Each day, 14,000 American people experience a water damage emergency at home or work. So you must know what you need to do if your business experiences flood damage. That way, your losses from this common threat will be far less.
Read on to learn seven steps to take after flood damage to business properties.
1. Control the Source
As soon as you notice flood damage, you must identify its source. If the flooding is the result of a flood and/or hurricane, the source should be obvious to you. But a flood or hurricane isn’t always the reason for a flood in your business.
a) Plumbing Damage
It’s also likely that a pipe burst or a toilet or sink overflowed. If your local weather station isn’t reporting any flooding, you may want to check your pipes and fixtures.
If you figure out that your plumbing is the source of your water issues, shut off your water main. This will prevent your business from experiencing more flood damage.
You may also want to shut off your building’s electricity as well. Electrified water is extremely dangerous.
2. Handle Your Employees
If employees are in the building, make sure that they’re safe. Get everyone out of the building before determining what to do next. Floodwaters are often hazardous to human health.
a) Employees Coming In
You may also want to tell employees that haven’t gotten to work yet that they need to stay home. But if you feel that employees can help in dealing with flood damage, let them come in. Just make sure you tell them about the situation beforehand.
b) Natural Disaster
If a natural disaster has happened, it may be best to advise your employees to stay home. If employees get hurt or sick, your productivity levels could go down. Employees may also quit if they feel undervalued.
3. Take Care of Insurance
Do you have commercial flood insurance? If you don’t, you should. If you do, start preparing your insurance claim.
a) Document Everything
Document everything you can. Take photos of any water and what it’s touching. You may also want to take a video of as much of the property as possible.
While doing this, make sure you avoid the floodwaters as much as possible. These can be hazardous to your health. If you can, try to take photos and videos of the damage through the windows.
b) Contact Your Insurance
Once you’ve got that taken care of, contact your insurance company. Insurance claims take a long time to process. You should want your wait to be as short as possible.
4. Basic Flood Damage Response
More extensive damage should be dealt with by a flood damage restoration company. But there are some steps you can take before they arrive.
a) Remove the Water
If your whole area is flooded, removing the water may not be possible. But if only our building is flooded, get rid of all the water you can. You can do this with pumps, buckets, or other means.
It’s also a good idea to open doors and windows and use dehumidifiers. This will prevent mold from growing inside your building.
b) Protect Yourselves
While you and your employees are dealing with flood damage, protect yourselves as much as possible. Get tall rain boots or other waterproof materials. This will prevent the floodwaters from making anyone ill.
c) Remove Important Items
Remove your most important items from the building first. Think about the items you cannot afford to lose and which ones face the most immediate damage from floodwaters. For many companies, these will be any large pieces of technology.
Anything that’s less valuable can come out next. Usually, these will be furnishings and decorations. But keep in mind that you may be unable to restore porous materials.
Make sure to take photos of the items as you remove them for your insurance company.
d) Save Your Data
Many businesses have data recovery plans in place. This will help them get their data back after a natural disaster wipes out all of their technology. You should also be able to easily recover data if you use cloud services.
If you don’t have cloud or data restoration plans, grab your hard drives and run. Losing data can be devastating for a company.
5. Move Your Business
It may or may not be possible to keep your business running during your flood damage recovery process. Are there business operations that you can perform elsewhere? If so, do your best to shift operations to another location.
Ensure that your employees can easily make it to the new location. Some employees may struggle to get to locations that are a certain distance away. Others might struggle to get to a location that is inaccessible by public transportation.
If all else fails, consider letting your employees work from home for some time.
You don’t necessarily have to pay rent for your alternative facilities. Talk to other businesses and see if they’ll let you work at one of their facilities. You may be able to offer them your services in exchange for a temporary home.
6. Consider Holding a Fundraiser
Even if your insurance honors your claim, you may still need funds to recover from flood damage. Consider holding a fundraiser to raise these funds. It can be as easy as setting up a GoFundMe or IndieGogo page.
If you do this, make sure to advertise the fundraiser as much as you can. Contact friends, family members, and loyal customers and ask them to spread the word. You can also make posts on social media and hang signs in front of your business.
a) Flood Damage Won’t Stop Your Business
Flood damage can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to cause the end of your business. As long as you stay calm and take the right steps, your business should be fine.
Also, if you’re interested in learning about some other business products and services, consider reading some of our other articles on business products and services. These can help you take your business to the next level.
Check them out!
Read More: What Should You Do After a House Flood?