Staying ahead of the flood
In May 2014, the Trysil River overflowed its banks and put much of the factory underwater.
"Stopping the water wasn't an option, but we managed to save everything that it was possible to save," explain Runar Pettersen, director and Harald Enger, workshop manager and head of the industrial protection team.
The water kept rising hour after hour, by 38 cm a day at the worst, until it was far up the walls of the building. But a well-prepared emergency response plan meant that they kept control of the situation. After the sawmill was hit by the great flood of 1995, they measured the entire area so that they knew exactly what to do as the water rose.
"We were two days ahead of the water all the time," Pettersen and Enger explain.
The very first thing to do was to put up a measuring pole beside the river.
"We check the water level continuously and adapt what we do accordingly. No flood is going to surprise us," they maintain.
The response plan is detailed and is based on the water level. While the status is green, the saws and planes run as normal. At status yellow, they consider what measures need to be taken from day to day. At red, production must stop.
The measuring device was set up on 16 May and from then on the water level was checked continuously, even on a national holiday like 17 May.
Three days later, on 20 May, the response plan went over to yellow and every working day started with a meeting to review action. New measures were commenced for every centimetre the water rose.
"We moved all the material packs, the stores were emptied out, we laid out timber booms and transported out chippings and everything that was moveable. We also saved all the electric motors that could be unscrewed and moved to a dry area," Harald Enger explains.
Shut down for three weeks
The sawmill director kept a diary throughout the flood period, describing water level, which areas were affected and what measures were taken. He kept records that were distributed by e-mail and handled the national and local press. In fact it was Moelven Trysil that first warned the press about the flood in the Trysil river system.
Production was stopped for three and a half weeks in all, and the damage and lost production was valued at NOK 10.5 million.
"The insurance company was happy that we managed to save so much. Both damage and lost production were covered in full," he explains.