As rainy season sets in and snow melts, flooding and mudslides can become a major hazard to your business. These risks shouldn’t be taken lightly, as water damage is among the most costly types of weather-related damage to clean up and repair.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the cost of cleaning up a 1,000-square-foot space can easily run upwards of $20,000. Beyond the direct costs, businesses also risk losing valuable business assets and income due to shutting down their operations to clean up damage or because of a weather-related power outage.
Given all these potential costs and risks, it’s essential to prepare your business for severe wet weather. Here are some ways to prepare:
Know your flooding risks.
Flooding can happen anywhere, but there are certain areas that are especially prone to it. Know how much risk you face so you can determine how much protection you need.
If your business is near a body of water, such as a river, lake or ocean, odds of flooding are generally much higher than if you’re far from water. That said, flash flooding, melting snow and other factors can cause flooding just about anywhere. In fact, about 20% of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk flood areas, according to FloodSmart.gov. Their One-Step Flood Risk Profile tool lets you enter in your business’s address and find out your flood risk.
Bring your valuable assets to higher ground.
Basements and other low-lying areas are most vulnerable to flooding. Consider keeping your most important and valuable assets—whether paperwork, computers or other equipment—above ground level to reduce the chance of water damage. Also consider ways to protect those assets in case of water damage through the roof or due to a pipe burst, such as by keeping them in waterproof containers or covering them with water-resistant tarps.
“Flood-proof” your building.
Certain technologies may help you reduce the chance that water will flood into your facility and cause damage. Dry flood-proofing, for example, is a coating that businesses in flood-prone areas can have put on their buildings to prevent interior flooding. A commercial pump can help remove water that manages to seep into your facilities.
Have a severe weather continuity plan.
Beyond protecting your facilities, also shield your business operations from severe wet weather. Plan for how you will get your business up and running as quickly as possible after a disruptive weather event. Consider, for example, how you will access your key documents if you can’t access them at the office. Plan for how you will deal with a power outage and communicate your plans to your key employees, vendors and clients.
Have the right insurance coverage.
Businesses located in areas at high risk for flooding with a mortgage on their property may need to buy a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. But every business needs to make sure it’s protected against severe weather risks—which includes not just your property, but also your income. In the event severe weather disrupts your business, the right insurance should help you get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
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