According to The National Weather Service, Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, and the risk appears to be increasing in recent decades. The coming months of April to September are some of the most flood prone months. While it may be difficult to change or protect fixed structures, a small amount of planning and preparation as well as a rising water contingency plan can help to protect your mobile equipment and vehicles.
In many cases, locations subject to the threat of rising water may have already experienced some degree of flooding in the past. Based on this prior history, early warning signs of water accumulation need to be observed, and a contingency plan be put into action as early as possible.
A contingency plan is recommended where there is potential for flooding or severe rising water. Many businesses are located near bodies of water, but frozen ground, snow thaw, surrounding development or prolonged rain can also result in rising water. You can help to reduce your risk by evaluating your proximity to water, runoff and rising water sources, and planning an appropriate course of action.
A basic contingency plan is very simple. Vehicles and equipment should be parked or moved to a safe, predetermined place where they are not subject to rising waters. The designated safe area may be a different portion of your land or an agreed upon lot in a different place. It is advisable to have a prior agreement with other local businesses who have a safe parking area if you plan to park your vehicles and equipment there in the event of a flood.
Basic Considerations in Developing a Rising Water Contingency Plan
- Assess your risk at fema.gov
- Never cross or drive through flood waters. You can never tell how deep they may be
- Keep or move vehicles and equipment out of low-lying areas.
- Move equipment away from water sources.
- High value and critical vehicles should be scheduled to be moved first, lowering the potential of loss.
- Stress care and safety in the movement of vehicles, to not endanger the operator* or vehicle; do not trade water damage for an accident.
- Try not to concentrate, group or cluster vehicles and equipment in one area, especially if the area is susceptible to rising water (or collapse, fire or other perils too).
- Clean out parking lot drains and outlets at least once each spring.
- Contact local authorities if street storm sewers or drains are sluggish or not clear from debris.
- Develop a list of drivers’ emergency contact numbers and a phone tree.
- Obtain sandbags for additional protection.
- Practice the contingency plan to reveal any potential glitches and help determine the amount of time needed to execute the plan
Most flood-related deaths and injuries could be avoided if people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don’t Drown™ (TADD). Remember:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-up trucks.
Many local communities have emergency safety plans already in place. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if your community has an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place. Also find out if they have any local warning systems available.
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is one of the best ways to receive warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS). NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather and river information direct from nearby NWS offices.
If you do decide to invest in an All Hazard Radio, look for one that has a battery backup and a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) feature. The SAME feature automatically alerts you when a Watch or Warning is issued for your local area. The All Hazard Radio should also be able to receive all seven NOAA weather radio frequencies.
Don’t let flooding catch you or your business off guard. A little preparation can go a long way. Acadia Insurance Company policyholders may contact their Loss Control Representative for help in developing an emergency contingency plan or for additional loss prevention assistance.
*Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard.
Acadia Insurance is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness. Distribution of this information does not constitute an assumption by us of your obligations to provide a safe workplace. Maintaining a safe workplace in accordance with all laws is your responsibility. We make no representation or warranty that our activities or recommendations will place you in compliance with law, relieve you of potential liability or ensure your premises or operations are safe. We exercise no control over your premises or operations and have no responsibility or authority to implement loss prevention practices or procedures.