Protecting your business from floods
As a business owner, protection of critical assets and business continuity are key to your profitability.
Floods are caused by hurricane storm surge, overflowing rivers, heavy rains, snow melt, levee failure and sewer backups. They may directly impact your business by damaging building and contents or indirectly through loss of power, drinking water or road access.
Losses from floods now regularly exceed many billions of dollars per year in the U.S. Hurricane Sandy alone caused over $60 billion in losses in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina caused nearly the equal amount in 2005. Weather hazards extract a huge business cost. According to FEMA, 40% of affected businesses do not reopen after a disaster and 25% of the rest failed within a year.
A business owner can understand flood risk by asking these questions:
- What is the current flood risk at each facility/location?
- How vulnerable are your business operations and critical assets to floods?
- What flood defense measures have you taken to reduce risk?
FEMA produces maps of a 100-year flood (a flood event that has 1% chance of occurring in a given year) and a more catastrophic 500-year flood (a flood event that has 0.2% chance of occurring in a given year). However, a 100-year flood area may contain areas of much higher risk. Moreover, being located outside a FEMA flood zone does not mean you are safe from harm. FEMA acknowledges that 20% of the National Flood Insurance Program losses emanate from outside designated flood zones.
Flood Risk Management
Climate Decision provides a comprehensive Flood Risk Management service to help clients prepare for flood events, reduce losses and improve business continuity. It includes three components:
Step 1: Flood Risk Assessment
Climate Decision conducts modeling that incorporates high-resolution local terrain, land cover, proximity to the coastline, heavy rainfall and storm surge to calculate the likelihood, severity, nature, and consequences of flooding. The assessment can be used for planning and investment decisions.
Step 2: On-site Survey of Critical Assets
Flood water and debris can damage both the building and contents resulting in costly repairs, service disruptions, and hazardous situations for personnel. Climate Decision’s on-site survey identifies assets that are vulnerable to flooding and determines the resulting consequences to those assets and overall business operations. It will establish the flood risk at your business locations with precision. Information collected includes:
- Floor elevations
- Heights of assets and equipment above floor level
- Assets and operations that are vulnerable to flooding
Step 3: Planning of Flood Defense Measures
Builds on the information from Step 1 and 2 to recommend flood defense measures specific to the locations and types of business operations. Examples include:
- Flood risk management plan, with emergency procedures to raise your capability in coping with flood events.
- Relocating critical assets such as backup generators, computer servers, and electricity and telecommunication boxes to elevated positions.
- Flood gates over openings such as doors and windows.
- Check valves to prevent sewer backups.
- Vent covers to stop floodwater from entering the building.
We help our clients select the most appropriate Flood Risk Management products to ensure that they are prepared for current and future flood risks.