As a business owner it is your responsibility to make sure you, your staff and customers are safe in the event of a flood.

You may experience floods differently depending on your location and risk levels to different types of floods. Understanding your risk and knowing what to do before, during and after a flood can lessen how much floods affect your business.

Your business does not have to be at risk of flooding to be affected. Being cut off by flood waters, service and utility outages, and transport disruptions can affect supply chains and have a significant impact on your business.

This page will direct you to the services and resources that are available for businesses to prepare, prevent and recover from the negative effects of floods.

Types of floods

The type of floods that can affect your business can depend on your location and weather conditions and you may be at risk of one or more of these types of floods. Below is a description of the main types of floods that can occur in Victoria.

  • Riverine – occurs when the flow capacity of creeks or rivers is overwhelmed causing them to burst their banks and flood areas that are not normally underwater.
  • Urban – occurs when street gutters, pipes and drains overflow due to high volumes of rainwater making the extra water run across the ground as an overland flow.
  • Flash – caused by intense short bursts of rainfall and is difficult to predict precisely where it would occur giving less than six hours warning time.
  • Coastal – caused by waves, tides, storm surge, or heavy rainfall from coastal storms causing a short-term increase in water level and affecting low coastal areas.
  • Dambreak – a rare occurrence that takes place when a dam fails by breaching or overtopping and a flood wave inundates downstream areas.
  • Tsunami – a deep ocean wave usually caused by large scale disturbances of the ocean such as earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes.

How to create a flood emergency plan for your business

Your business might suffer considerable losses from a flood. This could include stock, equipment, furniture and fittings as well as revenue.

The impacts of a flood don’t only include the initial damage. Your business might need to close for days or even weeks for clean-ups and repairs, adding to your costs and stress.

Taking the time to plan and prepare can lessen the impact on your business, minimise your losses and help you recover faster.

Take the time to prepare yourself and your business for a flood by creating a business flood plan. Plan for emergencies at work by using the Victoria State Emergency Service Business flood planning checklist and business flood planning template.

You can also use our Disaster resilience for business toolkit.

Business support and recovery

  • Agriculture Victoria – Farm business management support.
  • Partners in Wellbeing helpline offers free and confidential assistance to business owners. Trained financial counsellors, business advisers, and wellbeing coaches are ready to provide one-on-one assistance today – Call 1300 375 330.
  • Additionally, you can explore a wide range of tools, resources, and information on our Workplace Wellbeing Hub.
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) - provides free financial counselling to farmers and small businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship – Call 1300 771 741.
  • Know your council – Municipal councils have a variety of emergency management roles that encompass all phases of emergency management, from prevention through response to recovery.

Flood and storm recovery resources are available on the Victorian Government website.

Livestock, pets, and other animals

If your business involves larger animals you should prepare a livestock flood plan. Agriculture Victoria’s website has information on flood emergency management.

Businesses involving smaller animals (such as vets, pet stores and animal shelters) should consider them in the business flood plan.

How to stay informed

If you live in any at-risk areas, monitor weather warnings and forecasts at the Bureau of Meteorology website, and warnings on the VicEmergency website and hotline (1800 226 226) as well as knowing the frequency of your local emergency broadcaster and check your local flood guide.

Download the VicEmergency app on your mobile devices.

Follow VicEmergency on social media.

Do not rely on receiving a message

  • You should still prepare and have an action plan ready even if you have not received an official message. Emergency warning and broadcast systems can be rendered inoperable during crisis events.
  • If you live in an area that has a mobile 'black spot' it is important to have a landline phone. Note that if the landline phone is cordless, it may not work if you lose your electricity supply.
  • If you receive a warning, it is critical to act immediately. If you do not understand the message, ask family, friends or neighbours for help.
  • For help with languages other than English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on free call number 131 450 – ask them to telephone the VicEmergency Hotline.
  • Unless you urgently need emergency services (police, fire, or ambulance) do not dial 000 for information.

Read a full list of official emergency contacts.