HSI Services, Inc. has 20+ years of experience in water management

Top 4 Dangers of Flood Water

Top 4 Dangers of Flood Water

Top 4 Dangers of Flood Water

In the midst of a heavy storm or aftermath of a hurricane, flooding presents a number of dangers to consider. One major problem is the adverse effects of pollution on floodwater. From infectious diseases to toxic fumes, your health is put at risk. With the many dangers of flood water, it’s important for you to think twice before wading through any flooded areas.

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How is Flooding Unsafe?

Floodwater picks up an impressive collection of everything it touches as it spreads. Trash, oil, insects, snakes, biological waste, and more are just a handful of the hidden hazards just below the surface. Here are a few other ways floodwater can put you in danger:

  1. Infection of open wounds
  2. Toxic spread of chemicals
  3. Increase of ants and poisonous insects
  4. Force of rushing water

1) Infection of Open Wounds

Floods often carry waste from sewers or farms, filling the water with all sorts of nasty bacteria. Even floodwaters that haven’t picked up biohazards can contain potentially dangerous bacteria, especially legionella, which can give you a potentially deadly strain of pneumonia. Any of these bacteria-ridden hazards could infect an open wound, even a tiny cut, if you walk into floodwaters. Don’t take that risk.

2) Toxic Spread of Chemicals

Plenty of vehicles leak oil or other engine fluids on a regular basis. Floodwaters pick up that residue and spread it everywhere. A damaged gas station leaking fuel only contributes to this contamination. You never know what chemicals standing water picked up on its way to settle near you–play it safe and don’t let yourself get contaminated.

Pro Tip: Flooding brings dangerous aquatic creatures–especially snakes–uncomfortably close to you. Avoid entering standing water to keep yourself safe.

3) Increase of Ants and Poisonous Insects

You’re probably familiar with the fascinating but terrifying way fire ants survive floods: they group up into a floating mass of ants that drifts on the floodwaters for days or weeks until they reach something they can climb onto. It goes without saying that these islands of ants are extremely dangerous if they come in contact with humans. From a distance, these “rafts” can look like debris, making it difficult to know how much danger you’re in. The best strategy is to avoid the water altogether and stay away from debris. However, if you do find yourself covered in fire ants after accidentally touching a mound, brush them off as quickly as you can. Don’t jump in the water to wash them off–they can survive for a long time without drowning.

A less terrifying but also dangerous hazard is the increased presence of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in water, and as floodwaters spread, their breeding grounds become massive and allow many more than normal to appear. Widespread floods could expose you to mosquitoes that carry dangerous diseases, and treatment can be hard to find following a severe storm. Keep insect spray close by and try to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to give the mosquitoes fewer places to bite.

4) Force of Rushing Water

According to NOAA, a mere six inches of rushing water can knock an adult down and 1-2 feet of water can stall and sweep away most cars. Don’t let the site of shallow water lull you into a false sense of security. Currents are deadly. Keep children out of the water and never walk in floodwaters yourself, even if they look shallow enough to be safe.

Limit Your Exposure to Floodwater

When we’re faced with flash floods or major storms, it can be difficult to stay healthy during the cleanup process. Don’t forget to wash your hands with antibacterial soap or wear protective clothing to ensure your safety. Additionally, make sure you have a reliable way to protect against flooding so that you can minimize your risk of illness or injury.

Connect with our flood protection experts for the best solution to keep hazardous water away from your property.

Hurricane Preparedness Guide for Your Business

Hurricane Preparedness Guide for Your Business

Staying safe during hurricane season is important for both big and small businesses. The best way to prepare for any tropical storm or hurricane headed your way is by planning ahead. Ensure the continued protection of your employees and property assets with this guide to hurricane preparedness.

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According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “Preparedness is everyone’s responsibility.” While certain measures might be made by your governing authorities, it’s ultimately your priority to protect your business. If major flooding occurred in your area, having the right tools and equipment should be done in advance. Get your business prepared for this year’s hurricane season with the following recommendations.

