The International Panel on Climate Change has estimated that in the next 100 years, sea levels will rise by two feet. Added to this, they predict extreme weather events, like flooding, will occur with greater frequency. Put these two factors together and you have a situation in which thousands of businesses are at risk of water damage.
With insurance premiums rising, and with some areas now uninsurable, is there anything that firms can do to reduce risk?
1. Build Retaining Walls
Retaining walls are walls that hold back earth or water. If done properly, they are probably the most effective way to prevent severe flooding, despite their heavy cost.
2. Buy a Pump
If you’ve spent any significant time on boats, you’ll have noticed that many come with a little pump. The pump is useful for removing water from the base of the hull. The pump takes the water from the hull of the ship and puts it out of exhaust.
On a boat, it’s okay to have a pump because it’s expected that some of the water from waves crashing against the hull will come aboard. But in flooding situations in businesses, it’s obviously not normal. Having a pump on standby, however, is useful when a small amount of water is getting into the basement. It allows you to get the water out before it has time to rise.
Having a pump is also useful for dealing with the aftermath of a flood and getting water out more quickly than would be possible otherwise.
3. Keep Gutters Free from Debris
Surface drainage can be great, but only if it is kept in good working condition. Often localised flooding can occur because drains have not been kept adequately cleaned.
If rain gutters are full of debris, water can easily get under the cladding on your walls. And if storm drains are full of debris, they won’t work when the storm arrives. So while the weather is calm, take some time to clean your drains, ready for the next downpour.
4. Keep Hazardous Machinery Above the Water Line
Floods themselves are costly to businesses. But worse still is the environmental impact. Often flood waters can become polluted with industrial chemicals if things like fuel tanks or generators are damaged. Try to keep all potentially hazardous equipment well above the water line, so that when it does flood, water is kept clean.
5. Elevate Wiring
Most professionals recommend that if you live in a flood-prone area that you increase the height of the wiring in your building. Obviously, when electrical cables come into contact with water, they create a hazard. Raising switches and electrical breakers a foot or two helps to reduce that risk.
6. Secure Your Foundations
There’s nothing worse than having a leaky foundation. And this is no more true when foundations are frequently subject to flooding. A leaky foundation can absorb water and create problems, like mould, in the long term. And if it floods regularly, foundations will never have the chance to dry out. Fix your foundations to bolster your business against flooding.