It may seem counter-intuitive, but flash floods can pose a major fire risk for commercial properties caught in their path. Worse, when a fire does break out during a flood, it may be difficult if not impossible for emergency services to respond in time to save the building. Because of this, it is critically important for business owners in areas prone to floods to have a fire protection plan in place before disaster strikes.
Preventing Electrical Fires
The primary fire hazard that occurs during a flash flood is electrical damage, which can happen whenever electrical wiring or appliances are submerged or exposed to subsequent humidity. Uncontrolled electricity can turn standing water into a hazard on its own, but it can also start fires under the right circumstances. If you know that there is a flood on the way, shut off your electricity before evacuating. You will in all likelihood lose power anyways, and a little foresight can prevent extensive property damage or personal injury later on.
Storing Flammable Materials Securely
Businesses are often home to potentially dangerous materials like natural gas, solvents, propane, and gasoline, among others. These should be moved to a safe area whenever possible before a flood, but often there isn't enough time to get them out of the way. This is why it is so important to have a fire safety plan ahead of time, particularly in areas where flooding is relatively common. To learn more about permanent storage solutions for potentially flammable materials, contact your local fire protection service for some personalized recommendations and plans.
Keeping Your Fire Equipment Safe and Dry
If a fire does break out in your building, you will want all of the equipment necessary to contain it high and dry and ready for use. This is critical during a flood, when firefighters may not have access to the roads and infrastructure around the building and will need to rely on the equipment inside instead. For this reason, safety standards have been mandated for most businesses and commercial properties, requiring a certain placement and frequency for each type of essential fire equipment. Your fire protection service can help ensure that you are in compliance with these guidelines.
Returning to Your Property
Once the floodwaters recede, you should be able to return to your business and assess the damage. With any luck, no major harm will have been done, but you should always assume that the area is unsafe until proven otherwise. Be particularly cautious about wading through standing water, and only operate heaters or generators as directed by the manufacturer. When you are already facing water damages, the last thing you want to add in is fire as well. If you are concerned about the security of your commercial property in the event of a flood, call an experienced fire protection service to ensure that you are meeting the standards needed to protect your business and those around it.