A flood can damage or destroy buildings and their contents and can cause serious injuries or death to people. Flooding can occur due to a strong storm, and flash flooding can strike without warning. Your business should have a flood response plan, even if it’s not located in a flood zone.
Identify Areas Where Water May Enter the Building
Walkthrough your building and find places that are susceptible to flooding. Underground rooms and areas located at the bottom of a hill, for example, are likely to flood. Sealing windows and doors in those locations can help keep water out.
Secure Valuables and Hazardous Materials
If you know that a storm is coming, you may have sufficient time to move equipment and inventory to higher ground or to use sandbags and other measures to keep water out of the building. If a storm strikes suddenly, you will have little or no time to protect valuables. Take action before a storm hits to keep equipment and inventory safe. Back up critical data at an off-site location relatively far from your building so the storage facility won’t also be flooded.
If your company uses any chemicals or other hazardous materials, create a plan to secure them to avoid contaminating the environment during a flood. That may mean moving hazardous materials to another, more secure location if a severe storm with the potential for flooding is expected.
Create Plans to Evacuate or Shelter in Place
If flooding is imminent or is already occurring, you may have to evacuate your entire facility on short notice. Create a detailed plan that specifies which exits to use and where to meet so everyone can be accounted for.
Employees may be better off staying put if they’re not in immediate danger. Develop a plan to shelter in place. Identify locations where employees will be safe and make sure that those areas are stocked with vital supplies.
Figure out How to Communicate
Flooding may occur during business hours or at night when no one is at work. Phone service may be interrupted or completely unavailable. Develop a detailed plan that addresses how you will communicate with workers in a variety of scenarios.
For example, you may designate one person in each department who is responsible for contacting other employees in that department, or you may decide to send recorded messages to all workers. You may want to set up a dedicated phone number that employees can call to find out if they should report to work or stay home if severe weather is occurring or is expected and to receive updates on the situation.
Review Your Business Insurance Coverage
Commercial property insurance will protect your business from numerous perils, but many policies exclude coverage for flooding. Your company may need a separate flood insurance policy. Petruzelo can help you find coverage that suits your needs and budget. Contact us today to compare quotes.