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
- 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
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.