Water leak in office building.
Water leak in office building.

How to reduce the effects of flooding

The effects of flooding can be greatly reduced by taking preventative and precautionary measures. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of things you can do to help reduce the impact of flooding on your business premises.

Permanent, contingent and emergency flood-proofing of your business’ property.

  • Install backflow prevention check valves to stop floodwater from entering at vulnerable points where utility and sewer lines enter the facility.
  • Reinforce walls to resist water pressure and adequately seal walls to prevent or reduce seepage.
  • Build watertight walls around equipment or work areas within the facility that are particularly susceptible to damage should floodwater enter the building.
  • Construct floodwalls or levees outside the facility to keep flood waters away.
  • Install permanent sump pumps with solar and backup power solutions. Backup power generators or battery supplies should be located well above the high-water mark.
  • Install watertight barriers called flood shields to prevent the passage of water through doors, windows, ventilation shafts, or other openings.
  • Install permanent watertight doors and pumps to remove flood waters and construct movable floodwalls.
  • Have backup systems available for use during emergencies, such as portable pumps to remove flood water, alternate power sources, such as generators or gasoline-powered pumps, and battery-powered emergency lighting, located well above the high water mark.

Preparing for a worst-case scenario.

  • Check insurance policies – are you insured for flood damage, business interruption and lost revenue?
  • Do you have copies of important documentation easily accessible offsite?
  • Make a list of important telephone numbers, including contacts for gas, electricity, water and telephone providers.
  • Make a list of employees’ contact details in the event of an evacuation. This might include their mobile and home telephone numbers, or the number of a friend or relative.
  • Think about staff that may need special assistance in the event of a flood (e.g. elderly, deaf, blind, etc.).
  • Include a flood plan in your health and safety plan. Identify evacuation routes, and organize emergency drills for staff.
  • Know the location of cut-off points for gas, electricity and water. Ideally, these should be marked on a map that is stored with your flood plan. Equally important is to ensure they are easily accessible in an emergency situation and not blocked by equipment of merchandise.
  • Be aware of the location of chemicals, oils or other materials that could be dangerous or contaminate flood water. These should be stored safely from floods and other hazards as a matter of course.
  • Note key stock, equipment and possessions that may need special protection from flood waters.
  • Consider things you may need during or after a flood (e.g. sandbags, plastic sheeting, loudspeaker, etc.).
  • See if it’s possible to move key operations, such as shipping and receiving or customer services, to another location.

Know who to contact before and after a flood situation.

  • Identify products and services you will need in the event of a flood. Make back-up plans or arrangements for short-notice cancellation of deliveries.
  • Consider contracting in advance with companies whose help you may need after a flood. This avoids the frustration of finding assistance in an emergency, and puts you in a better position to negotiate costs.
  • Identify people who can help you before, during and after a flood. If your business is in a floodrisk area you should have a flood plan in place. Make sure that all staff know what to do in case of a flood.

Put together a flood emergency kit.

  • Flash light
  • Radio
  • Copies of insurance documents, important phone numbers
  • Spare batteries
  • Medicines/ Blankets/ Food (Ensure everything with a “Best Before” date is safe to use!)
  • Dry Clothes
  • First Aid kit
  • Mobile phone
  • Cash

While planning for something that may never happen might seem like a lot of work, being unprepared could end up costing you even more time and money.

Contact your broker to find out how Northbridge Insurance can help protect your business. To learn more about managing risk for your business, check out our Risk Services page.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

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