Four Fire Damage Restoration Steps for Business Owners
Summer heat carries with it an elevated risk of wildfires in many parts of the United States, in addition to the fire risks present throughout the year. And fires not only pose a danger to households-they’re also especially threatening to businesses. According to statistics, for every 10 businesses that experience a fire, four of them will never reopen. In the immediate aftermath of a fire, unprepared business owners facing the steep costs and time pressures of recovering from a fire realize (often too late) the importance of planning ahead.
Whether you’re picking up the pieces in the immediate aftermath of a fire or thinking through strategic safety planning for the future, this article will highlight some important fire-related information and critical fire damage restoration next steps for business owners.
Rates of Commercial Fire Damage in the United States
All structures, including your business, are at risk of catching fire. And the threat not only comes from circumstances frequently labeled as “freak accidents” like faulty heating equipment and lightning strikes—it can also come in the form of electrical malfunctions, wildfires, and every-day cooking accidents. In fact, roughly 30 percent of office fires are sparked by a kitchen mishap.
But the share of damage caused by wildfires is rising precipitously, and it’s concerning business owners throughout industries. In fact, in a span of roughly a decade (2010-2019), the number of S&P 500 firms flagging wildfires as a major risk factor has risen over three-fold. The added attention certainly appears warranted; of the top 20 wildfires in the United States since the early-1920s, half of them have occurred since in the past 15 years.
In fact, the U.S. Congressional Research Service reports that in the first six months of 2023, 18,300 wildfires had scorched over half a million acres across the US.
Four Important Fire Damage Restoration Steps for Your Business
Whether you’re thinking about creating a fire safety plan or making updates to one in the event of a wildfire, it’s critical to include fire damage restoration steps. In the immediate aftermath of a fire-related incident, overcome the disorientation and get repairs on track by following these four steps:
- Never Put the Safety of Yourself or Others at Risk
If your business (or the local area generally) experiences a fire, ensuring safety is paramount. As a business owner, your first instinct might be to protect the business and its assets. Be sure to wait until firefighters or other emergency responders have given the “all clear” to enter the building.
While entering before may deliver faster answers on the scale of the damage (thus relieving some anxiety or allowing you to file your insurance claim that much faster), the time saved simply isn’t worth becoming trapped or injured.
Once you do get confirmation to re-enter the space, make sure to also ask for a copy of the Fire Report, which can be especially helpful with securing insurance payouts.
- Get the Situation Stabilized and Documented
Make sure to document the damage, taking as many pictures as possible. As you begin to chart a path forward, remember that some insurance carriers may want to see damaged property in person (and therefore it may be important not to throw away damaged assets).
But it’s important to start working on necessary repairs, which will help resume business operations as quickly as possible (alleviating the financial burdens of downtime). And while you’ll want to start getting bids from contractors for fire damage restoration services, make sure your insurer has agreed to cover those costs before work gets underway.
- Keep Up with the Terms of Your Insurance Policy and the Progress of Your Claim
Just because you have insurance coverage, that doesn’t always mean the insurer will willingly pay out the amount you’re entitled to. Insurers are notorious for denying coverage, and there’s no exception when it comes to fire damage.
For example, survivors of recent wildfires in California were firsthand witnesses to the hassle of securing full insurance claim payouts. The amount of “red tape” became so difficult to navigate that the California state government was forced to step in and assure additional insurance protections for policyholders.
While local governments are poised to support claims holders, this still isn’t a complete fix when it comes to wildfire damage, specifically. While your current insurer may be forced to pay out their end of the bargain should your business experience a fire, they may refuse to cover your business moving forward if it remains in an area at risk of future wildfires.
- When in Doubt, Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Partner
When the survival of your business is on the line, taking risks could result in financial and downtime costs that put hundreds of companies like yours out of business every year.
But the value delivered by damage restoration experts (not only in minimizing downtime but also helping to negotiate with insurance carriers and provide other critical support), can be well worth the cost.
That’s why more and more businesses are turning to the damage restoration industry, currently growing at a CAGR of five percent, in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event.
Sphaera as Your Fire Damage Restoration Lifeline
At Sphaera, we’ve spent decades supporting businesses and communities as they navigate the rebuilding and restoration process. We’ve worked with clients across industries, and we also understand how critical it is to keep repairs running on time and get the job done right.
If you’re ready to make decisions and get results, initiating a partnership with us is as easy as visiting our website and giving us a call today!