Fifteen inches of rain over the course of just a few days caused what is being described as a 1,000 year flood in the mountains of Colorado this past September. Rainfall patterns turned rains into a biblical storm that ravaged the lands and forced unsuspecting residents out of their homes and a disaster proclamation. Now, while they rebuild, many wonder how they could have been prepared for something like this.
“The area has flooded before, but never like this.” With an increase in population in this country, paired with manmade and natural changes to the environment, we will see an abundance of climate-based devastation, yet the key is to find out how to be prepared. How do you prepare for a storm that had a .001 chance of occurring?
It WILL happen. This isn’t negativity, this is preparedness, and many people would rather believe the sun will always shine instead of invest in a gloomy uncertainty. It can work to lessen the shock of the event, and allows people to think critically about their needs.
Floods are the most expensive and widespread of all disasters. According to the Small Business Administration, businesses are more likely to flood than burn down, so it is vital to prepare now.
- Review Emergency Plan with team, and key employees
- Take all necessary steps to prevent the release of dangerous chemicals that might be stored on your property – locate main gas and electrical shut-offs and anchor all fuel tanks
- Postpone any receipt of goods- deliveries, couriers, etc.
- Contact insurance agent, discuss policy, etc.
- Establish emergency communication method (Alert Notification System, phone tree, etc.); identify meeting place and time for all key employees in Crisis Management Team; create voicemail for when evacuated, or out of office, etc.
- Update disaster recovery kits and begin crisis back-up procedures
- Maintain accurate inventory of product on site
- Use plugs to prevent floodwater from backing up into sewer drains, or install flood vents/or flood proof barriers
- Stay tuned to local media & community messaging
During the Flood
- Life safety is paramountBegin next phase of your business continuity plan
- Send non-critical staff home
- Raise elevators to the 2nd floor and turn off
- Stay tuned to local media- evacuate when required
- Take cell phones, charger, critical hardware, and emergency kits with you
- Unplug electrical items before leaving
- Consider your business phones and redirection to cell phones, an answering service, or Google Voice
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage – water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded, roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet, mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals
- Implement DR plan, and monitor local authorities’ communication
- Contact employees via determined method of communication and discuss next stepsContact your insurance agent
- Ensure you have an emergency communication plan in place prior to the storm, evacuation, or threat
- Have all employees, vendors, and client contact information on hand
- During evacuation have a central point of contact for all employees, and ensure you know where your employees are located
- Following the flood, notify all critical people of next steps, based on damage
Helping to Mitigate your Risk for Flood Interruption:
• Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
• Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
• : A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
- ‘What lessons can be gleaned from this Biblical deluge in Colorado?’ – Allen Best #COflood (coyotegulch.wordpress.com)
- Back from the floods: Friday update on Colorado’s recovery (bizjournals.com)