Avoiding Flood Damage to Your Forklift Truck

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey (Photo by Brant Kelly via Wikimedia Commons)

Hurricane Harvey, which blew through East Texas with winds of more than 120 mph last month, was responsible for billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses. But some of the biggest problems were caused by the flooding that followed the deadly storm.

Rivers crested their banks. Dams and levees suffered breaches. And hundreds of millions of gallons of water flooded into residential and commercial areas, causing structural damage to buildings and destroying thousands of vehicles.

Forklifts and Water

Forklifts are designed to work under tough conditions. But they aren’t engineered to work underwater.

When a forklift sits in three, four, or even ten feet of water, it can cause permanent damage to its engine and hydraulics. While some forklifts may be restored by meticulously disassembling, drying, and cleaning each part before putting it all back together, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to perform with the same efficiency.

Forklift seats also are unlikely to survive a flooding situation. Water can seep into the padding, causing mold, bacteria, and other unwanted bacteria to form. Not only will a flooded forklift seat smell bad, but it also can harbor germs that can actually make drivers ill.

Getting Your Forklifts to Safety

Hurricanes, tropical storms, and other severe weather situations can usually be predicted days or even weeks in advance. The people living and working in East Texas were given notice to evacuate prior to Hurricane Harvey making landfall. Those who were unable to leave or who decided to weather out the storm often were the ones who had to be rescued afterward.

While there’s no predicting exactly how bad a storm will be or how much flooding it will cause, business owners can take measures to protect their property, their business, and their employees before a hurricane or other bad weather hits.

In the case of forklifts and flooding, the best approach is to get the vehicles either to higher ground, to an inland area that is less likely to be affected by the storm, or both.

Pack It Up and Pull It Out

Some businesses in the path of Hurricane Harvey prepared by loading up their trucks, forklifts, and other industrial vehicles onto trucks and driving them to Dallas and other places where the storm wasn’t likely to hit.

This not only prevented them from flood damage but made these vehicles available to help with the cleanup afterward.

Hurricane Harvey was what’s known as a “thousand-year storm”. But businesses can minimize the damage from even a storm of that magnitude by planning ahead.

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