Preparing your school for floods

November 28th, 2014 Category: Secondary Education

This week, reports of flooding have swept across much of the UK, which has affected schools, homes and businesses.

News reports have revealed that parts of Somerset, Surrey, the south-east and the south-west have been significantly impacted by excessive water overflow.

Unfortunately, even when steps are taken to mitigate or prevent flooding in these circumstances, it is not always possible to do so.

While it undoubtedly creates a lot of damage and chaos for homes and businesses that are affected, the negative effects can be even more pronounced in schools.

It can result in schools having to shut down for an extended period of time, which creates obvious disruption and difficulties for the children and teachers concerned.

Furthermore, a comprehensive and expansive cleaning operation will be needed to clear up any mess that occurs as a result.

For this reason, it is important for school managers to ensure they do whatever they can to make advanced preparations for any flooding that may occur and ensure parents and children are kept in the loop as a result.

In this guide, we list some of the main ways flooding can affect schools and what can be done to mitigate the effect.

Effects of flooding

Flooding can create structural and site damage, both of which bring their own unique set of problems.

School grounds may be subject to erosion, debris and other obstructions may accumulate on the site after flooding.

Flooding can also create dampness and mould within the structure of a school's building, leading to decay and erosion.

Computer equipment, furniture, textbooks and wiring may sustain extensive damage as a result.

All of this can result in the closure of the school while repairs and maintenance work takes place.

How to mitigate the effects of flooding

Where possible, schools should improve the drainage systems around their buildings and provide fail-safe backup power in case the electricity does go off.

Off-site computer backup should also be installed to store important school records.
Ideally any library or multimedia centre should be situated on a higher floor.

Monitoring weather patterns

In the wintertime, the management of the school should listen out for any weather reports or news updates on flood warnings, storms, blizzards or anything else that may affect the school.

Flood preparedness should also be included in any plan, with a comprehensive breakdown on which staff members, procedures and equipment will be necessary if disaster does occur.

Schools should also ensure there is an efficient system for informing parents and teachers quickly if emergency measures or closures are being considered.

The government will also have information available on its website about what will need to be done when flooding occurs.