Fire Prevention Month is a time to revisit and practice fire safety tips and methods that could save lives and your property.
According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), in 2019 over 18,700 businesses sustained a collective total of $744 million in property damage from fires.
Take these precautions to reduce your property risk and increase your safety.
Keep Your Business Property Up to Code
Keeping your business up to code with your local fire department can resolve fire-causing issues on your property. As a rule of thumb, you should have your property evaluated on an annual basis to make sure it meets fire code requirements. At that time, you should also have your fire extinguishers inspected and repaired if needed.
Other Responsibilities for A Business Owner in Fire Prevention and Safety
It is the business owner’s job to prepare for and take the steps to prevent fire emergencies. The USFA suggests that employers do the following:
- Make sure smoke alarms and fire sprinklers are properly installed and working
- Post-fire escape plans on each level of the workplace
- Teach and practice emergency drills with employees — proper escape routes, locating exits and fire protection equipment, and how to use that equipment
- Designate a specific gathering place, so everyone can be accounted for.
- Maintain the working condition of all fire escapes and ladders
Your Employees’ Role in Fire Prevention and Safety
The primary responsibility for fire prevention falls on the business owner, but your employees are your eyes and ears in prevention. The USFA recommends that you ask employees to:
- Look for damaged and/or overcrowded electrical outlets, cords, and cables
- Keep flammable materials — especially paper — away from electrical and heating equipment
- Avoid leaving portable heaters unattended
- Keep your workspace clean, dry, and well-ventilated
- Plan and practice multiple escape routes (if one is blocked)
- Ensure windows are working properly and can be opened, and that screens can be removed
- Ensure obstacles like boxes and equipment are not blocking exit routes
What to Do If There Is a Fire
If a fire happens, your employees must know what to do immediately.
- Call 911
- Notify other employees of the fire
- Follow the evacuation plan
- Never use an elevator. Only use the stairs
- Follow the evacuation plan
- If exits are blocked:
- Block door gaps with jackets
- Wait by a window for the fire department
If you must file a claim for major commercial fire damage, the specifications, responsibilities, and deadlines within the process can be overwhelming. The interruption to your business operations can be time-consuming and costly. A public adjuster will handle your insurance claim, while you focus on your business operations.
Our public adjusters at Adjusters International/MBC look out for your best interests and represent you throughout every step of the claims process. We are not associated with the insurance company, which will have a team focused on limiting their financial exposure. Without your public adjuster representing your interests, you risk the potential of not receiving a full claim recovery.
Our public adjusters have the commercial claim expertise to level the playing field. Our team of adjusters, inventory specialists, building estimators, and forensic accountants accurately document all the damage, including business interruption losses.
We know the disasters that affect your region, the levels of damage that can impact a business, and the intricacies involved in the claims process. We present a detailed claim to the insurance company and negotiate a correct settlement that will let you rebuild and come back stronger.