How to protect your business from a flood

canstockphoto16316124This time last year I arrived at my family’s camp to enjoy a weekend of solitude on the Maine coast. When I opened the door I discovered a flooded first floor.

My plans quickly went from spending the day lost in a book to spending the day with a shop vac.

Six inches of water flooded a hallway, bedrooms, bath and closets. No one had been in the house for several weeks and it was clear that the water had been running awhile. The doors and walls had absorbed a lot of water and mold already was beginning to form.

The culprit: a hole in the water heater.

We lost nearly everything as a result of water damage and mold. The entire space had to be gutted and rebuilt. Fortunately no one was hurt and our insurance covered a lot of the expense.

I had never realized the damage even a little water can do to property until I experienced it for myself.

As I watch the news reports coming out of South Carolina and other states devastated by the floods this last week I can only imagine the devastating effects on families and businesses. Mainers also had our share of too much water in a recent storm that left many of us with flooded basements, cars and businesses.

These events should serve as a reminder that floods can and do happen for a number of reasons and we need to be prepared.

For businesses, this is especially true. Now is the time to make a flood plan to protect your personnel and your property.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare a flood plan for your business:

1. Contact your insurer and ask if you have flood insurance and what it does and does not cover. Work with the insurer to review your policy to ensure you are properly insured in the event of a loss due to a flood.

2. Check to make sure your equipment, materials, supplies and inventory are properly stored to protect them in the event of a flood. Consider getting those items up off the floor, out of the basement or away from any area prone to flooding. Water can get in through the roof as well, so protect your assets should that occur.

3. Make a “shut-off” plan that is easily accessible and visible to ensure that gas, water and power can be turned off safely in the event of a flood.

4. Before anyone shuts off anything, make sure your staff is trained on what to do and whom to call in the event of a flood emergency.

5. Have a communications plan in place to reach employees, customers and key stakeholders in the event of a flood emergency.

6. Consider how your business will be affected if someone you do business with experiences a flood. For example, if a key customer or supplier is located in an area that recently was affected by floods, it may temporarily or permanently be out of business. Always have backups when it comes to your key business partners.

Need help with your flood plan? Ask your insurance agent if they have any workbooks or guides available.

Other resources include the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (

Deb Neuman

About Deb Neuman

Deb thinks Maine is a great place to do business and loves telling the stories of Mainers proving that it can be done! An entrepreneur at heart, she enjoys helping others with the same drive to create and innovate!