No business owner wants to think about the potential for a fire in their building, but such events unfortunately do occur. A commercial fire is a terrifying thought because it puts your property, assets, and employees at serious risk. If your business is not prepared for the possibility of a fire, you can suffer major losses if one does occur. Knowing this, it is important to be prepared for these emergencies and know what to do in the aftermath of the fire to limit your losses.
If you experience a commercial fire, it is best to address the situation right away. Fire, smoke, and damage will spread and get worse, even after the fire is out. Immediate action can be the difference between being able to salvage your property and experiencing permanent damage.
Plus, the sooner you take action, the sooner your business can get back up and running and your employees can get back to work. Use the following information as a guide for what to do after a commercial fire.
1. Inform Your Insurance Provider
When the fire has been extinguished, your insurance company should be your first contact. Your insurance provider will send someone to come to your business to inspect the damage to your property. You will also need to file a claim.
The insurance adjuster will inspect the extent of the damage and work with you to file your claim to cover the damage. Then your insurance company can give you the money needed to get restoration and cleaning services for your business.
2. Protect Yourself from Smoke Odor
Even when the fire has been put out and the flames are no longer present, the smoke odor will continue to linger on your property. Smoke odors linger by getting absorbed within the porous building materials, furnishings, and air spaces, making them difficult to eliminate.
You’ll want to get back into your property to assess and document the damage, but you first need to take the necessary measures to protect yourself from the smell. That said, be sure to wear gloves and a breathing mask as protection.
3. Assess and Document Damage
Documenting the damage is an important task after a fire, particularly for your insurance company. Your insurance provider will need proof of the damage to cover your claim, so you need to take notes and a plethora of photos detailing the damage that has been done. You should also take videos if you can as you walk around the building. This not only helps you get the most out of your own insurance coverage, but also lets you know what exactly has been damaged and what the extent of damage is.
When gathering evidence, document any damage to building materials, computers, other electronics, important documents, inventory, and other items.
4. Salvage Belongings
When you’re allowed back into your business, salvage what you can. Even if items are damaged by smoke and soot, chances are they can be cleaned and restored to their previous condition.
A fire damage restoration professional can restore most objects with smoke and fire damage, even electronics, with advanced cleaning methods and equipment. Knowing this, save anything important or valuable to at least be inspected by restoration professionals.
Smoke and soot particles do settle into belongings after the fire, so it is necessary that they undergo proper cleaning. Improper cleaning methods and products can cause further damage and neglecting to get proper cleaning can lead to permanent damage.
Water and chemicals used to extinguish the fire can also cause damage to your belongings. This is why you need to call for restoration services right away and let the professionals deal with the damage.
5. Contact a Professional Restoration Service
In the aftermath of a commercial fire, contacting a professional for fire damage restoration services is one of the most important calls you can make. Your business stands to lose a lot after a fire as lingering smoke, soot, and odors can cause serious property damage.
Any hesitation to start the restoration process will result in more damage and additional time that your business is out of commission, adding to your financial losses. The sooner you can get restoration and cleaning services started for commercial fire damage, the better chance you have of limiting the losses for your business.
With professional fire damage restoration services, technicians can handle various aspects of the damage including smoke and soot cleaning, deodorization, and content cleaning and pack-outs. These professionals have the proper equipment and products to restore your property and belongings to their original condition.