How to Protect your Business against Flood


Andreas Klippe no responses February 15, 2021

Floodwaters will enter openings in commercial buildings

Many businesses in the Philippines have fire exits. I do not think malls will be allowed to operate without proper fire exits. Some businesses even have fire drills once in a while to keep the employees updated with the safety protocols in case of fire. 

However, why aren’t there a lot of safety protocols given to counter flooding?

REPERCUSSIONS OF FLOODING

Just like fire, floodwaters can also greatly damage businesses. A machine or equipment that was burned is no different from a machine or equipment that was flooded. In either case, the equipment would no longer function or be used. Aside from damaged equipment, flood damages do not only stop there. Usually, if a business is flooded, the repercussions are severe. The following are negative effects of the flood that business owners may experience.

  1. Damage to equipment, machines, animals, or products
  2. Loss of important documents like inventories, receipts, and business permits
  3. Laying off of workers
  4. Loss of business opportunities
  5. Shutdown
  6. Loss of customers
  7. Interruption of the supply chain and possible closure of the business

Just like fire, floodwaters can also greatly damage businesses. A machine or equipment that was burned is no different from a machine or equipment that is flooded.

Flood can cause huge damage to businesses

More than fire-protecting the building, I believe that it should also be flood-protected. When you think about it, flooding can be as bad as fire. For most cases, fire can be caused by faulty electrical equipment, clutter, combustible materials, human error, negligence, and arson. This means that unlike floods that are uncontrollable in nature, fire is something that can be controlled. Flood is usually caused by nature— by heavy monsoon or typhoons. It is a result of natural disasters that cannot just be avoided by fixing electrical wirings. It is as big, if not bigger, than fire.

WAYS OF PROTECTING BUSINESSES

As flooding situations worsen, many businesses also try to find solutions for flooding. There are several ways to protect your business against flood damages: with the help of technical solutions or by coverage through insurance. Let us have a more detailed look at these solutions and decide which one is really helpful for you. 

1 – Sandbags, wooden planks, metal planks

Some of the most traditional solutions are the employment of sandbags, wooden, and metal plates. These flood solutions can probably work for a time but will not give you and your business a long-term solution. 

Sandbags may be able to reduce the amount of water that can enter your property but only at a very limited level. In the end, you will still get flooded. Sandbags are not watertight and cannot stand water pressure in many cases. There were so many instances in the past where sandbags were washed away with water. In addition, they are difficult to deploy and are not reusable. They are time-consuming and require more manpower. 

Likewise, metal plates are probably better than sandbags but they are very, very, I mean VERY heavy that they are extremely inconvenient to deploy. Like sandbags, they are also not water tight.

Employing either of these solutions is not only a waste of money but also of time and effort.

Buildings protected by sandbags

2 – Insurance

Aside from these materials that aim to stop flood from overflowing, another flood protection some businesses do is getting insurance. The problem with this is that insurance normally covers flood damages for the first time but not the second time.

3- Construction Remedy

Some businesses also try to change the structural designs of their buildings so flood could not reach them. Some businessmen raise the ground level of their property as a solution to flooding. The issue with this is that as climate change worsens, the rainfall intensifies and so is flooding. The flooding in Samarinda, Indonesia, and Metro Manila, Philippines in 2020 showed that the level of floodwaters can get higher— up to knee-deep or even waist-level. Simply raising the ground level is not enough.

4- Disaster Plan

Lastly, some businesses create a disaster plan and also train the employees to be flood-ready. In these plans and training, employees are given evacuation routes and are trained to respond to flooding situations. However, though having training can save one’s life, it will not save properties.

However, though having training can save one’s life,
it will not save properties.

Employees trained to respond to flooding situations

While all these solutions can be used as helpful ways of protecting business; many of them do not prevent property damage that is caused by raging floodwaters. An effective flood solution is one that both saves lives and protects properties against damages whenever possible. If the flood solution fails to prevent damage to the property, then the solution is probably not the best you can get.

An effective flood solution is one that both saves lives and protects properties against damages whenever possible.

BUSINESSES THAT ARE ALREADY FLOOD-PROTECTED

With the extremity of flood conditions because of climate change, more and more businesses get their properties flood-protected. Two examples are that of SM Bacoor in Cavite, Philippines and Hotel Elbresidenz in Bad Schandau, Germany. Though of different business natures, these two businesses experienced the same flooding problem and flood damages; and thus, both work to avoid future ones.

Example 1: Commercial Mall in the Philippines

SM Bacoor is a mall in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines that experienced flooding five different times since it was built in 1997. Initially, the people there relied on sandbags as protection but to no avail. In addition to sandbags, guards also put up metal covering on the main mall entrance to prevent floodwater entry. However, putting up such metal plates takes about 3 long hours. And guess what: it did not help at all. After SM Bacoor experienced a flood in 2019, it finally decided to install RS Demountable Barriers.

Photo of a flood-protected SM Bacoor

Example 2: A 5-star hotel in Germany

Another business that flood-protected itself was a German Hotel in Bad Schandau, the Hotel Elbresidenz. With the threat of the rising of the Elbe River, the security of this heritage hotel is in danger. In 2002, with the rising of the river, Bad Schandau experienced total flooding and severe property damages. After that incident, RS Demountable Barriers were set up to protect the area.

Photo of a flood-protected Hotel Elbresidenz

WHAT OTHER BUSINESSES CAN LEARN FROM THESE EXAMPLES

Since 1990, for over 30 years, flood barriers that have “Made in Germany” seals have been protecting properties, industries, and businesses. These flood barriers do not only save lives like the training and evacuation plans — they save properties. They also aren’t like insurances that will only make payment when the damage is done. This German Technology prevents floodwaters from getting into your business property. 

Made with marine-grade aluminum, stainless, or hot-dipped galvanized steel, these flood barriers with a sophisticated sealing system embody the features of being heavy-duty and being lightweight. These flood barriers can be demountable flood barriers, mobile flood barriers, flood doors and gates, sliding, self-closing, and automatic flood barriers. They are reusable, stackable, and are very easy to deploy—most of the time, by only one or two people. It is also cost-efficient since it can be used for 50 years and longer!

A one-time investment in a modern flood barrier solution can save money for the next 50 years. It pays off with the first flood.

How many floods do you expect for the next 50 years?

Car shops can be flood-protected by flood barriers

Using these flood barriers saves you a lot of extra costs you may incur from repair, replacement, and manpower. Time, cost, and energy are saved by installing flood barriers around your property. In a business, these three are important to ensure that one is not losing money instead of gaining one.

Using these flood barriers saves you a lot of extra costs you may incur from repair, replacement, and manpower.

Now, I leave you with a question: Is your business flood-protected? 
To learn more about the latest flood protection technology, subscribe now to our Flood Expert Tips (IF YOU HAVEN’T YET!).

Andreas Klippe

About the author

Andreas Klippe is founder of the Asian Center for Flood Control located in Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines.

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