10 Critical Steps to Recovering your Business after a Fire
When you’re recovering from a commercial fire, you need to take control. These 10 steps can help you develop a business fire recovery plan. Knowing what to do before something happens makes it easier to deal with the worst.
1. CALL THE INSURANCE COMPANY
Notify your insurance company immediately. Be ready for that first call with as much information as possible. Cover these important points too.
• Your insurer’s requirements for damage documentation
• Scheduling an adjuster to inspect the property
• Deadlines for proof of loss statements
• Possibility of written extensions and approvals
• Recommendations for a Restoration Vendor
2. DISCONNECT ALL UTILITIES
A commercial fire affects utilities lines, wiring and plumbing. Turn off the gas, electricity and water coming into your building. If you have any doubts about safely shutting everything down, contact city services right away.
3. ASSESS STRUCTURAL SAFETY
Fire-fighting efforts soak walls, floors and ceilings creating a dangerous environment. The intense heat of a commercial property fire damages a site’s roof, exterior walls and foundation. Bring in a certified fire damage professional to assess your building’s structural safety inside and out.
4. SECURE THE PROPERTY
Even a small fire at your business leaves the property vulnerable to intruders. Broken windows and doors provide easy entry for vandals. SERVPRO can secure the property by boarding up fire-damaged windows and doors.
5. START THE RECOVERY PROCESS
Once the site is secure, restoration crews can start the cleanup and recovery process. Their initial work addresses potential hazards like damaged wiring and ruptured pipes. They also take care of unstable interior and exterior materials including drywall, ceilings, subflooring and window and door frames.
6. BEGIN ASSESSING YOUR LOSSES
Get the OK from on-site teams before beginning a room-by-room loss assessment. When you’re sure of your personal safety, inspect the entire building. Make note of all fire-damaged equipment, furnishings and inventory.
7. DON’T THROW AWAY ANYTHING
Don’t throw away fire-damaged business equipment. Don’t haul off water-damaged furniture or ruined inventory. Leave everything in place so that your adjuster can see the full extent of your post-fire losses.
8. DON’T ASSUME IT’S ALL A LOSS
Experienced restoration professionals can often save business-related items after a fire. Special techniques can salvage everything from electronics to paper records.
• Customer and vendor records
• Employee payroll records
• Accounting ledgers and checkbooks
• Tax-related paperwork
• Business licenses and permits
9. DOCUMENT AND RECORD EVERYTHING
Your final damage inventory should include lists, photos and videos.
10. BE PATIENT AND COMMUNICATE
The aftermath of a business fire leaves you focused on recovery. Be patient with the process. Stay in close touch with people involved in your business. Restoration might take some time, so let everyone know what to expect.