In October 2015, South Carolina had one of the most intense rain events in the recorded history of the United States. In some areas of the state, over 20 inches of rain over the course of just a few days. All told, it’s estimated that 4.4 trillion gallons of water came down during this event.
That event, combined with the flooding events in Florida and Texas this year, highlight the importance of having a flood preparedness plan for your business. Flooding is one of the most potential damaging events for business owners. Having a plan and training your staff to work the plan if you ever need it is the surest way to make sure your workers stay safe and your business viable when disaster strikes. OSHA’s flood preparedness page hosts a wealth of information on preparing for and equipping your workers to handle a flooding event.
Have a plan. Knowing what to do before a disaster like a flood can save you valuable time when you need it most. Decide ahead of time what type of conditions would necessitate an evacuation. Answering important questions like how will staff be accounted for and checked up on after a flood? Identify important tasks and designate ahead of time who will be in charge of getting them done. OSHA’s Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool provides a host of detailed resources to help business owners plan ahead.
Get prepared now. The time to gather supplies isn’t right before you need them. With a disaster impending, hardware stores and other places that carry disaster-related supplies are often sold out. The CDC provides a handy list of must-have items you’ll need to weather a flood event. Check with your municipal government to see if your business lies in a flood-prone area. Knowing your risk can help you create a plan that takes into account your level of risk in a flood.
Practice and improve. Being prepared at the right moment doesn’t just happen. Review your disaster preparedness plan for flooding with your employees regularly and practice working the system you’ve developed. Use your practice sessions to fine-tune your plan based on what you learned while going through the steps.
There’s much you can do to get and stay prepared in the event that a flood threatens your business. Create a plan, get prepared, and practice and improve your plan over time.