Many companies may not be aware that water used to fight fires must be stopped from escaping the scene of the blaze.

Firms facing the trauma of a serious fire at their premises need to have a plan in place to prevent any water used to tackle the flames – and that includes sprinkler systems and water used by the fire service – from running off into neighbouring land, rivers and other water courses.

The Environment Agency’s Fire Prevention Plans for businesses clearly states: “You must be able to contain the run-off from fire water to prevent pollution of the environment. You must take all the steps that are reasonably practicable to minimise pollution from fire water. For example, preventing fire water entering either into the ground or into surface waters, for example, rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes, canals or coastal waters.”

Companies that don’t could be committing an offence and the Environment Agency would take enforcement action which may involve a criminal prosecution. The Agency will look to recover its costs from prosecutions. 

One way to be prepared is to have a store of FloodSax sandless sandbags ready.

They are vacuum-packed so are easy to store and deploy. 

They inflate when they come into contact with water to become more efficient than traditional sandbags. 

FloodSax spokesman Richard Nikolic said: “We are finding that more and more businesses – including several facilities management companies - are turning to FloodSax so they are ready for any flooding emergency 24 hours a day seven days a week. 

“They can be quickly built into barriers to stop water either getting into or off the company’s premises and can quickly be deployed inside to soak up leaks and spills, especially in hard to reach places. 

“FloodSax are becoming an integral part in many forward-thinking businesses’ crisis planning.” 

For more detailed information from the Environment Agency on this go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-prevention-plans-environmental-permits/fire-prevention-plans-environmental-permits