September is National Preparedness Month. In Colorado, this September is also the third anniversary of the greatest floods in Colorado history. Parts of Colorado received up to 17 inches of rain over a four day period, nearly equal to the annual precipitation of some affected areas.
Flood waters spread over an area of almost 200 miles and affected 17 counties. In addition to thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, nearly 1000 businesses were also damaged or destroyed. Many of those businesses never recovered.
While we would like to think it was a freak, one-time occurrence and not something we Coloradans will face again any time soon, we know that Mother Nature can be fickle and unpredictable, and we never know what might lie ahead. The best course of action is to prepare now for the possibility of a future flooding event.
Don’t wait until storms are predicted. Neglecting to prepare your property for possible flooding can sink your business. Stay afloat with solid preparation and a thorough flood plan.
Prepare for Floods
It is impossible to completely flood-proof your property, but flood preparation can lower your business’ risk of damage and reduce business interruptions.
Begin your preparation by consulting your area’s flood risk map, which you can find at www.floodsmart.gov.
Once you have assessed your risk, it is time to prepare your business. Buy and install products in advance that fortify your property against water. If you are in an area known to have flooded in the past, or are at high risk, you might consider the following precautions against flooding when building or remodeling. Some of these preparations are wise for any business as not all flooding is caused by weather. Others will be better suited to businesses located in high-risk areas.
- Purchase flood boards for your doors that you can install when flooding is imminent.
- Seal floors to prevent water seeping up through the ground.
- Fit non-return valves to drains and both inlet and outlet water pipes.
- Install high shelving where you can store items when flooding is inevitable.
- Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring at least 12 inches above the 100-year flood level in your area.
- Keep a pump in the basement or lowest level to remove flood water.
In combination with your business’ physical flood prevention measures, adopt these organizational precautions for more comprehensive flood preparation:
- Compile a list of useful telephone numbers, including your local government and your insurer.
- 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.
- Consider an offsite back-up of critical records and systems essential to your business, so you can be up and running again quickly following a flood or an evacuation.
Create a Flood Plan
A flood plan is a written document outlining how your business will respond to a flood. Store your business’ flood plan in an easily accessible location—everyone should know where it is at all times. All flood plans should include the following:
- 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
Review and update your plan annually. Flood risks and procedures can change, so make sure your business is prepared. You can download a convenient flood preparation checklist and plan by clicking here.
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. The insurance professionals at Roper Insurance & Financial Services are poised to help fortify your property. Rely on us to provide more flood preparation materials and help keep your business from going under. Give us a call today at 303-721-1145 for a free insurance review to make sure your business is prepared.