Evaluate Any Potential Risks

To ensure proper planning, It’s important for you to know how your business could be affected by major weather storms. What scenarios would you face if your business activities were paused or disrupted due to a severe storm? Based on questions from FEMA’s Back-to-Business Self Assessment, you may experience:

  • Not having access to office or computer equipment
  • Loss of utilities such as gas, electricity, internet, or water
  • Having to pay your employees on a limited business income
  • Obstructed roadways making it impossible for your employees to commute
  • Disruption of your regular business processes
  • Storm damage to your property or equipment

Make an Emergency Plan

With an accurate view of your business’s risks, you can better prepare for an incoming storm. Consult with local officials and your employees to formulate an emergency plan that is customized for your business. Every business has different dynamics to consider, such as your location, types of services, and equipment handling. That being said, the goal of any emergency plan is to keep your employees safe and ensure business continuity.

Consider implementing the following safety measures:

  • Backing up data or storing it on a cloud for easy access
  • Storing important documents in airtight containers
  • Mapping evacuation routes
  • Installing storm shutters or flood-barriers
  • Investing in a first-aid emergency kit
  • Setting up a communication tool for employees

Pro Tip: Move any equipment to higher ground or away from windows to guard against damage from rising flood water.

Pay Attention to Weather Alerts

In the days before a hurricane strikes, local news forecasts can help to give you a clear picture of the storm’s path and severity. However, circumstances can change in a matter of days, or in many cases, hours before a storm hits. Make sure you have a way to keep a tab on current weather conditions so that you can plan accordingly. Whether you need to send your employees home early or gather extra supplies, staying up to date will keep both you and your team safe.

Preparing Your Business

The power of hurricanes can’t be underestimated. With high winds ranging from 74 mph or higher, the impact of a hurricane on your business could be catastrophic. Make sure you have the proper plans and flood protection equipment in place to get ready for any storms headed your way.

Not sure where to start? Connect with our team to determine how you should be preparing for a major tropical storm or hurricane.

3 Most-Trusted Flood Control Methods

3 Most-Trusted Flood Control Methods

Do you live in a coastal city or an area prone to flooding? With hurricane season in full swing, it’s time to start taking steps to prepare for severe forecasts. Take a look at the most popular flood control methods being used today for your particular area.

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Types of Flood Prevention

In the United States, there are a number of different factors affecting a property’s risk for flooding. If you live near an ocean or large body of water, both storm surge and high tides put you at great risk for flooding. For inland areas, flash floods are a constant risk, especially if you’re located near a river or in a flood plain. From vegetation planting to retention ponds, discover the most-trusted flood defenses being used currently.

  1. Vegetation Planting
  2. Retention Ponds
  3. Flood Barriers

1) Vegetation Planting

Did you know that trees and greenery are a form of flood protection? During periods of heavy rainfall, the chance of rivers or streams overflowing is paramount. By planting trees and vegetation in a particular area, you can help slow down the process and give drainage systems time to recover. Between minimizing the chances of surface runoff and allowing vegetation to soak up the moisture naturally, the damaging effects of flooding are greatly reduced.

Pro Tip: According to FEMA, anywhere it rains is susceptible to flooding. Check with your local officials to determine your level of flood risk when purchasing flood protection.

2) Retention Ponds

In urban areas where vegetation is removed for new construction, the need for diverting water increases. One way communities have endeavored to contain stormwater is by building a detention basin or retention pond. By creating a singular area for water to collect, property owners can adequately prepare against rising water levels caused by severe storms.

3) Flood Barriers

Planting vegetation and installing a retention pond can help prepare a community for widespread flooding, especially when used in conjunction with a barrier. Most flood barriers give you the ability to protect a particular area by installing materials that will block the current of flood waters. Popular temporary water barriers include rock berms, sandbags, dikes, or the environmentally-friendly inflatable water dam.

Minimizing the Risk of Flooding

While it may difficult to predict when storms are forecasted, being prepared is your first line of defense. Flooding can cause a number of detrimental effects to the environment including property damage, pollution, and erosion. With reliable flood protection, you can help keep your community safe for the long term.

