Flood Safety for Businesses

Flood awareness is not just for those who are in high-risk areas; floods can happen any time, anywhere.  It is one of the most destructive weather-related natural disasters in the United States.  The following can help you be more prepared should flooding occur in your area:

  • Have a disaster kit for your business and keep it maintained;
  • Listen to radio and/or TV for current information and instructions;
  • Establish a Business Continuity of Operations Plan;
  • Create an emergency response team within your employees;
  • Develop and practice an evacuation plan;
  • Inventory equipment and other items used for your business - keep photographs or video items stored in an air-tight, water-tight container off-site;
  • Keep your insurance information, along with their contact information, in a safe place;
  • Keep back-ups of all tax, accounting, payroll, production records, and customer data and put them in water-tight containers, preferably somewhere off-site;
  • If you keep them on-site, make sure that they are in air-tight, water-tight containers at least 6 inches off the floor;
  • Anticipate the possible impact that the disaster will have on customers and suppliers, making alternative arrangements for deliveries and pick-ups;
  • Keep materials on hand that will help prevent water damage;
  • Consider business interruption insurance.

Know Your Terms! (from the National Weather Service)

  • Flash Flood: A rapid and extreme flow of high water into a normally dry area, or a rapid water level rise in a stream or creek above a predetermined flood level, beginning within six (6) hours of the causative event(i.e. intense rainfall, dam failure, ice jam).  However, the actual time threshold may vary in different parts of the country.  Ongoing flooding can intensify to flash flooding in cases where intense rainfall results in a rapid surge of rising flood waters.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Issued to indicate current or developing hydrologic conditions that are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.
  • Flood Watch: Issued to inform the public and cooperating agencies that current and developing hydrometeorological conditions are such that there is a threat of flooding, but the occurrence in neither certain or imminent.
  • Flood Warning (FLW): In hydrological terms, a release by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property.  A flood warning will usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Flood Severity Categories: (from the National Weather Service)

  • Minor: Minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience;
  • Moderate: Some inundation of structures and roads near streams.  Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations;
  • Major: Extensive inundation of structures and roads.  Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.

Are you in a flood plain? Check here to find out. (must allow pop-ups)

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