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Global warming has led to unpredictable weather patterns. This comes with risks of flooding, even in areas that aren’t prone to flooding. Flooding and the resulting water damage can affect businesses significantly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t only affect the business’s physical location. It also disrupts the supply chain, destroys inventory, enforces evacuations, and leads to power outages.
A recent report found that businesses risk losing $13 billion to flood damage in 2022. Severe thunderstorms, tornados, and heavy rains also threaten employees and clients. That said, entrepreneurs should consider the following to protect their businesses from flood damage.
1. Find Out if Your Business is at Risk
You should contact the Environmental Agency to inquire if your business is in a flood-prone area. You can also simply enter your postcode to FEMA’s website to check if your business location is a flood zone. You should be wary of the weather conditions and water levels always.
Consider signing up for flood warnings if your business is in a flood-prone area. The Environmental Agency provides 24-hour automated alerts that warn businesses and people living in areas at risk for floods. Due to the rapid development of floods, you should also provide a reliable number to the agency.
2. Create a Flood Plan
Protecting your business from floods requires creating a solid flood plan. Identify and note the important business details and steps to take in case of flooding. Your flood plan should be detailed and readily available to your employees and other business contacts. A thorough flood plan should include:
- Possible evacuation routes
- Location of crucial business details
- Details of gas, water, and electricity supply, such as the location of gas cutoff valves and fuse box
- Contact sheet of people and their responsibilities in case of flooding
- Details of inventory and electrical equipment
- A list of disaster recovery companies that can help during flooding
3. Create a Business Continuity Plan
While the flood plan covers crucial actions to be taken in the event of flooding, most business activities will be affected by the aftermath of flooding. Therefore, you should create a business continuity plan highlighting how your business operations will continue even after flooding. This provides reassurance to your customers and investors while maintaining your reputation.
- An effective continuity plan should highlight the following:
- Possible risks or threats
- Critical business processes and functions that will be affected
- Controls to prevent or mitigate the impact or severity of floods— for instance, you can keep copies of paper files digitally or in an off-site location.
You should routinely test and improve your business continuity plan. Your employees should also be versed in their roles in the plan.
4. Purchase a Flood Insurance Cover
Most conventional insurance policies don’t cover flood damage and loss of income resulting from floods. Therefore, even with a premium insurance policy, floods can wash everything away. You should consider the following insurance policies:
- Employer’s liability cover – is a must for most businesses with employees. It covers your employees from injuries resulting from floods.
- Building and content insurance – it covers your business premises and its contents from damage caused by floods and other disasters, including storms, fires, and explosions.
- Business interruption insurance – though often overlooked, it is an invaluable insurance policy that covers your business from loss of income or increased operations costs if you can’t work from your business premises. If you have to shift your business activities while the affected office dries or is under repair, this policy cautions you from possible financial impacts.
You should consult your insurance agent extensively to find a perfect insurance policy.
5. Prepare Your Business Premise
Inspecting and preparing your business premise for flood is important. The basement is specifically the most susceptible part of the building. If your basement is low, flood water can flow and seep through walls causing extensive damage. The following tips can protect your business building from flood damage:
- Flood-proof the most susceptible areas – ensure the lowest parts of your building are above the expected flood levels. Learn your premises’ base flood elevation to identify areas in your building that are very vulnerable to flood damage. With this, you can identify beneficial flood-proofing techniques.
- The landscape around your business – paved areas, such as parking lots- provides ample water pooling space, especially if there is limited drainage. Besides, flood water from the surrounding community can overwhelm these drains. Therefore, you should grow shrubs, natural grass, and other plants to absorb excess water. Installing rain gardens in your landscape also helps.
- Clear your gutters – you should clean gutters in your business at least twice yearly. Cleaning the gutters eliminates debris that often prevents adequate rainwater drainage. Also, remember to direct your drains and downspouts away from the foundation.