A fire disaster can strike any business at any time, whether by accident or a malicious attack. Sadly, they can cause irreparable damage. You’ll be insured against it on your buildings cover (or at least you should be) but are you really doing enough to prevent a fire occurring in the first place?
According to a Government website, it has been assessed that around ‘half of all businesses experiencing a disaster (and which have no effective plans for recovery) fail within the following 12 months’. In order to prevent your business from failing after something like a fire happening, you’re going to need a well-constructed plan and alternative arrangements to fall back on.
The biggest threats to businesses are fire, theft, fraud or vandalism and a lot of the time they’re interlinked. So, to protect your business you need to start with security.
To begin with, it’s best to carry out a risk assessment of the physical security of your business. You should have excellent standards of security around the perimeter of your business at all times including at night and over the weekends. To deter criminals you should have surveillance cameras, alarms as well as security doors, grilles and shutters.
Following this you need to identify fire hazards across the property and incorporate the relevant precautions. These include fire alarms with automatic fire detection. Install heat and smoke detectors and position them in appropriate places around the business. You also need to establish where you will position safe escape routes, and means of containing the fire until assistance is at hand such as fire extinguishers, fire doors, automatic sprinklers and fire blankets. As with the rest of your security policies, you should educate employees on the fire hazards, precautions and the plan of action in the instance of a fire.
In the unfortunate event that a fire does take hold of your business, you are going to need fire insurance to enable your business to stay afloat once it’s happened. The Balance recommends you value your business’s property as close to its actual value, as this way you can rebuild the business while having access to sufficient funds. If you aren’t sure how to value your property you can hire an experienced appraiser to reassess the value of your property, stock, equipment and so on every year or so.
You need to make sure that your fire insurance covers you for accidental fires as well as malicious damage, riots and anything else that could lead to a fire. Another clause to check is whether your property policy is paid losses on actual cash value of the damage rather than the replacement cost. If it’s the latter, you could end up losing out on the costs of the modern replacements. You may also want to include personal property, specialised coverage for particularly expensive goods and business income coverage if you can’t operate during the rebuilding of the property.
So although this sounds like a lot to cover, once you have the policies and the insurance organised, you can rest assured that your business is protected in the event of a fire.