Flooding can result in serious vehicle and property claims, health concerns, school closures, and many other outcomes that could negatively impact your organization. It is important to know risks, be aware of your coverage, and have a plan in place if your organization is impacted by a flood.
Contributing risk factors
While you can’t predict if your campus will be hit by a flood, you can familiarize yourself and your staff with the specific risk factors you face.
- Amount of rain
- Nearby ocean or river
- Nearby hills or valleys
- Flood control or prevention measures
- Changes due to construction and development
It is important to take some proactive steps that will help you be prepared for potential floods.
- Ensure backup power for sump pumps, which remove accumulated water.
- Have off-site computer backup storage for electronic school records.
- Add, clean, or repair valves for sewer lines.
- Monitor weather and flood warnings on a regular basis.
- Ensure emergency operation plans are up-to-date and meet the needs of the district.
Reducing flood-related risks
During a flood, water levels and the rate at which water moves can change quickly. Remain aware and monitor local radio, television, and mobile outlets for weather related information.
- Identify and stay clear of flood prone areas, floodplains, and areas where water collects on your campuses.
- Elevate electrical equipment.
- Move vehicles located in lower-lying areas to higher ground.
- Collaborate with local emergency management personnel and first responders to get updated road closures and damage assessments.
- Communicate with transportation departments about low water crossings along bus routes, and identify alternate routes or transportation options to avoid those areas. Do not drive around barricades; it’s against the law and may be deadly. Remember that flooding and road closures will continue days after the rain has occurred.
- Tell staff and students to avoid walking and driving in or near flood waters. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other severe weather-related hazard because people underestimate the force and power of water.
Responding to flood
Take precautions when surveying your property after a flood. Floodwaters can force wildlife out from their hiding places, leave behind dangerous debris, and create slippery surfaces.
- Do not enter a school if there is flood water in or around the building; if you smell gas; or if it could be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Look for signs of structural damage, such as wall cracks, a sagging roof, or other structural distress.
- If standing water remains, contact the power company.
- Do not use the toilets until you investigate if the pipes are broken. You can check community reports for any sewer pipes that were damaged.
The Fund’s coverage includes a flood endorsement that provides coverage depending on the zone where the covered property is located. Flood maps are available from FEMA to help determine the applicable zones for your covered property. For detailed information about coverage, contact your marketing consultant.
Reporting a claim
If you need to report a claim from severe weather events, please call 800.482.7276. If you call outside of business hours, our answering service will contact one of our adjusters and you will receive a call within one hour. You may also file a claim online at tasbrmf.org/claims. If your property sustains damage, please make temporary repairs or start mitigation as needed. Please file a claim as soon as possible so that our adjusters can begin guiding you on the claims process and coverage.Filing a claim as soon as possible will alleviate any coverage issues that could arise if it is not filed timely and additional damages occur. All claims must be filed within 365 days from the date of loss for coverage to be considered.
For more information or questions about flood prevention, response, and coverage, contact TASB Claims Manager Robert Piña or TASB Property Claims Adjuster Kim Shelly. If you are a Fund member interested in listening to a recorded webinar on flood damage, contact TASB Risk Management Risk Solutions. For assistance with emergency management planning, contact TASB Emergency Management and School Security Consultant Melanie Moss. You can also find information on flood safety on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.