Connect with our sales team to learn more about our variety of flood control solutions to help you get ready for this year’s storm season.

Your Guide to Winter Construction Safety

Your Guide to Winter Construction Safety

With the approach of the winter season, weather conditions are changing. The drop in temperatures present a number of dangers for construction crews, and it’s important to be prepared if a winter storm were to head your way. Prepare your worksite and hard-working crew with these winter construction safety tips.  

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While OSHA doesn’t have a list of guidelines for workers to follow in cold environments, there are important hazards construction workers should avoid during winter weather. With freezing temperatures and changing weather forecasts, don’t forget to prepare your site and take care of your workers on an ongoing basis.

Your Guide to Winter Construction Safety, AquaBarrier, Flood Protection, Houston, TX

Construction in Cold Weather

Are you aware of the health risks when working in cold weather? It’s important to encourage your workers to wear warm clothing and to take frequent breaks for workers to stay warm. In the unfortunate situation where winter construction safety isn’t practiced, a member of your team could risk hypothermia, frostbite or in worst cases, death. Learn how to avoid frostbite with these recommendations.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to remind your workers of your winter preparedness plan before a severe weather storm. It’s crucial to keep everyone informed to ensure protection for your whole business.

Importance of Dewatering Your Site

If your construction site is near a body of water, you must remove all of the water before starting a project. A dry site in the winter is necessary for easy installation and safe working conditions. From minimizing slip and falls to avoiding soil erosion, your project will have more success without water. Learn more about the construction applications of site dewatering from our water control experts.

The Possibility of Winter Flooding 

No matter where you’re working, there is always a threat for flooding. In the winter, heavy rainstorms and strong wind can cause water to buildup and melt into low areas. Without proper water control, melting lakes or rivers can increase the risk of flooding. Get your construction site prepared with these five winter flooding tips

Stay Safe in Winter Weather

Are you ready to face the freezing temperatures this winter season? From equipment handling to worker health, construction sites face a number of hazardous elements in the cold weather. This season, don’t wait to start practicing the appropriate safety measures to protect you and your workers.

Connect with us on social media to learn more about construction safety and water control solutions.

Construction in Cold Weather: How to Avoid Frostbite

Construction in Cold Weather: How to Avoid Frostbite

Do you know the warning signs of frostbite or hypothermia? Completing construction projects in cold weather can present a number of health concerns for your crew. Make sure your construction site is prepared to handle the cold temperatures this season.

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Because of skin numbness, most people won’t realize they’re suffering from frostbite unless someone were to point it out. For construction workers, this can be very dangerous. As the manager of your company, how are you planning to help your team avoid frostbite? This winter, it should be your top priority to keep your workers warm and safe on your job site.

Make Training a Priority

The first step to avoiding frostbite or any injury is through proper training. From identifying what clothes to wear to knowing how to recognize a problem, colder weather presents a number of new concerns. Even the healthiest workers can suffer from frostbite or hypothermia; preparing your whole team to watch out for warning signs will protect you from further harm. Hire a professional or enroll your team in a class to teach them the health-related risks.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Out of all of the ways to protect yourself from cold weather, the right construction gear is the most beneficial. Make sure your team has the right clothing to protect against freezing winter air and snow. From hard hats with liners to waterproof jackets, your clothing is the first defense against cold weather. Keep your team protected by providing the appropriate uniform for working in cool temperatures.

Provide Dry and Heated Break Areas 

The risk of frostbite and hypothermia is heightened in areas that contain moisture or dampness. Between bridge-building and pipeline construction, the majority of worksites have water in or surrounding them. Protect your workers by allowing regular breaks and providing warm, dry areas to rest. With a portable heater and inflatable cofferdam, you can easily turn your job site into a suitable place for anyone to work.  

Pro Tip: Dewatering is the process of removing water from a construction site for better application in construction sites. Invest in a water-barrier for your job site to keep surrounding water under control.

