Experiencing a fire in your workplace can be a nightmare for any business owner. However, even with the necessary health and safety precautions in place, sometimes accidents can’t be avoided.
When a fire breaks out, your focus will shift to the safety your staff, customers and neighbours. Following the fire, there is a finite period of time during which your actions can make significant difference to the future of your business.
- Be Wary of Entering the Property
After the fire, your first instinct may be wanting to re-enter the building as soon as possible. Yet, you should never enter the building without consent from local firefighters.
Fire damage can result in hidden hazards and unsafe conditions. If you’ve been given the go-ahead to enter the building, you should be careful not to touch anything inside. If you do touch or move anything inside the building, this can affect your insurance claim.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Once the fire has been put out, and you’re sure that everyone is safe and healthy, you should turn your attention to contacting your insurance company. The sooner that you make contact, the better.
Your insurance provider can start the claims process by sending out an agent to assess the damage. Your insurance provider will also be able to offer professional advice on how to proceed in a way that does not impact your claim.
- Remove any Valuable Items
Once you’ve been given the green light by local firefighters and your insurance company, you’ll need to re-enter your building and gather any valuable items. You should focus on valuable items and those necessary for continuing your business operations. At this point, it may be useful to note down a list of damages incurred.
- Notify the Police
It is always a good idea to notify the police if a fire has taken place at your business. If you have suffered fire damage, you can be more vulnerable to burglars and vandals. You will also need to notify the post office to get your post forwarded to a different address.
- Hire a Clean Up Crew
Your insurance team should let you know whether you require any building work and, if so, when the work should be completed. The next step will be to hire a fire damage cleaning service. It is vital that you hire trained professionals as the removal of harmful substances (like soot and toxic smoke) can pose a safety hazard if not handled correctly.
- Communicate with Staff
During every step of the process, you should communicate with your staff. After all, your employees might be shaken or stressed about new progress being made.
You should try to be open, transparent and thoughtful when communicating with staff. Remember that staff will likely take time to adjust to a remote working model, so make sure managers are as supportive as possible during this time.