No business owner wants to consider the possibility of their business going up in flames. If your business were to be burned to the ground, the financial burden would be staggering. You’re facing not only the costs of rebuilding the premises itself but also the cost of your lost income and profits. Most businesses that face a fire don’t end up reopening after the fact. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to lower the chances of that happening.
1. Prevent a fire before it happens.
Making sure a fire doesn’t destroy your facility is the best way of ensuring that you don’t have to face that loss. A fire can’t hurt you if it never happens, right? To prevent a fire from occurring in your business, take the following into account:
- Keep your facilities up to code, building, fire, and otherwise.
- Inspect your electrical equipment regularly, keeping an eye out for damaged or fraying cords or circuits that are overloaded.
- Make sure that your employees understand what could pose a fire risk and know to report any risks they see.
2. Trip out your building with sprinklers.
The sooner you can dump a whole bunch of water on a fire, the better. Make sure that you have a sprinkler system installed in your building, and that you have it inspected and maintained on a regular basis—sprinklers won’t do much good if they don’t work.
There are many benefits of a sprinkler system. Though the system is an expense initially, the perks of having it will soon make it pay for itself. A sprinkler system can help you…
- Lower your property insurance premiums (take note that you have to have the system inspected—it has to be up to scratch to qualify.)
- Reduce your losses if a fire did happen.
- Sprinkler systems will keep the fire contained, meaning that the overall damage will be less than if it spread unchecked.
- Get your business back on track more quickly.
- Less damage means less time to repair and rebuild.
- Adhere to codes.
- You’re responsible for keeping your business as safe as possible.
3. Have a fire alarm system and smoke detectors.
This is Fire-Smarts 101. Make sure that you’re maintaining your fire alarm system and your smoke detectors so that you can keep your employees safe and let the fire department know that they need to come do their thing.
4. Have plenty of fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers can help keep things from getting out of hand if a small fire starts. The white foamy stuff is magic. Make sure that your employees know where the fire extinguishers are located in case a heated situation comes up.
5. Make sure people can see where they’re going.
Your building should have emergency lighting and signage that tells people where to go to get out of the building safely.
This will reduce chaos and help people get out of the building as efficiently as possible, and reduce the general panic.
6. Have an evacuation plan and do fire drills.
You should have a written disaster plan that tells your employees what to do in the event of a disaster—and yes, fires definitely qualify as disasters. Everyone needs to know how to be safe if something happens. There’s no time to fumble around trying to figure out what to do when the building’s on fire.
7. Know your insurance.
One of the best things you can do for your business is make sure that you have enough insurance to cover the losses that could result from a fire. Property insurance can cover the damages to your premises, but it won’t make up for the time that you have to close your business and your lost profits.
To make sure that your business won’t end up facing the no-money-coming-in financial situation, you can consider adding Business Interruption Insurance to your property insurance policy.
Business Interruption can be a big help. Here are the basics of what you need to know:
- Business Interruption can reimburse you for the lost income resulting from a covered loss.
- If you end up in a temporary location, BII can cover the expenses of working out of the new locale.
Keep in mind a few fun facts about Business Interruption Insurance:
- The point is to have enough coverage to take care of your business for the amount of time it’ll take to rebuild your premises (which could take a while.)
- You have to add it to another insurance policy. You can’t have BII on its own.
- The price depends on the risk of your business, its location, and how mobile you are (how easily you can work out of a new location.)
- Note that property insurance only covers the cost of physical loss or damage. BII steps in to cover your lost profits.
Make sure that you read the fine print of your insurance policy and go over it with your agent. It’s important to make sure that you’re completely protected from a fiery disaster—you don’t want everything you’ve worked so hard for to go up in smoke.
If you have any questions about reducing your fire risks, we’d love to hear them! Our agents know how to insure your business against fires (and pretty much any other disaster you can think of.) Don’t leave yourself at risk of having your business destroyed by a fire—do everything you can to prevent fires and make sure that you’re covered with a fireproof insurance policy.
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