Some disasters are more likely to strike than others. If your business is based in Minnesota, you probably don’t have to worry about hurricanes. If you’re based in Florida, preparing for blizzards probably isn’t high on your list of priorities.
But no matter where you’re based, you should be prepared for flooding.
In recent years, we’ve seen flooding devastate everywhere from Hawaii to California to Texas to Tennessee to New Jersey, and beyond. In 2021, flood damage to at-risk U.S. homes could reach $20 billion, according to research from First Street Foundation. By 2051, that number will rise 61%, reaching $32 billion.
Any business near the coast, a river, or in a low-lying area should have a plan in place to minimize any disruptions flooding might cause.
As your business braces for potential impacts, you should obviously rely on your disaster recovery (DR) plan, but there are several actions that the most resilient businesses take both before and after flooding that are worth calling out specifically.
If you experience flooding in your area, here’s what you should be doing.
Before the flood
- Notify your business recovery coordinator. Make sure the team is ready to go and prepared to enact your DR plan once the storm hits. Consider implementing sandbagging of critical facilities and obtain water contamination procedures from local officials.
- Make sure critical equipment is elevated higher than the forecasted flood level. If you’re in an affected area, consider canceling non-essential shipments and turning off electric power for non-critical applications.
- Tell employees to stay away from dangerous areas that may occur. That includes contaminated floodwaters, unstable structures and electrical hazards, for example.
- Anticipate and make arrangements for employees. Some may need shelter if they cannot reach their homes or if their homes are destroyed.
After the flood
- Enter your building with caution. Snakes and other animals may have entered the building. Electrical hazards may exist. Provide protective equipment to anyone investigating damage.
- Ensure electrical service is safe. Don’t turn on the power in your building before confirming it’s OK to do so.
- Inspect the building. Start to assess and document any structural damage that may have occurred.
- Contact a salvage vendor. If your building has sustained significant damage, it’s time to begin salvage operations on your equipment and facility.
Other actions to take before, during and after a flood
- Know what you need. Anticipate and arrange for any supplies and equipment you will need to reopen your facility.
- Identify risks to employees. Employees who come in contact with floodwaters may need tetanus shots, for example.
- Take care of your team. Consider organizing assistance for the employees whose homes have suffered severe damage.
- Keep an eye on the state of flooding. Flood maps may be obtained from news outlets and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Most importantly, stay safe! We hope your business and your employees’ homes are never affected by flooding or damage, but if they are, follow these actions to keep your organization running and begin the recovery process as soon as possible.
For a more comprehensive look at how to protect your data and applications during a major storm, watch this video on weather-proofing your disaster recovery: