Why Firewater Risk Assessments Could Save Your Business

FirewaterHave you ever thought about what would happen to your business if it was affected by contaminated firewater?

Did you know that as well as causing untold damage to your business and the environment, it could put you at the risk of being fined, or even prosecuted?

It’s something to think about.

Having a clear strategy in place to mitigate the risks, and to plan your emergency responses in advance may save you the trouble.


How risk assessments can help

Undertaking risk assessments can help you understand if your current processes are good enough, or if you need to put in place some additional measures to deal with any firewater run-off.

You can use this information to develop an effective strategy that works for you.

You should consider the following:

  • products you store on-site that could become damaged by firewater;
  • the amount of water you think would be needed to extinguish a fire;
  • where the firewater may flow – will it be absorbed through the ground? Or will the firewater drain?;
  • how will the contaminated firewater affect the environment; and
  • the aftermath – are you already prepared to deal with the firewater runoff?

Containing firewater

Containing the firewater is the best way to stop it from getting into the environment and causing damage. This is why you should try to find ways to contain the firewater fully.

You can do this by directing the firewater flow into an isolated drainage network, or by installing an impermeable membrane.

In some cases, you may even be able to recycle the firewater, which would be an added bonus.

Here are several suggestions on how to contain the firewater:

  • you can create containment areas (lagoons) such as basins made of earth;
  • use penstocks and shut-off valves to encourage the drainage flow to isolate the contaminated water;
  • repurpose delegated areas to be used in such emergencies such as sports grounds or car parks;
  • build tankers or drums especially to contain the contaminated water;
  • if there are limited options, trenches and pits can be used; or
  • as a last resort, car parks or other standing areas can be bunded.

What else you can do to manage firewater

You can’t always contain firewater, but this should be assessed thoroughly. The most important point is to prevent the firewater from entering the drainage system, and then to dispose of the firewater legally. Simple ways to do this include using drainage covers or spill kits.

Firewater management should be an important part of every emergency preparation and included in your PIRP and safety documents.

Everyone in your business should also be aware of the procedures and the equipment that you have in place.

Carrying out risk assessments that identify potential issues can help you stop them before they happen, and manage them efficiently if they do happen.

Being prepared for major incidents also protects your reputation and the morale of your staff and customers.


The importance of a business continuity management plan

A Business Continuity Management Plan (BCMP) is specific to major disruptive events such as power faults, fires, or flooding – and not specific to events like terrorist attacks. It will help you continue operating your business in the face of an emergency and return to normal as soon as possible after an incident.

With a BCMP in place, you’ll be prepared financially and mentally for any major disruptions, and that will, in turn, help you save money and time – as well as your invaluable reputation.

If you want to find out more about our Business Continuity Management Plans (BCMP), just get in touch with the RM team, today!

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