Impact Of Flooding On Your Business Operations

Floods are the most frequent and costly natural hazard in Canada. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the 2013 flood in southern Alberta is the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history and the latest estimate of the insured property damage now exceeds $3.75 billion. The Toronto flood, which happened a few weeks after the Calgary event, illustrated the sudden and devastating effects that come with flash floods.

Understanding the potential for flooding, sources and the impact on your operations is the starting point to developing your plan and ensuring continuity.

Flooding can occur at any time of the year and is usually caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of snow packs, ice jams or more rarely the failure of natural or manmade dams. The majority of floods are predictable and inevitable, but can also be preventable. Being proactive can make a significant difference on how your property is affected by a flood.

Understanding the potential for flooding, possible sources and the potential impact on your operations; i.e. river flooding, coastal flooding or surface water/sewer flooding, is the starting point to developing your plan. Are you in a high risk area? Do you know the history of the area? City planning departments are always a good starting point for basic information.

Flood warnings can come from various sources; your disaster planning response team should be familiar with those sources. It’s helpful to designate a person in your organization to be responsible for monitoring reports from reliable sources and providing updates to the senior management or disaster planning team.

Warning notices can vary in how early they are posted; from weeks in advance for large rivers, days for hurricanes and storms, and mere hours from smaller rivers. The key to planning and mitigating is to understand the immediate environment surrounding your premises. This Risk Insight does not cover every possible solution, but does at least offer thoughts and direction to developing a plan that will work for your operation.

What To Do Before A Flood

Check insurance policies – are you insured for flood damage, business interruption and lost revenue?

  • Do you have copies of important documentation easily accessible offsite?
  • Make a list of important telephone numbers, including contacts for gas, electricity, water and telephone providers.
  • Make a list of employees’ contact details in the event of an evacuation. This might include their mobile and home telephone numbers, or the number of a friend or relative.
  • Think about staff that may need special assistance in the event of a flood (e.g. elderly, deaf, blind, etc.).
  • Include a flood plan in your health and safety plan. Identify evacuation routes, and organize emergency drills for staff.
  • Know the location of cut-off points for gas, electricity and water. Ideally, these should be marked on a map that is stored with your flood plan. Equally important is to ensure they are easily accessible in an emergency situation and not blocked by equipment of merchandise.
  • Be aware of the location of chemicals, oils or other materials that could be dangerous or contaminate flood water. These should be stored safely from floods and other hazards as a matter of course.
  • Note key stock, equipment and possessions that may need special protection from flood waters.
  • Consider things you may need during or after a flood (e.g. sandbags, plastic sheeting, loudspeaker, etc.).
  • See if it’s possible to move key operations, such as shipping and receiving or customer services, to another location.

Have you been affected by the recent flooding? Call 905-433-4200 today and speak to our Durham insurance brokers and see how we can help make sure you are protected.

Article provided by Northbridge Insurance