Did you know that floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada? According to Public Safety Canada, floods are the country’s costliest natural disaster, with regards to property damage. Because floods can occur any time of year, in any region — floods affect hundreds of thousands of Canadians annually. And if your business operates in Metro Vancouver, you know all too well that this metropolis is one of Canada’s rainiest! If you are operating in other coastal areas, you can also be at risk of flooding from rising sea levels or storm surges. So what can you do to mitigate the effects of flooding?

This last post in our three-part series “Preparing Coastal Businesses for the Big 3” can help you and your organization prepare both your office and employees for a flood. By understanding the risks involved in coastal or storm surge flooding, you can better prepare your business.

Here we offer a few things to consider when developing your emergency management and business continuity plans for flooding:

1.      Take action and prepare the inside of your office before a flood occurs to reduce the risk of damage. Duplicate critical documents and store in an offsite location in advance.  Files including contact information for your employees, key suppliers and customers, insurance and legal documents, and of course your emergency plan should also be backed up digitally.

2.      Consider what would be affected if water entered your business.  What resides in the basement, or if you are a ground-level business, the first metre from the floor?  Often your CPU sits under your desk and the server is in the back corner, or in the basement.  Your IT equipment, and the data contained within it, is essential to your business.  Consider re-locating equipment above the flood line, or have an off-site back-up.

3.      Be ready to clean up. Know what you need to salvage first as paper rapidly deteriorates when wet, and mold will be quick to emerge in a flooded building.  Know what you need to protect first.  List in the recovery section of your emergency plan a damage assessment process and include contact information for restoration companies and document re-processors.

4.      Within your coastal community, educate yourself and your employees about the community’s emergency plans. Do they have warning signals, evacuation routes and are locations of emergency shelters provided? These are things to consider and prepare for in order to ensure your business is ready for any flooding emergencies.

So there you have it, some helpful hints and actions to consider when developing your coastal business’s emergency management and business continuity plans.

The three-part series was meant to provide you with tips and guidance to ensure you’re prepared for the top three disasters that could potentially hit your coastal business. For more information, contact us and we will be happy to set up a meeting and talk through what we offer and how we can elevate your organization’s emergency management planning.