Where It Rains, It May Flood: Is Your Small Business Ready?

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) estimates that about 40% of small businesses can’t recover after a flood hits their business. Small business owners say it’s expensive to reopen since most don’t have flood insurance. Note that standard commercial insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by flooding.

Why Buy Commercial Flood Insurance?

Weather is unpredictable, and you need to protect your livelihood. Commercial flood insurance cuts expenses for water damage restoration in case your business is affected by flooding. It is more a necessity if your business’s building is located in a region prone to hurricanes or near rivers that can overflow during heavy rains. 

Remember that your business doesn’t need to be in a high-risk flood area to suffer flood damage. Though it’s more expensive, it’s always safe to get a package covering the building and its contents. 

Preparing Your Small Business from Flood Damage

1. Know Your Location’s Flood Risks

If you haven’t done this before opening your business, check FEMA’s maps that show an updated list of flooding risks based on topography. If you just moved your business to a new location, ensure to understand flood risks in the area. 

If your building is located on a lower level or has a basement, water can pool, seeping through the walls when the ground around your property becomes saturated. To lessen water damage, consider the following measures: 

  • Regrade the landscape around your business so that water flows away from the building.
  • Apply waterproof sealants to crack the floor, foundation, and framing joints.
  • Seal water entry points
  • Extend downspouts
  • Install a drainage system and waterproof membrane around the perimeter’s foundation.

2. Outline an Emergency Plan

Flooding usually occurs at short notice, so it’s critical to have an emergency plan at hand during this stressful event. Your plan should include:

  • Contact numbers for energy providers, electricians, local government units, restoration companies you trust (such as PuroClean), and other relevant helplines
  • A list of immediate measures you can take if evacuation is necessary, like alerting staff and moving stocks
  • Key locations for electricity or gas services cut-off points

3. Create a Flood Continuity Plan

These are things you can do to reduce the damage due to flooding, which are important to keep your business running as normal. 

  • Regularly back up your data and files
  • Move essential business equipment, inventories, and files to a higher level
  • Move electrical sockets and wiring higher
  • Install non-return valves in your sewer pipes to prevent sewage backflow during the flooding.
  • Install a battery-powered sump pump to avoid minor floods or seeping groundwater
  • Anchor your fuel tanks since unsecured tanks may float away and release fuel in the floodwater.
  • Install floorboards in your doorways and other openings to prevent water from entering through the gaps.
  • Ensure that you have an emergency fund to pay your employees.

4. Train Your Employees

Your staff should know the flood warning alarm, as well as the things to do when it goes off. Educate them on the dangers of flooding and how to evacuate the building safely. 

After the Flood

If it’s insured, it’s easier to reopen your small business after being affected by flooding and water damage. Your insurance company will send a professional to inspect the site and evaluate the severity of the damage after you file a claim. For the cleanup, restoration, and repairs, you need a water damage company to make an estimate. The more information about the damage you can provide, the faster your claims will be settled. 

That’s why you need to find a reputable restoration company near you that can arrive right away. Visit here if you’re in the Alexandria, VA area, for more information about professional flooding cleanup services.