Plan for a Flood

March 23, 2016

Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States and even areas outside of those typically subject to flooding can be vulnerable. According to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program), people outside of the mapped high-risk flood areas file over 20-percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding. The NFIP paid more than $345 million in flood insurance claims to all policyholders in 2014. Read more statistics.

There is much you can do ahead of time that can minimize the loss your business will sustain in the case of a flood. First you must have an emergency plan in place. Use the checklists below to help you get started or add to your existing plan.

Emergency Planning:

Consult with local flood management authorities to determine what factors in the area are likely to produce flooding and how much warning are you likely to have.  
Create a Communications and Emergency Contacts List  
Develop Critical Equipment processes to provide instructions for safely shutting down processes, data processing equipment, etc. Consider disconnecting and relocating critical equipment to higher elevations.  
Identify a hot site (an off-site data processing location for immediate business resumption) or a cold site (an off-site location ready for setup of your own data processing equipment). Also, consider an off-site business recovery facility where you can resume general business operations.  
Identify actions to take in the event of live electrical wires, leaking gas, flammable liquids, corrosive/toxic materials, and damage to foundations or underground piping.  
Establish priority/backup personnel or rotation personnel for critical operations and/or processes.   Employees may also have personal emergencies and may or may not be able to return to work promptly.  
Determine which company records are vital and make plans to protect/relocate them.  
Contact local authorities to plan and coordinate activities before the need for emergency action. This way you will both be better prepared.  
Arrange an off-site emergency communications control center, such as a hotel meeting room just outside your area, in case it becomes too dangerous to remain on site.  
Maintain ongoing agreements with contractors for supplies and repairs needed after a flood. When possible, use contractors who are outside your resort area, as local contractors may also have storm damage or local authorities’ needs may be given a higher priority.  
Evaluate the interdependency of your facilities and develop a contingency plan.  

 Prepare your facilities:

Install manually operated valves on sewage disposal lines and drainage lines to prevent reverse flow from entering the facility.  
Consider providing flood barriers or shields for openings lower than the expected flood depth.  
Regularly clean roof and gutters.  
Verify that all fire protection equipment is in service.  
Maintain automatic sprinkler protection in idle buildings. Promptly handle sprinkler system impairments and notify the local fire department regarding any issues.  
Determine what equipment needs to be protected from water damage, e.g., computers, telecommunications and manufacturing equipment. Protect vital equipment that is located on the ground floor with low, watertight walls.  
Reinforce anchorage of all tanks so they will not float or be carried away by flood currents.  
Permanently move water-reactive chemicals that are stored below expected flood depths to a safe location.  
Ensure that pumps are in working condition.  

Gather Supplies:

Drinking water  
Nonperishable food  
Medical supplies  
Flashlights, batteries, walkie-talkies  
Portable pumps, hose  
Emergency lighting  
Hand and power tools, etc.  

Most commercial and residential property policies exclude flood as a covered cause of loss. A separate policy must be purchased to protect you from resulting damage. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy flood insurance! There is a 30-day wait period for new flood insurance policies to go into effect. At the Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants we strive to educate our clients through risk assessment and mitigation methods including; disaster preparedness, proper insurance coverage, and loss remediation. Contact us today! We are always here to be of service to you!

The Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants  (License #0440075)