No one can stop natural disasters, but there are ways to protect against them. Here are a few tips on how to prevent flooding before it happens.
You'd heard the reports of potential severe weather, but you didn't think it would affect your area. Now you're watching images on the news of rivers of water pouring through the streets downtown, headed directly for your business. You wonder now if your insurance policy covers floods, and you wish you'd given more consideration to how to prevent flooding in your storefront.
Don't beat yourself up too hard, though. Most of us don't expect disasters to fall upon our businesses, though we should always be prepared for the worst. In the case of flooding, whether from natural disasters or some kind of mechanical failure, you'll want to get your business back up and running as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are precautions you can take to make that a reality.
How to prevent flooding: clearing debrisOne of the most common causes of flooding is clogged storm drains, whether on your building or on the road. While the roads are up to municipalities to maintain, you should check the gutters of your building (or ask your landlord to do so) on a regular basis, especially if you're expecting severe weather in your area. In summer and fall, sticks and leaves and other debris can plug up storm drains so when bad weather hits, there's nowhere for the water to go. Make sure you've done what you can to ensure drainage.
If there's been a heavy snowfall recently, take the time to clear away slush and snow from gutters and nearby storm drains. While the drains aren't technically your responsibility, both you and your neighbors will thank you for a simple fix that may prevent flooding at multiple nearby properties.
How to prevent flooding: inspect your buildingEspecially if you operate your business out of an older building, you'll want to check roofs, walls, and basements for any areas of potential water entry. If you find any discolored or deformed areas, have a professional examine them before flood threats come along. You should also regularly inspect the pipes and pumps in your building to ensure that no mechanical failures contribute to flooding threats.
How to prevent flooding: sandbags and slopesIf you live in a high-risk flood zone, find out if your business is built on the appropriate slope for excessive water run-off. Of course, in cases of extreme weather, some slopes may not be enough to divert all the water, in which case the tried and true method of stacking sandbags around your property will help to keep flood waters to a minimum. Just remember that stacking sandbags requires time, so be sure to make a decision about sandbags sooner rather than later.
Whether or not you choose to sandbag your storefront, it's always a good idea to stack sandbags around basement entrances to divert water flow there. External damage to your business is one thing, but internal damage can be just as detrimental if not more so. Do all you can to keep your basement as dry as the rest of your building.
How to prevent flooding: elevationParticularly in high-risk flood zones, it's helpful to have your business elevated above the danger level, whether naturally or through modern engineering. That's not always possible, so to minimize any potential damage, elevate the equipment in your basement, especially any anti-flooding pumps, so that if water does collect, you'll be able to get back on your feet sooner rather than later.
Though regular inspections will help to prevent man-made floods, no one can stop natural disasters from occurring. We can only prepare ourselves and our assets for when severe circumstances arise. Following some of these simple steps could save you copious amounts of time and money. Be prepared for severe weather. Make a prevention plan and keep it handy.
Has your business survived a flood? What did you do to keep your assets safe? We'd love to hear your answers in the comments below.