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Catastrophe Response

Flood Recovery Tips for Businesses

Water flowing through the doors of a flooded business with plants visible in the lobby.

From coastal storm flooding to overflowing lakes and rivers, floods are one of the most significant causes of damage to homes and businesses. Floods can have strong currents that tear up roads and wash away cars. They’re also difficult to forecast.

Is your business located in a floodplain? If so, it’s important to consider what a flood might mean for your business. Even if you are not located in a flood plain, planning for weather-related interruptions is a proactive way to protect your business.

How Do Floods Affect Businesses?

Floods interrupt business operations in a variety of ways, including:

  • Loss of inventory and assets. Your merchandise and assets may be severely damaged in a flood. If you aren’t prepared to replace the products, vehicles, and expensive machinery you rely on, you may face further setbacks in reopening.
  • Building closure. Flooding that enters the building causes water damage that must be repaired before it’s safe to reopen. The weeks or months that the repair takes place means less business to bring in revenue.
  • Power and data losses. When floodwaters rise, electronics may be damaged beyond repair. Cloud backups are key to ensuring important data isn’t lost in a flood.
  • Loss of revenue. If losing your inventory and equipment wasn’t enough, most companies must close their doors for water damage repair. When you’re able to reopen, you may need to operate with a skeleton crew while other members of the team deal with roadblocks, flooded streets, or relocation.

Besides personal, physical, and monetary setbacks in the wake of a flood, your customers and neighboring businesses may also face losses. Preparing your business for a potential natural disaster can help you reopen more quickly after the event. A solid recovery plan means getting your employees back to work sooner and restoring normalcy to your community.

Related Topic: Storm Series: What to Do After a Flash Flood

What Kind of Damage Should Be Expected After a Flood?

A flood wreaks havoc while the current flows, but it also leaves severe damage in its wake. Businesses should plan for:

  • Rough roads. Flooding can tear roads apart. Once the flood has subsided, you may find chunks of road severely damaged, making it impossible to drive through.
  • Building damage. Strong flood currents can weaken the stability of the ground under a building, as well as tear into the building’s materials.
  • Damage to vehicles and machinery. Any vehicle that experiences a flood will have body and electrical damage, making it unsafe to drive. It’s possible that heavy machinery could be ruined altogether.
  • Contaminated water. Floodwaters are often contaminated with sewage, meaning all the buildings and spaces that were impacted by the flood water need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected for harmful bacteria and viruses found in sewage water.
  • Gas and chemical spills. Flooding can break into electrical and gas lines, causing a serious safety hazard. It’s best to turn off your electrical and/or natural gas lines during heavy flooding to prevent damage.

How to Recover from a Flood at Your Business

A flood often means more than a short-term loss in revenue. It can dramatically change the day-to-day routine for your organization and its people.

In planning for a flood and your subsequent recovery, we recommend that organizations:

  • Consult your company’s disaster emergency response plan. In preparation for emergency events, you should have a plan that lists documents you will need given different disaster scenarios, staff contact numbers, emergency services, IT and asset inventories, and insurance information. Consulting your plan will provide you with a good start to recovery.
  • Assess risks. While you may have analyzed some risks in your disaster plan, this situation may pose unique risks that you wouldn’t have considered before. Take a moment to assess what environmental factors come into play, utilities that are disrupted, security incidents, equipment failures, or other emergencies.
  • Recover IT systems. Recover and backup as much of your data as you can. Consider regular backups in case of a similar emergency in the future.
  • Seek out recovery resources and apply for assistance. Understand what resources will be available to your organization in the event of a flood. Did you know FEMA, the United Way, and the US Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Disaster Recovery offer resources for flood recovery for businesses? You can also check with local and state governments to see if they have assistance available.
  • Update your disaster emergency response plan. Adjust your plan (at least annually) based on changes to your organization.
  • Plan for professional restoration. Connect with your insurance provider and review your coverage annually. Most plans will assist you in securing water damage restoration services.

Related Topic: Flood Damage Checklist

Building Flood Protection: What Can Be Done to Protect Your Assets

Plan and protect your assets. Consider the following:

  • Relocating your operations outside of the flood zone. Yes, it might be a major change, but moving to higher ground can prevent your business from being exposed to flooding.
  • Reinforce with floodproofing. Floodproofing adds building materials that help your building resist flood damage. You may use watertight shields on the windows and doors, membranes or sealant to waterproof the walls, or reinforcements to help the walls withstand the pressure of floodwaters.
  • Build floodwalls. Construct walls around the building to serve as barriers. This will require a building permit.
  • Add elevation. This method elevates the building so that the lowest level is two feet above the flood level.

Does Business Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Standard commercial property insurance will not cover flood damage. Like homeowners’ insurance policies, businesses should plan for and purchase an appropriate flood insurance policy.

Make sure your chosen policy includes:

  • Building damage. A flood insurance policy would cover damage to your building from heavy rain, snowmelt, swollen rivers, blocked storm drainage systems, broken dams, and other similar causes. Keep in mind that to qualify as a flood, it must affect two acres or at least two properties.
  • Resources inside the building. The insurance will also cover the loss of inventory or equipment inside your building. Everything outside, however, is not covered. That could include vehicles, large equipment, or septic systems.
  • Comprehensive flood insurance. To be sure company vehicles are also covered in your flood insurance, you can add a comprehensive policy.

Rely on Rainbow Restoration for Flood Recovery Assistance

A flood can be disastrous to anything caught in its path—including your business. To prevent a more serious loss, and prolonged disruption, organizations need to prepare for potential natural disasters.

Choose Rainbow Restoration to aid in creating and updating your Disaster Emergency Response Plan. If you, unfortunately, do suffer flood damage, call Rainbow Restoration. Our comprehensive water damage restoration services can help restore your business so you can reopen your doors quicker. To learn more, call us today or request an estimate online today.

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