Flood is the most frequent and costly natural hazard in Canada. Flooding can occur at any time of the year and is usually caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of snow packs, ice jams or more rarely, the failure of natural or manmade dams.
Flood warnings can come from various sources. To help control for floods, it’s important to be prepared by having a disaster planning response team onboard. Understanding the potential for flooding, sources and the impact on your operations is the starting point to developing your plan and ensuring continuity.
What to do before a flood
Preparation is key for effective emergency flood-proofing. Here are some preventative and precautionary measures that you can take to safeguard your property, possessions and personnel from a flood disaster.
- Backflow prevention check valves: Install backflow prevention check valves to stop floodwater from entering at vulnerable points where utility and sewer lines enter the building.
- Flood shield: Install watertight barriers called flood shields to prevent the passage of water through doors, windows, ventilation shafts, or other openings.
- Watertight walls: Build watertight walls around equipment or work areas within the facility that are particularly susceptible to damage should floodwater enter the building.
- Backup systems: Have backup systems available for use during emergencies, such as portable pumps to remove flood water, alternate power sources (e.g., generators or gasoline-powered pumps), and battery-powered emergency lighting, located well above the high water mark.
- Insurance: Check your insurance policy. Are you insured for flood damage? Business interruption? Lost revenue? If not, contact your insurance provider to obtain coverage.
- Emergency kit: Have a flood emergency kit that is easily accessible in the event of a flood. This should include a flash light, radio, copies of insurance documents and important phone numbers, spare batteries, medicines, blankets, food, dry clothes, a First Aid kit, a mobile phone and cash.
- Disaster plan: Include a flood disaster plan in your health and safety plan. Identify evacuation routes, and organize emergency drills for staff. Factor employees who may need special assistance in the event of a flood (e.g., elderly, deaf, blind, handicapped, etc.).
- Contact list: Make a list of employees contact details in the event of an evacuation. For details on how to do this, read our blog post.
- Backup documentation: Ensure you have copies of important documentation that can be easily accessed offsite.
- Moving operations: See if it’s possible to move key operations, such as shipping and receiving or customer services, to another location. Identify people who can help you before, during and after a flood.
With appropriate planning and preparation, you can help minimize flood damage and resultant losses. By understanding and giving consideration to possible flooding scenarios, you can help ensure continuity in your operations.