With news reports abounding about historic flooding across Canada and now threatening central U.S., flooding continues to be one of the top causes of weather fatalities throughout both countries.
Before a major rain event is imminent, it’s important to monitor your local weather forecast in order to be prepared for the likelihood of a flood event. School and commercial building operators must be aware of potential severe conditions that may require evacuation of buildings, and of their community’s evacuation routes and location of the nearest high ground in order to assist occupants.
If you find yourself caught outside on the road during a flood event, steer clear from flooded areas, and don’t attempt to cross a path that’s blocked by water – despite the fact that it may not look deep. In its oft-cited, Turn Around, Don’t Drown campaign, the U.S.-based National Weather Service states that it takes just 12 inches of flowing water to carry off a small car, and more than half of the deaths from flooding each year occur in vehicles. Be sure to have an emergency kit with you, and follow the evacuation routes specified by officials. Keep in mind that flood water is often contaminated and may contain raw sewage, so avoid contact with it at all costs.
After flood conditions have subsided, according to the Institute of Real Estate Management’s post-flood checklist:
- Contact your City Building Inspector or Fire Chief to verify if the building is safe to enter.
- Inspect the building at the earliest opportunity to assess its condition.
- Do not go into a building if it is still flooded or if there is standing water next to the outside walls. (The building may not be structurally sound.)
- Walk around the building and check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks.
- Contact the appropriate utility company if observed.
- Before restoring power or beginning clean-up:
- Check the foundation for cracks and examine overhangs for missing structural supports.
Be sure to include flood preparedness in your building’s emergency response plan. What happens if designated members of the building emergency personnel team are unavailable or unsure what to do during a major emergency or crisis? Is it feasible or economical to train all building occupants in emergency response? Most likely not, but providing your tenants and their employees a building-specific emergency procedures guide can enhance their safety.
The WPS personalized building occupant emergency guide or new eVac mobile app has proven itself to be a valuable tool during an emergency and instills great confidence in tenants and occupants by knowing they have a back-up plan in their hands.
Personalized building guides or eVac mobile app include the following emergency procedures:
- Fire and evacuation
- Flood or water leakage
- Bomb threat
- Suspicious package
- Explosion and bio-hazard
- Hazardous materials and shelter-in-place
- Power failure and unarmed violent intruder
- Armed violent intruder or active shooter
- Medical emergency and pandemic
Contact us today for more information.