How to Prepare Your Business for a Flood
Flooding can occur almost anywhere on Earth. In fact, there are very few places on the planet where flooding is not a concern. Basically, any area where rain falls is susceptible to floods, and rain is not the only cause. Therefore, it is essential to prepare your business for a flood immediately. If your business is located within a flood-prone location, then your business may be even more vulnerable to flooding.
Flooding can occur any time of the year. In the Spring months, excessive rainfall can lead to flooding. In the Winter months, the melting of snow or ice can lead to flooding. Hurricane season can create coastal flooding, which can push excessive water inland. Rivers can become overwhelmed and spread over the land nearby. Regardless of the cause of flooding, it is important for your business to be prepared. This article will walk you through the steps for preparing a business for a flood. Look at this article as a business flood preparedness checklist.
Key Steps to Prepare Your Business for a Flood
There are several steps for preparing a business for a flood. Some steps are to be performed with your internal team, and other steps require external partners. The goal is to identify how to minimize flood damage to a business before a disaster occurs.
Assess Flood Risk
The first step in creating a flood emergency plan for business is to check your business location on a flood map. This will allow you to perform a risk assessment and identify how serious the risk is for your unique property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updates maps that pinpoint areas at higher risk of flooding based on topography. You can also contact your local county geologist or county planning department to get information about whether your business is in an area that is prone to flooding.
Develop a Flood Emergency Plan
When a flood is imminent or occurs, your priority should be the physical safety of you, and your employees. Stay alert by monitoring the local news and weather reports and sign up for emergency alerts. Have a communication plan ready in the event of a power outage.
Developing a flood emergency plan can prepare employees and facilities before, during and after a flood to minimize health and safety impacts.
Having an evacuation plan in place before a flood occurs can help avoid confusion and prevent injuries and property damage. When creating your flood emergency plan, consider:
- Conditions that will activate the plan.
- Chain of command
- Emergency functions and who will perform them.
- Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits.
- Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
- Equipment for personnel (basic disaster supplies kit)
Train Your Employees
After you have created a flood emergency plan, you must review the plan with your employees. The entire team should know the safety precautions for employees during floods in businesses. Conduct evacuation, sheltering and sheltering-in-place drills so employees will know what to do. Facilitate exercises to practice the plan, familiarize personnel with the plan and identify any gaps or deficiencies in the plan.
Create a Plan to Protect Valuable Assets
Protecting business assets from floods is another important piece of the process. You should evaluate your building’s risks and how you can address these. Identify the buildings and site locations that are critical to your business, and what you need to support them should a flood strike. Evaluate if you should consider installing barriers to prevent water from entering your building. Think about elevating your critical utilities like electrical panels, propane tanks, wiring, appliances and heating systems.
Purchase Flood Insurance
Most standard business insurance policies do not cover flood damage and the loss of income that can result. In other words, even if your business has a good insurance policy, a flood could wash everything away. That is why it’s imperative that you purchase flood insurance via the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FEMA reports, “Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster because just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.” Flood insurance for your business from NFIP can be added to your commercial property insurance. Be sure to discuss coverage options with your insurance agent to help reduce the financial impacts of flooding so your business can restore, rebuild and recover quicker.
There is a waiting period for buying flood insurance, so you may want to buy flood insurance sooner, rather than waiting. In fact, the National Flood Insurance Program cannot pay a claim if you don’t have a policy in effect when damage occurs. A new NFIP insurance policy becomes effective 30 days after you buy it, unless the purchase is associated with the origination, renewal or extension of a federally backed loan on property in a high-risk area.
Maintaining Drains and Gutters
Drains and gutters allow water to drain away from your property. When drains or gutters get clogged by leaves or other debris, the water gets trapped.
- Install Gutter Guards to prevent debris from entering gutters. These can save you a lot of time cleaning and maintaining your gutters. They are also effective in preventing gutter freezing, stopping blockages and improving water flow.
- Perform regular maintenance and gutter cleaning. Remove debris, stones, leaves and twigs from your gutter drainage system to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- Install downspout extensions to redirect water to a specific location – particularly away from your property’s foundation to prevent any water buildup or damage to your property.
Contact BMS CAT for Your Flood Damage Needs
After the flooding subsides, you will want to call your insurance company first and then a professional company that offers flood damage restoration services for businesses, such as BMS CAT. Our flood damage restoration services can help your business restore, rebuild and recover after a flood.
At BMS CAT, we offer the Priority Disaster Response Program. This program allows us to create a relationship with your business before a flood occurs. Together, we outline the priorities and most valuable assets in your line of business and develop a plan for our team members to respond after a flood. This allows us to get to work quicker, which can minimize business loss and reduce restoration costs.
With locations across the nation, we can be your partner every step of the way on the road to recovery after your business suffers damage from a flood. Contact us today for turn-key restoration and reconstruction services.