Flooding can happen anywhere, and to anyone. It is critical that businesses are prepared for natural disasters with flood insurance and tools that mitigate total loss in emergency situations. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding occurs in over 90 percent of all natural disasters, averaging 17 billion dollars of damage each year.
There are a few simple preparatory steps that have the potential of saving your business from complete closure and financial loss if flooding ever occurs in your area.
Analyze flood maps
One of the simplest ways you can proactively prepare your business for flooding is by analyzing flood maps of your business area. FEMA is the most reliable resource for this information, providing flood maps that are updated regularly. When researching your elevation and calculating risk of flooding, the 100-year flood plain will give insight into the highest potential level of water that a storm could bring to your area for the given year. While the prediction is an estimation of the worst possible flooding, your area is still at risk for flooding in significantly smaller storms.
Another element of flood preparedness is understanding the fluctuating topography of your area. This includes man-made structures and natural shifts in land, which have parallel effects on wind projections, surface water distribution, and efficiency of runoff and drainage systems.
Regularly checking FEMA’s website for updates on your flood risk ratings and flood hazard areas will keep you informed and prepared for evacuation and safety protocols.
Conduct risk analysis
Weather is unpredictable, and while flood plains are assessed and updated as often as possible, storms can completely destroy a given area with no warning. FEMA states that as little as one inch of flood water can cause $25,000 in damage. If your business is in the 100-year flood plain, you may need to qualify for a higher flood coverage policy, as this is a higher-risk location.
When flooding occurs, you may potentially lose company operations for an unforeseen amount of time. In order to prevent this from happening to your business, you should create a priority list of to-dos in case of a natural disaster. This includes partnering with professionals in your area that are equipped to provide cleanup, restoration, and salvage services that you may need if your business is affected by flooding.
Generate a disaster plan
Having a disaster plan is a failsafe way to maintain peace of mind during a storm in your business area. If you receive a warning that a storm is headed your way, having a current disaster plan is critical. Training your employees with steps in your disaster plan, paired with some initial preparation, can potentially save you the money and effort of replacing paperwork, client information, heavy machinery, and more. We recommend your plan includes both a generator and air conditioning unit, which allow for the restoration of lost power and for you to resume operations as quickly as possible.
Don’t be caught off guard when you are hit by a big storm. Let certified professionals provide the help you need to minimize operational downtime and get back to work as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible.
Obtain commercial flood insurance
If there is one time when you need sufficient insurance coverage, it is after flooding. Establishing your risk analysis will give you an idea of what type of commercial flood insurance to purchase.
Being a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered through FEMA, can provide you with the coverage you need. There are several offerings that include the protection of your structure, the contents inside your structure, or both. This reduces the financial impact and strain on businesses, and communities as a whole, during post-flood recovery.
Protect business information
When flooding does occur, it is almost always impossible to salvage your equipment, paperwork, and various other resources necessary for standard business operations. This often means that the information loss is the same as, if not greater than, the physical damage to your business structure.
Profitability and business operations will be affected on all levels if you do not have information stored in the cloud, digital versions of your files, or duplicated in a secondary location. Ensuring protection of your business information should be a top priority in creating a disaster plan.
Purchase flood boards
Although making investments into flood-resistant technology is not typical of most businesses, we recommend that you consider flood boards for your business if you are operating in a flood-prone area or if your business or inventory is at risk of flooding. There are a variety of flood panels and barriers on the market, as well as compression systems for glass that effectively keep water out of your structure. These can be constructed and locked into place in mere minutes, allowing you to thoroughly protect your business. They are moisture-resistant and made to fit your structure.
It is also effective to incorporate wooden boards to cover exterior windows, doors, and glass during natural disasters as it provides added security in keeping debris and trespassers off your property. However, there is no competition for the type of guaranteed protection that PVC flood boards and barriers can provide.
Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes, and wiring
Moving electrical wiring and fuse boxes to a safe height is a simple and fairly cost-effective way of preparing your business for flooding. Taking the time to simply raise electrical sockets a minimum of 12 inches above the 100-year flood plain can save you exorbitant amounts of time and money. This also greatly reduces the risk of electrical shock during a flood or in post-flood structural repairs.
Reconfiguration of wiring for outlets, switches, and sockets will be well worth the investment when they are unable to be reached and damaged by flood waters.
Install non-return valves
We recommend that all businesses consider the installation of non-return valves into all drains. It is both simple and cost-effective to install anti-flood, non-return valves into your drainage systems, sewage systems, and on your property’s manhole. This will be an added layer of protection during flooding, as it reduces contaminated water contact. It can also prevent sewage backflow. By adding these preventative technologies, you mitigate the level of damage incurred and reduce lead-times for repairs.
Contact Cotton for all your water extraction, removal, and restoration needs.