Mitigating Flood Risk: Practical Strategies for Businesses

Mitigating Flood Risk: Practical Strategies for Businesses

| February 29, 2024

While floods sometimes signal their approach with subtle cues like rising tides, more often than not, floods happen without warning and surge through the surrounding areas. As the most common natural disaster in the US, according to FEMA, floods pose a significant threat to businesses, as evidenced by the recent power outages impacting over 800,000 Californians. However, succumbing to the potential devastation isn't inevitable. By taking proactive measures and implementing a thorough flood plan, your business can weather even the most unexpected storms.

How to Prepare

While complete flood-proofing is impossible, strategic preparation minimizes damage and disruption. Here are key steps to protect your business:

  1. Map Out Your Risks:

Understanding your vulnerability is crucial. Consult your area's flood risk map to identify flood zones and their associated risks. Once that is completed, it's time to take action.  

  1. Prepare the Office:

Invest in flood boards for doors, seal floors to prevent water seeping up through the ground, and fit non-return valves to drains and both inlet and outlet water pipes. Elevate shelving for to keep critical items safe, raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring above the 100-year flood level minimizes electrical hazards. Also keep a pump in the basement or lowest level to remove flood water.

  1. Prepare Your Organization:

Compile a comprehensive list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, your insurer, and key suppliers and clients. Learn how to shut off your gas, electricity and water. Develop a flood continuity plan with suppliers and clients.Designate an emergency flood contact. Train your employees in correct flood safety procedures and establish a safe meeting place in case you need to evacuate. Stockpile useful materials like plastic sheeting, plywood, sandbags, nails, hammers and shovels.

  1. Create a Flood Plan:

Create a written document outlining your business's response to flooding. Make it accessible to everyone and review it annually. This plan should include:

  • A list of important contact information and any additional flood warning systems, building services, suppliers and evacuation contacts

  • A map showing locations of supplies, protective materials and shut-off points

  • An outline of basic strategies for protecting property, ensuring health and safety, minimizing business disruption and facilitating recovery

  • Procedural checklists for staff to use during a flood

  1. Review Your Insurance Coverage:

Flood insurance is the ultimate preparation for your business. Check your commercial coverage to make sure you are covered for flood damage. Flooding poses a substantial—and sometimes ruinous—threat to businesses in the United States. DiNicola Insurance Services is here to help. Contact us today at 415.564.4400 to learn more about business insurance and risk management strategies.