If you’re a business owner, one of your worst nightmares might be a fire striking and burning down your premises. Many small businesses never reopen after a disaster like a fire because the expenses are so high. You have to pay to have the premises rebuilt, plus there’s the lost income you face from the time that you were closed. To avoid a fire-related property insurance claim, check out these fire prevention and preparation tips – they’ll also help you keep your employees safe.
1. Check your business premises for electrical or fire hazards.
Electrical cords, equipment, and circuits can become major fire hazards. Be mindful of any frayed or damaged cords (and replace them ASAP.) Also, don’t run power cords or other cords underneath rugs or carpeting – this can make them get too hot.
Also, take care not to overload any circuits, as this can become dangerous. Check over any electrical equipment on a regular basis to be sure that it’s ship-shape, and if you’re worried that something isn’t right, enlist the help of a professional and get them to take a look.
Pro tip: Don’t exceed the maximum voltage or wattage recommendation on power strips, surge protectors, or adaptors.
2. Make sure your premises is up to code.
This means both building code and fire code. Those codes were made for a reason, so make sure that your building can pass with flying colors.
3. Get a sprinkler system.
If you don’t already have a sprinkler system, it’s a good idea to get one installed. Dousing the blaze early can keep it from spreading and getting out-of-control. Yes, a sprinkler system might seem like a hefty investment, but there are several good reasons to get one. Your shiny new sprinklers can help you…
- Save on your property insurance (although you have to get the system inspected regularly)
- Contain a fire if one happens, which will lower your losses
- Get your business back to normal sooner following a fire (less widespread damage means less time needed to rebuild)
- Stay compliant with relevant codes
Pro tip: Business interruption insurance can help reimburse your business for your lost income if you have to close due to a fire. You may want to consider adding it to your business insurance plan.
4. Maintain your fire alarm system and smoke detectors.
It’s important to keep your clients and your employees safe by having a working fire alarm system. You may not know if there’s a problem with your alarms until you have them checked over by a professional, so make sure to have regular maintenance done on your system. It won’t do anyone much good if it’s broken.
5. Have plenty of emergency lighting and signage.
If there’s an emergency, it’s important that everyone stays as calm as possible. Having emergency lights and clearly marked exits can help people move out of the building in an efficient, orderly manner. You should also post maps showing the escape route around your workplace so that people can use these as guides to safe ways out of the building.
6. Do fire drills.
Fire drills aren’t just for schoolchildren. Grownups can do fire drills, too. Fires are extremely scary, and people might panic. That’s why it’s important to practice so that if there ever is an emergency, evacuating is second nature. Your employees need to know the route they need to take by heart.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to plan for fires and fire drills when you’re creating a disaster plan for your business.
7. Have plenty of fire extinguishers.
For smaller fires, extinguishers can come in handy and help you nip the blaze in the bud. Take some time to make sure that all of your employees know where they are – the extinguishers won’t be very helpful if they’re hidden away somewhere and everyone’s running around trying to find them. It’s really important that the fire extinguishers stay where they’re supposed to, so you may want to mount them to the walls so they don’t sprout legs and walk away.
8. Take care of your appliances.
It’s not a bad idea to unplug your appliances before you head out for the day or leave for the weekend. Also, if you notice that one of your appliances seems unusually warm, you may need to get it checked or replace it.
9. Watch the trash.
Don’t let trash build up and overflow, and don’t store the trash too close to an electrical outlet or hot equipment. Also, don’t keep trash near where people smoke.
10. Have a no candle policy.
Yes, candles smell pretty and your employees might want to have them at their workstations, but candles are a hazard. All it takes is one candle getting knocked over to start a fire. It’s best to just say no to the candles.
Fires are very scary, so it’s important that you not only prevent fires, but prepare your employees for what to do if there ever is one. Prevention and preparation are key. Take the time to make sure that your business is fire-safe.
If you want to save money on your business insurance, we can help. We can help you shop around for the best possible rate for your insurance. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.