, connect and collaborate. In truth, for some of us less lucky, the risk of floodwater around our ankles this winter is a very real one.
Floods destroy, so let’s be prepared.
Jaki Howard is the Business Continuity Manager for the Marks and Spencer Group