The Importance of Winter Construction Safety 

From freezing equipment to slippery work conditions, construction in cold weather can put your workers at risk for trench foot, frostbite, or hypothermia. Without the proper safety measures, your project won’t be completed in time and your workers will get injured. This winter, prepare your job site for the various weather elements that occur.

Is your construction site prepared for the winter? Join the conversation on social media!

7 Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Business

7 Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Business

Whether you work at a construction site or high-rise office building, the winter season brings a myriad of potential issues. No matter what the weather elements are, your business should be prepared to withstand any kind of emergency during the winter months. This season, don’t neglect to make winter preparedness a priority for the safety of you and all of your employees.

The temperatures are dropping! Get your business prepared to withstand the extreme cold weather with these winter tips! Click To Tweet

7 Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Business, HSI Services, Waller, TX

Getting Your Business Ready for Cold Weather

As the weather forecasts start to predict cooler temperatures, the chance of snow and ice storms are increasing. Between the safety of your employees and the condition of your work environment, it’s important to know how to prepare for winter weather. Pay attention to these 7 winter preparedness tips for your business this season.

  1. Sign up for weather alerts
  2. Learn the severity of weather conditions
  3. Backup computers and secure important documents
  4. Create an emergency supply kit
  5. Perform regular exterior maintenance
  6. Make a communication plan for family members
  7. Consider temporarily shutting down

1) Sign up for weather alerts

It’s important to confirm that your cell phone is charged and able to receive weather alerts. In the event of a power outage or internet crash, your cell phone will likely be your main source of information. Whether it’s a weather app or email notification, pay attention to incoming weather, especially in the winter.

2) Learn the severity of weather conditions

If there’s a chance of severe weather near your workplace, it’s important to understand what the weather forecasts are predicting. In the case of a weather watch, the conditions are favorable and should be monitored. In comparison, a tornado severe thunderstorm, or ice storm warning indicates that a storm has already developed and is headed your way. In the winter, the severity of any thunderstorm is heightened due to freezing temperatures, hailstorms, and strong winds.

3) Backup computers and secure important documents

As you begin to prepare your business for the winter, don’t forget about your important data! In the case of a system crash, your files should be backed up on a separate hard drive. In the same way, your paper documents should be kept in a waterproof safe to guard against water leaks.

4) Create an emergency supply kit

An emergency supply kit should always be readily available to your employees. Don’t forget to include first aid equipment and an outside power generator to your supplies, especially for cooler temperatures. As a business owner, you should make sure your emergency kit includes a backup heating element for your employees. Body heat might keep everyone warm temporarily but it’s important to watch for against signs of frostbite in the winter, especially during a severe storm.

Pro Tip: Your emergency kit should also include a water barrier and shelter for your employees. Unfortunately, flooding and freezing temperatures could be a potentially deadly combination.

5) Perform regular exterior maintenance

No matter what the season, there should be a standard maintenance plan for the outside of your business. From caulking and weather-stripping your roof to protect your water pipes from freezing, it’s important to stay ahead of the freezing temperatures. If flooding or snowfall is predicted, we recommend installing a metal flood barrier for your doorway.

6) Make a communication plan for family members

Whether it’s an emergency situation or severe storm threat, your organization should have a communication plan prepared. If a family member is unable to make contact with one of your team members, consider sending text alerts or social media posts to keep them informed.

7) Consider temporarily shutting down

At the end of the day, your employees are your priority. If severe winter weather is predicted, let your team have the day off until conditions improve. In a matter of minutes, the weather could change and threaten their ability to drive home. Be sure to pay attention to weather forecasts and make changes to your work schedule if necessary.

Keeping Your Worksite Safe

The importance of getting your business or construction site prepared for extreme weather, especially in the winter, can’t be stressed enough. If you’re the owner or manager of your business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your office or worksite is safe for your employees. If a winter storm were to unexpectedly head your way, will your business be ready?

How is your business getting prepared for winter? Share with us on social media!