No one expects to become the victim of a fire, but the reality is that wildfires ravish through homes and businesses every year in the U.S. Though you may not be able to control the precipitation or wind conditions in your area, there are steps you can take to protect your business in case of a fire.
Stock your business with all of the necessary safety equipment. In addition to fire extinguishers and alarms, you should also invest in masks and fire blankets for visitor and worker safety. Due to the nature of wildfires and how quickly they spread, it may be necessary to protect yourself with these types of items during evacuation. It is also important to maintain your equipment on a regular basis. Fire alarms, for example, should be checked every few months to ensure they are in proper working order. Similarly, fire extinguishers should be inspected regularly as well.
Picture Credit -Kidde Pro 10 MP Fire Extinguisher- Amazon $61
The Associated Insurance Agency, clearing away brush and dried or dead vegetation from your landscaping could prevent a small fire ember from igniting around your property. During times of dryness or drought, even a lit cigarette butt could ignite flames.
It's also recommended that you install screens over your attic vents to prevent embers from drifting into your attic, and also that you make sure your roof is composed of Class A fire retardant roofing materials. If possible, consider replacing your business windows with tempered glass. According to the Harris County, Texas Fire Marshal, tempered glass is four times less likely to break during a fire than single-pane windows.
It's imperative that you have a fire safety and evacuation plan in place for your business. If a wildfire causes the need for evacuation, you need a plan for removing customers and employees from your property in a timely and orderly manner. According to The National Association of Wholesale-Distributors, you should take into consideration how a loss of access to water, electricity or gas during a wildfire could affect your evacuation plan.
Protecting your business from wildfire is about more than just minimizing your risks and protecting from loss of life. It's also about protecting your business financially. It's important to purchase a business property and inventory insurance policy that protects you against losses due to wildfire. You should also revisit your coverage every year to ensure your policy still provides enough coverage for your business. As an added financial protection measure, consider investing in one or more fireproof safes or security boxes to protect your valuables. Though insurance can provide payment for assets, you may consider some items irreplaceable.
No one knows when or where a wildfire will strike. You can merely assess your risks for such an event and take necessary precautions to minimize your losses. Taking the steps to prepare your business for a wildfire may not be convenient, but it could save lives and money in the future. Remember, the best time to prepare for the unknown is now. Waiting to do it later could be a mistake.