Heavy rainfall, rapid melting of snow packs, and other weather-related events can often lead to flooding. In fact, the Red Cross cites flooding as the most frequent and costly natural hazard in Canada. Flooding can occur at any time of the year and can present quite a challenge for Canadian business owners. That’s why it’s important for all business owners to prepare themselves and their property for a potential flood.
In order to be prepared for floods, it’s important to have a disaster planning response team onboard. Understanding the potential for flooding, probable sources, and the impact on your operations is a 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.
- Install backflow prevention check valves: Installing backflow prevention check valves can help prevent water from flowing back along the desired flow direction, which ensures chemicals, toxins, and debris won’t make their way back into a clean water supply or come up through drains and appliances.
- Install flood shields: Installing watertight barriers around your premises, called flood shields, will help prevent the passage of water through doors, windows, ventilation shafts, or other openings.
- Implement watertight walls: You may want to think about building watertight walls around equipment or work areas within the facility that are particularly susceptible to damage, which will protect them should floodwater enter the building.
- Have 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.
- Double check your insurance: Make sure that you read your insurance policy over. Are you insured for flood damage? Business interruption? Lost revenue? If not, contact your insurance provider to learn more about these coverages.
- Keep an emergency kit: Having a flood emergency kit that is easily accessible in the event of a flood is vital. Your kit should include items that are suited to your type and size of business. Here are just some of the things to consider including in your kit:
- Sandbags, plastic sheeting, and a loudspeaker (helpful tools to help organize a response and an evacuation)
- Copies of insurance documents and important phone numbers
- Spare batteries
- Blankets, dry clothes, and food
- First Aid kit
- Mobile phone
- Extra cash
- Come up with a disaster plan: Include a flood disaster plan in your health and safety plan. Identify evacuation routes and organize emergency drills for staff. Be sure to factor in employees who may need special assistance in the event of a flood (e.g., elderly, deaf, blind, handicapped, etc.).
- Create an employee contact list: Make a list of employees contact details in the event of an evacuation.
- Keep copies of documentation: Should you need to continue operations away from your property, having important documentation that can be easily accessed off-site will be helpful.
- Consider 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 considering possible flooding scenarios, you can help ensure continuity in your operations.
Ensure you’re covered
Despite your planning and preparation, things could still go wrong. If that happens, having the right coverage in place is vital. To learn more about how insurance can help protect your business and your bottom line, visit our business insurance page today.