(This is a contributed post)
You probably don’t expect to walk into the office in the morning and find yourself knee deep in water, but there is always the chance that it could happen. Flooding is an absolute nightmare for businesses because it means that you’ll have to shut down operations until you can get the office sorted out and fix all of the damage. That’s going to cost you a lot of money in repairs and you need to account for the loss in earnings as well and that will quickly add up. That’s why it’s important that you react quickly and get the business back up and running as soon as possible.
A lot of people panic in this situation and end up wasting time, and every second wasted is costing the business money. If you’re living in a flood risk area and you’re worried about the potential of flooding, these are the steps that you need to take right away.
Safety Always Comes First
In a crisis situation like this, your first priority should always be the safety of you and your employees. The biggest danger in a flood situation is electrical devices so the first thing that you should always do is switch off the power to the building to reduce the risk. You should also avoid turning on any lights or electrical devices if possible. When you’re navigating the building, make sure to proceed carefully and be aware of your surroundings. If there are any sagging ceilings, for example, keep your distance and don’t walk directly underneath them because there is the chance that they could collapse. Make sure that nobody is using any electrical appliances at all when they’re standing on a wet surface.
In this situation, you might think that it’s a good idea to try to save some expensive equipment like computers before they sustain water damage but this is too dangerous. Unplugging and carrying electrical equipment, even if it isn’t switched on, is a big risk. At this point, you need to accept that the damage is already done and always put safety first.
Once the power to the building is switched off, you should get everybody outside and start thinking about your next steps.
Switch Off The Water Supply
If the flood is caused by a leak, you need to limit the damage by switching off the water supply as soon as possible. Usually, the water supply valve will be located on the outside of the building somewhere and you’ll need a key to operate it. It’s important that you know where the valve is and you keep the key in an easy to access location so you’re already prepared should a flood occur. If you’re wasting time trying to find out how to switch the water off, the office will sustain a lot more damage.
Save Anything That You Can
Once the building is secure and the water is switched off, you should try to save anything that isn’t yet damaged. Just remember to do this safely and leave any electrical equipment though. Things like furniture, any documents that you have around the office, and any paintings or pictures on the walls can be removed before they sustain any water damage. Bring these items outside and see if you can start drying them out. It’s likely that a lot of the items in the office will be damaged beyond repair but anything that you can rescue will save you a little bit of money when you’re refurbishing the office again.
Call A Liquid Disposal Company
For now, you’ve done everything that you can to limit the damage and start saving some items, now you need to start fixing the office up again. The first step is to get rid of all of that excess water so you need to call a company that deals with liquid waste removal from stormwater damage or burst pipes. They will be able to come in and start pumping all of that water out before it does any more damage to the building. The sooner you call them in to get rid of the water, the less damage will be done and the quicker you can start repairing the office and getting the business up and running again.
Carry Out An Inventory Of The Building
Next, you need to know exactly what you’ve lost in the flood and what you need to replace so you can get an idea of exactly how much this is all going to cost you. You should already have an inventory of everything in the office, if you don’t you need to write one as soon as possible. Check everything against this inventory and mark off anything that has been damaged beyond repair. Then you can start adding up the cost of replacing things like computers and furniture. You also need to look at the damage to the actual building so you know who you need to call in for repairs. Are the carpets soaked through? Has the water started seeping into the walls? Is it coming through ceilings? Once you have a thorough list of all of the damage, you can start putting a plan in place to fix it.
Put Your Plan Into Action
Now it’s time to put that plan into action. In the event of a leak, the first person you should call is a plumber because you need to ensure that the pipes are all secured and there isn’t going to be another leak as soon as you switch the water back on. Then you’ll need to call damp specialists to help dry out the building. When the building itself is in good shape, you need to call people in to start sorting out the interiors.
When the business is up and running again, you should think about boosting your defences in case of another flood in future. That means learning how to spot the signs of a leak and taking measures to keep pipes well maintained so that they aren’t as likely to leak again. If you’re in a flood risk area, you should look into putting up more defences around the building to divert flood water.
Flooding is never going to be good news for your business but as long as you follow these steps and take action quickly, you can get things up and running again in no time.