Floods may be the most common natural disaster in the US, but storm season still seems to catch us by surprise.
Unfortunately, when it comes to your business, water damage can happen in no time at all if you’re located in storm or flood-prone areas. Even worse, additional headaches may come with that damage: structural issues, ruined tools and items, mold growth, and expensive downtime.
To prepare your office from flooding, you’ll need to take several precautions in advance, but the payoff is well worth the effort.
1. Do a Risk Assessment
If you’re serious about preventing flooding, the first step is understanding your risks. You can check your estimated base flood elevation (BFE) on FEMA’s website. This estimate allows you to understand what kinds of hazards your office might see from potential floods and tropical storms in your area.
While you’re considering the safety of your office’s physical structure, this may also be a good moment to consider employee safety as well. Locate the emergency response plan for your office and ensure that it’s up to date. If there’s no plan available, create one of your own.
2. Get Flood Insurance
While this won’t help you prevent office flooding, it’s a good general best practice—especially if your BFE puts you at high risk for it. Insurance can keep you from paying out of pocket to repair water damage to your business, and since the average flood insurance claim is almost $90,000, it’s a good way to ensure peace of mind.
Depending on your business, you may want to check what kinds of machinery, tools, and items are covered under the policy. Do your due diligence and read more online to find a plan that works for you.
3. Take Precautions to Reduce Flood Risk
While you may not be able to move your office building into a lower-risk area, there are precautions you can take against severe flood damage.
First, make sure to take care of simple preventative maintenance.
For example, ensure that your business’s gutters and downspouts are inspected and cleared as often as needed. You should also undergo frequent plumbing inspections. Even in areas where flooding shouldn’t be severe, leaks or plumbing issues can contribute to water damage within your building itself.
Next, do what you can to guide water away from your business in the case of a downpour. If you can, use native vegetation in your landscaping, as this can help prevent soil erosion and allow water to drain away more easily.
You should also consider investing in moveable barriers and floodgates. These tools can help you seal first-floor entrances, including windows and drains, against an incoming flood. Otherwise, you can opt to use water-resistant materials like sandbags and tarps.
Finally, if your office stores any sensitive materials, or if you simply want to be alerted in the case of flooding, you may want to invest in moisture detection systems to notify you when water appears in certain areas. And don’t forget to store vulnerable tools and materials on higher floors during flood season!
Prepare Now for Storm Season Flooding
With every storm season comes traumatic and stressful flooding events across the country. However, your office doesn’t have to be among those affected by catastrophic floods. With a little foresight and ongoing vigilance, you can protect your business from the worst water damage.
For more of the tips you need to keep your business running smoothly, check out our other posts.