If you are a business owner who has experienced a fire, it can be a devastating experience. However, it is essential to take the steps to recover and rebuild your business. Here are some steps that you can take to help your business recover after a fire.
1. Keep Good Records
The aftermath of the fire can be a chaotic time. Keep a log of contacts, phone calls, and what you discussed. Maintain records of expenses incurred during the recovery period.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
The first step in the recovery process is to contact your insurance company. They will help you assess the damage and determine what your policy covers. Make sure to take pictures of the damage and keep all receipts for expenses related to the fire.
3. Hire a Fire Restoration Company
Engage a fire restoration company as soon as possible. They can expedite the claims and repair process. For example, SERVPRO, a leading fire damage restoration company, offers these services after a fire.
- An emergency contact who’ll dispatch appropriate personnel
- Inspection and assessment of fire damage
- Immediate board-up and roof tarp service
- Water removal and drying
- Removing smoke and soot from all surfaces
- Cleaning and sanitizing
- Repair and reconstruction
4. Secure Your Property
After a fire, your property may be vulnerable to theft or further damage. Secure your property by boarding up any broken windows or doors. Install tarps if the roof is damaged. Consider hiring a security company to monitor your property.
5. Remove Valuables
When it’s safe to enter the building, remove valuables. Examples include insurance policies, accounting records, and business licenses or permits.
6. Turn off Utilities
To prevent additional damage, turn off the water at the main valve. Turn off the electricity at the meter. Don’t use the utilities until you have an all-clear from the utility company or another professional inspector.
7. Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster
A public adjuster is a professional who can help you navigate the insurance claims process. They will work on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement from your insurance company. If you need help with your insurance company, consider hiring a public adjuster to help you.
8. Contact Your Suppliers and Customers
After a fire, provide updated contact information to police and fire departments, utility companies, employees, and vendors. It is essential to contact your suppliers and customers to let them know what has happened. This process will help you maintain relationships and ensure you can continue doing business with them.
9. Create a Business Continuity Plan
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of small or mid-sized businesses never reopen after a disaster. Every business needs a continuity plan to help it minimize losses and recover promptly after a fire or natural disaster. A business continuity plan is a document that outlines how your business will continue to operate in the event of a disaster. The plan should include a way to recover IT assets. Here are resources for developing a business continuity plan.
10. Seek Counseling
Experiencing a fire can be a traumatic experience. It is important to seek counseling to help you deal with the emotional impact of the fire. The American Red Cross provides free counseling and emotional recovery tips after a disaster.
Handling Office Fire Damage
Planning ahead helps your business survive a disaster like fire damage. Create a disaster plan and keep emergency numbers in your phone. After a fire, contact your insurance agent and a fire damage restoration company immediately to begin the restoration process.