Understanding your flood risk for your business
Floods can be devastating. Your business may be at risk of a flood even if you have never seen floodwaters near your home. Business owners and leaders who take action to get prepared for a flood before it happens are more likely to keep themselves, their people and the future of their business safe during a flood.
Potential causes of a flood
Extended periods of high rainfall over a catchment area may result in inundation from river, lake and/or creek systems. During and after a cyclone, low lying coastal areas can flood due to storm surge from the ocean and heavy rain. Most cyclone related deaths happen due to flooding and storm surge.
It doesn’t have to be raining in your area for a flood to happen. You can also be affected by flooding indirectly, even if your premises are not actually inundated as access roads may be closed and power, water and the telephone may be cut.
Employees who are away from the business premises should be told not to return until floodwater has receded. Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater. This is the largest cause of death during floods.
Manage your risk – be prepared for a flood
Here are eight things to do if a flood is likely:
- Monitor local radio, local TV and the state emergency or Bureau of Meteorology websites for flood and storm surge advice.
- Enact your business continuity plan (BCP) in full or in part, depending on the severity of the situation.
- If you’re evacuating or relocating to a safer office/location, do it before the flood comes.
- Check that your server and data has been backed up in the cloud or in an offsite area away from the threat (and pack up anything that isn’t backed up to relocate to a safer area).
- Turn off utilities and devices as applicable.
- If you have generators or business vehicles ensure they’re fuelled up.
- Move your furniture and equipment to the highest point possible.
- Secure loose objects and relocate vehicles, outdoor equipment, waste containers, chemicals and poisons.
It’s worth keeping an emergency kit onsite for your business, which could include:
- A waterproof bag containing your business continuity plans (which should also be available offsite or in the cloud) and emergency contacts, etc.
- Portable, battery operated AM/FM radio.
- Waterproof torch.
- New, spare batteries.
- First aid kit with manual.
- Mobile phone charger.
Recover rapidly – things to do and think about after a flood
Here are the most important things to do after a flood incident:
- Never try to drive or walk through a flood.
- Listen to the radio, monitor the state emergency websites and follow advice from authorities.
- Only return to the office when authorities tell you it’s safe and follow the routes recommended by authorities.
- If you need to go outside, be careful because power lines could be down and there may be fallen trees, broken water and sewage lines, loose roof sheeting and other material.
- Be cautious re-entering the office as there may be areas that are unsafe.
- If your property has sustained serious damage and you need help, call the SES for assistance. For life threatening emergencies, call 000.
- When you’re clearing up around your premises, stack loose material clear of water meters, valves and telephone lines.
- Use a torch when entering a building. NEVER use matches, cigarette lighters or naked flames, as there may be a gas leak.
- Take photographs for insurance purposes.
- Keep electricity and appliances off until checked by an electrician.