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Restaurant Water Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Being prepared well in advance for any type of water damage is the best way to lessen its effects. Here are some valuable preparedness tips that can save a restaurant business from significant water damage:
- Develop a response plan for water-related emergencies.
The plan should contain a list of emergency responders and their correct contact information, such as a plumbing company, electrician, a water extraction company, damage cleanup and restoration contractor and the insurance agent. The plan should also indicate an alternative storage site such as a cold storage facility where food can be stored safely.
- Check insurance policy for appropriate coverage.
Usually, coverage for water damage and flood damage is not a standard feature on business insurance policies. If the restaurant is not insured against these risks, purchase the appropriate insurance coverage now. It will take a month for the plan to take effect.
- Draw up an inventory of food and other essential items in the restaurant.
To help protect inventory, supplies, and essential wares from floods, store them above ground floor level or at an offsite commercial storage facility. Chemicals should also be stored in sealed containers above flood levels.
- Inspect freezers and refrigerators.
Replace worn door gaskets and maintain all unit thermometers. Maintain a well-organized freezer compartment to reduce contamination from juices of thawing meat in the event of a power loss.
- Monitor restaurant building facilities.
Have a plan for the regular maintenance of the restaurantís plumbing system, grease traps, downspouts, sump pumps, storm drains. Any damage, obstruction or malfunction in these facilities can cause water damage.
- Have backflow prevention valves installed.
A backflow valve works to temporarily block sewage water from going back up the drains, which can happen during floods. Installation should be done by a licensed plumbing contractor.
- Have a plan regarding business continuity.
The focus of such a plan is how to ensure that business critical functions continue during unforeseen events such as water damage emergencies like flooding and how full operations can resume with the least interruption.
Being prepared to deal with water damage situations also means gaining relevant knowledge that will useful during emergencies. For instance, it will be helpful to know about using sandbags for flood control purposes and where to get them locally.
In addition, restaurant staff should be educated on the proper and safe way to shut down utility main lines such as the main gas valve, circuit breaker and water valve of the restaurant in the event of an emergency. They should also know how to turn off restaurant equipment.
The staff should know who to contact in case of a water damage emergency. Make sure to post a list of emergency phone numbers in a prominent location in the restaurant.