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Retail Stores Water Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
The best way to protect a business from losses due to water damage is to take action ahead of such events. Having a preparedness plan, emergency response plan and business continuity plan can reduce losses by up to 70- to 80-percent.
In terms of preparedness, nothing beats having a clear and well-organized plan for what employees should do if there is internal water damage or flooding in the store. A good emergency response plan deals with the following areas:
- Operating and financial procedures during an emergency
- Employee safety
- Communication system during an emergency
- Data handling and processing
- Means of transportation for employees, equipment and/or goods
- Safe alternative office and storage locations
Having an emergency plan is just half of the picture. If the staff does not know about the plan, then it's useless. Educate the staff about the company's emergency or disaster plan and how they can protect themselves in the event of a flood or internal water damage. The plan should be tested through drills so necessary revisions can be made. For large retail chains, an emergency response plan should be specific to each retail site.
In addition to advanced planning, here are a few simple but very important things that a business owner or manager can make to protect their property and investment against water intrusion and potential damage:
- Regularly check pipe and plumbing joints for any leaks, particularly those located in vulnerable areas or those that are made of materials that are relatively easier to degrade such as plastic.
- Before cold weather hits, cover pipes with insulation to prevent heat loss that result in frozen pipes which in turn lead to pipe bursts.
- Ensure that the staff overseeing the premises know where the water valve is located and how to shut it off.
- Purchase adequate insurance coverage now against water damage.
- Secure agreements with emergency service providers for post-damage assistance.
The tips above can be used by businesses of any size, but would be very useful for small or new retail stores that may not have their own maintenance staff. Regular maintenance of the physical store is an excellent way to manage water damage risks and avoid potential losses.
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