Over the past few months, a series of floods have swept western Canada, causing severe damage to dozens of communities, particularly in Saskatchewan and Alberta. These floods were so bad that, in some instances, a state of emergency was declared and towns had to evacuate, displacing around 400 people. Canada is no stranger to severe flooding like this, and when these natural disasters occur, it could mean big losses for businesses.
In 2013, Alberta experienced what Environment and Climate Change Canada refers to as a super flood. In Calgary alone, 4,000 businesses were impacted, with some buildings ending up completely underwater. In total, the flood caused over $6 billion in damage, and, at the time, led to the largest evacuation in Canada in more than 60 years.
Floods are the second most common natural disaster in Canada, occurring five times as often as wildfires. In order to prevent costly damage and prepare for when the next big flood hits, business owners should keep in mind the following advice:
•Consult your area’s flood map. This will allow you to assess your business’ overall risk.
•Purchase flood boards for your doors that you can install when flooding is imminent.
•Seal floors to prevent water from seeping up through the ground.
•Fit non-return valves to drains and both inlet and outlet water pipes.
•Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring at least 1.5 metres above the floor.
•Install high shelving where you can store items when flooding is inevitable.
•Develop a flood continuity plan with suppliers and clients.
•Train your employees in correct flood safety procedures, and establish a safe meeting place in case you need to evacuate.
•Learn how to shut off your gas, electricity and water.
•Designate an emergency flood contact.
It is nearly impossible to completely flood-proof a business. However, utilizing the above tips can help mitigate the risks, sharply reducing the potential for losses.
For more information and resources, please contact a CapriCMW Risk Advisor.