At the end of 2014, the state of Illinois alone experienced over 100 fatalities due to structural fires. In comparison to years past, this was a 9% jump. This is a statistic that no one wants to be a part of. Being a locally owned company right here in Salem, IL, the year 2015 presented us with the very unpleasant task of watching two structural fires engulf not only a historic landmark but a local business as well. It was sad to see history melt away and business owners lose memorabilia that meant the world to them. As a company this is what we are working hard to prevent. There are certain steps that small business owners should take in order prepare for the possibility of fire.
DEVELOP A PLAN
It is important for businesses to have an action plan in case a fire was to break out. There shouldn’t be a doubt in your employees’ mind as to where to go if your business were to go up in flames. Business owners or their fire team leader(s) need to designate a meeting spot outside of the building where everyone would gather at the sounding of the alarm. It is also vital to plan out which exits different sections of the company will use to vacate the premises. There is something safe and secure about knowing exactly what to do in a terrible situation. You’re employees will thank you, and you will thank yourself when the pandemonium is lessened.
PROTECT SENSITIVE INFORMATION
You need to backup your computer regularly, and keep the information off site. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If your business were to burn with all of your information inside and no duplicates off site, you would have nothing. There have been unfortunate cases where owners didn’t even know who their customers were. They took such a total loss that they were forced to put an advertisement in a news paper asking for people to call them if they were customers. They had to start from square one.
REDUCE FIRE DAMAGE
There are a many steps one could take to reduce possible fire damage. However, there are a couple items that are imperative to think of in regards to damage reduction.
First, make sure that your business has adequate fire protection. Not only is it important to have smoke and heat detectors on the main and lower levels, but it is also highly recommended to place them in attics, or above ceilings. A shockingly high number of devastating losses occur from fires that start in an attic and become out of control before anyone is even aware. For optimal protection, smoke and heat protection also need to be paired with an automatic sprinkler system.
Second, MAKE SURE that your fire protection is connected to a monitoring company. When that alarm goes off you need for that alarm to trigger a call to someone who will always be awake and waiting…. It could determine the future of your business and most importantly the life of an employee.
Is your business prepared for a fire emergency?