06 - Sensitivity of Equipment and Goods to Water

Depending on the occupancy, building contents that are exposed to floodwater have varying degrees of vulnerability. Often, it is not the water alone that damages or destroys the inventory or machinery, but the debris and the silt that comes with the water.

Flood water is far from being clean, and will typically include sand, silt, dirt or worse still, contamination from other sites that have flooded. Furthermore, after a flood, there may be long term moisture that will ultimately damage equipment that was left undamaged by the flood itself.

Hazards

  • Industries that have medium or high sensitivity to water/moisture contamination, such as printing, car manufacturing, power generation, chemical & food manufacturing/storage, pharmaceutical, textiles, communications.
  • Contents that are highly sensitive such as computers, scientific equipment, food products, clothing etc.
  • Any contents that have a long replacement time, such as specialized machinery or specifically designed equipment.

Controls

  • The use of or the preference of contents that are not particularly sensitive to water/moisture contamination, such as building products, cranes, vessels and tanks, crushing plant.
  • Flood prevention or protection measures have been implemented following a risk assessment of sensitive contents.
  • Relocation of sensitive contents in higher areas or floors above the expected flood level.

Risk improvement ideas

If sensitive equipment is identified and prone to flooding, consider one or more of the following:

  • Try replacing sensitive equipment with flood resilient counterparts, if available.
  • Add protection measures for sensitive equipment to the flood contingency plan.
  • Consider moving the equipment to safe locations temporarily or if possible, permanently.
  • Consider improving the flood resilience of buildings or parts of buildings, that contain sensitive goods or critical equipment, especially the layout and the organization of critical production areas and warehousing operations.

Resources

Zurich Resources