Fire Damage Planning for Your Business

Fire emergency with your business, plan to prevent.

When you own a business, it becomes your livelihood and your greatest asset. Therefore, it is important to protect your investment with all the proper precautions, especially when it comes to fire. A raging fire can not only destroy your entire building and equipment, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage, but it can also cause tremendous physical harm to your staff and customers. To prevent a fire catastrophe, it is best to have a fire safety plan in place. As the saying goes, “Safety first!”

Fire Safety and Prevention

Identify potential hazards: Carefully inspect your business property, noting places that a fire could potentially break out. Take into account minor heat risks like the coffee pot burner, an overloaded outlet, old surge protectors, and where there could be potential plumbing leaks near/over electrical wiring, as well as any chemicals that could potentially start a fire. As you note hazardous spots, also be sure to consider places where people could be trapped by a fire. One of the best ways you can prevent a fire is by having a local fire marshal take a walk through and help bring your attention to places you may have missed.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers: This may seem like common sense, but smoke detectors save lives! These devices should be tested every month and if they require
batteries, these should be replaced when they run low. It is important to have smoke detectors in every room, hallway and entryway, and to be sure they are always fully operational by testing them regularly. Smoke detectors sound the alarm of a fire threat, but a fire extinguisher is a handy tool you can use to put out a small fire. Testing your fire extinguishers monthly will ensure they are ready when needed.

Have an exit plan and run drills: Having an evacuation plan is vital in keeping everyone safe, so be sure all employees are aware of this plan and have the opportunity to practice the plan several times a year. The evacuation plan and exit route should be posted throughout the building, but practice drills can help prevent panic in the event of a real fire. Your employees should be able to answer questions like: “What is the safest exit route from the main hallway or from your office?” or “What is the backup plan if that route is blocked?”

Fire Damage

Fire needs fuel, oxygen, and heat to breathe. When a fire has plenty of each of these elements, it will grow at an incredible rate, and everything it touches will be reduced to ash. A by-product of fire is the smoke it produces. Smoke is the hot, toxic air that rises and travels wherever there is a way up and out. Smoke can travel to places you would not expect like the vents, plumbing, insulation, etc. In other words, if the flames do not affect the space, the smoke most likely will. Smoke always leaves two trails behind and they are soot stain and odor. When you follow the signs, you can find the areas smoke has damaged.

Damage Recovery

Insurance: When you own a business, fire insurance should be a no-brainer. Insurance will help protect your business by coving fire-related losses, however, standard coverage is not enough to cover all damages. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with policy options and review your policy annually.

A good rule-of-thumb is to always opt for 100% of the value your business holds. Regardless of the premium cost, never settle for partial coverage because it may cost you
much more to repair damages and replace equipment if a fire were to break out. Valuables not mentioned in the policy should be insured separately and keep a record of all you have. The best way to do this is to take a video that shows the contents of every room, every cabinet, every storage container, etc. Secure your business by having adequate insurance.

Recovery Plan: Have a documented recovery plan that includes contact information for staff, clients, and vendors, any alternative locations for business to continue, damage assessments and what needs to be recovered. Along with the plan, it is vital to utilize services from fire and water damage professionals to help your business return to normal as soon as possible.

Advanced Water Restoration will come alongside you and your business should the worst unfold and professional help is needed.