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What to Do After a Fire at Your Business

Not sure what to do after a fire at your business? Stay calm, and follow this step-by-step guide to make sure you don't miss any important details.

Fires cause serious damage to thousands of businesses in the United States and Canada every year. Even the most prepared business may fall victim to a fire, and they impact every element of your business – your building, supplies, products, tools and people.

Learn what to do immediately after a fire and how Rainbow International can help you recover.

What to Do After a Fire: Recover Your Business

The most important thing to do after a fire is to stay calm. The scene may be chaotic, but a level head will help you and your coworkers take control of an unpredictable situation.

Ascertain the safety of any people or animals present at the location. You can worry about property damage after everyone is safe. Resist the urge to enter the building until firefighters have told you it’s safe.

Surprisingly, as a side effect, firefighters’ efforts can cause extensive damage on top of the fire itself. Firefighters may have been forced to cut holes in the roof, smash windows or move equipment to put out the fire. There may also be extensive water damage from the firefighters’ hoses or your sprinkler system. If your business has succumbed to water damage as a result of fire fighting efforts, work with a water damage remediation specialist to repair and restore.

What to Do After a Fire at Your Business: Step-By-Step

There will be a lot to do after a fire at your business. To keep from becoming overwhelmed, utilize your custom Disaster Preparedness Plan and Business Continuity Plan (drafted in advance of a disaster and revisited annually) to make smaller task lists addressing each area of your business.

Here are ideas for what to do after a fire at your business:

  1. Keep a notebook with you to document everything.

Take special note of everyone you talk to, their contact information and your conversations. Note any expenses in the aftermath of the fire and keep all your receipts in one place.

  1. Photograph everything.

Before you begin to clean up, restore and remediate, it’s vital that you document the damage, as this may be pertinent to insurance claims or law enforcement investigations.

  1. Contact your insurance company ASAP.

The more prompt you are in contacting your insurance company, the more they can help you. Ask questions until you are sure you understand everything and take notes.

  1. Call Rainbow International.

Your local Rainbow International is your go-to for fire, water and smoke damage restoration. Call (855) 724-6269 for 24/7 emergency service. We will work with the authorities and your insurance provider.

  1. Notify any landlords or property management, if applicable.
  2. Contact any business partners, clients, credit card companies, or suppliers.
  3. Negotiate new deadlines if needed.

You may lose business for now, but your associates will appreciate your transparency during this emergency. Provide them with any updated contact information. Make sure somebody you trust can take calls from anxious customers or clients.

  1. Secure the property.

Damaged buildings are ripe targets for thieves. Depending on the nature of your fire, you may need to secure doors, windows, or damaged roofs. Cover openings with wood and use tarps to keep out the rain. Consider hiring a private security firm to patrol your property.

  1. Update or turn off utilities.

Call your gas, water and electricity providers to turn off service for now. Remember to provide updated contact information to your post office and utility providers.

  1. Retrieve any valuables.

Remember, do not enter the building until the fire department says it is safe! Once you get the go-ahead, carefully search for important documents, records, credit cards and cash. This is also a good time to start documenting what the fire damaged. Be very careful about touching anything – soot and dirty water contain toxins, and smoke inhalation can cause health problems.

What to Do Before a Fire: How to Prepare Your Business

When it comes to fires, an ounce of prevention is worth a mountain of cure. There is a lot you can do to lower your chances of a devastating fire in your business. According to statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association, most business fires occur during the business day – particularly during lunch break!

Unfortunately, the fires that occur after business hours can be especially destructive because they can go undetected. In other words, don’t assume your business is safe just because it’s not open!

Prevent fires and reduce damage at your business by:

  • Investing in a high-quality sprinkler system.
  • Testing smoke detectors regularly.
  • Ensuring fire extinguishers are in good working order.
  • Nominating a “safety captain” to lead training on fire and workplace safety.
  • Making sure all employees are familiar with emergency procedures.
  • Ensuring that all exits are well-marked.
  • Making sure your safety procedures and equipment are up to local and federal codes.
  • Drafting a Disaster Preparedness Plan (DPP) and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to be used by your organization during recovery.

Choose Rainbow International for Commercial Fire Restoration Services

After a business fire, time is of the essence. If you’ve experienced a fire at your business, keep calm and call your local Rainbow International to begin the recovery process. Our local IICRC-certified service professionals are standing by to help you. Call (855) 724-6269 or request an appointment online today.

Clothes dryers start about 2,900 house fires every year. These dryer safety tips from Mr. Appliance® will prevent this disaster from occurring in your home. Like Rainbow International, Mr. Appliance is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.