What Would You Do If Your Business Flooded?
Flooding, whether it occurs as a flash or from a slow buildup, is a common occurrence in many parts of the country. If you're wondering how to prepare your business for a flood, the post below highlights some key steps you should consider in your flood disaster planning.
Flood Planning Need-to-Knows
National Flood Safety Awareness Week took place from March 16 to March 22 and with the recent flooding we've had along the east coast of the country, it's a perfect reminder of the importance of flood preparedness for your business.
Even if you think the flooding risks are low in your area, it’s important to be vigilant. For example, during the 2013 floods in Colorado, a very rare weather event hit Boulder County and surrounding areas hard. A stalled weather front dropped 21 inches of rain very quickly, and the resulting damage to businesses, homes and civic infrastructure was devastating and widespread.
The first step to prepare for flooding is to understand your potential exposure. Fortunately there are some convenient resources. For example, the NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides quarterly updates and maps showing areas that are higher risk during certain times of the year. Historic flood maps are also a great resource for understanding the potential risks in your area. Knowing how high water could potentially rise and how long it will take to drain are valuable insights for developing a response plan.
In addition to getting flood insurance, here are some other important steps to keep in mind for preparedness:
- Safeguard key information—be sure you keep copies of flood insurance and other key business information in a safe place where it won’t be damaged or swept away by flooding.
- Prepare your building—depending on your building layout, it may be worth getting a sump pump to help minimize potential damage. Be sure to keep gutters and drains clear of debris, and to anchor fuel tanks. Also, if possible, minimize storage of especially valuable assets in the lowest-lying areas of the building.
- Develop an emergency plan—design a flood evacuation route and share it with employees so they can get themselves and customers to higher ground, if it becomes necessary. Also, be sure to have an emergency kit onsite, in case people are stuck in the building.
And take it from the experts—preparation pays. "Flooding is dangerous and costly, killing nearly 100 people and causing an average of eight billion dollars in property damage in the United States each year," said Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, director, NOAA's National Weather Service, which produces an array of flood outlooks and forecasts, including watches and life-saving warnings. "A weather-ready nation is a prepared nation; one that will reduce flood losses by planning ahead, staying abreast of weather forecasts, and heeding the warnings."