A fire at a commercial property can create devastating losses for the business owners, as well as uncertainty for employees and vendors. If your Houston business has been affected by a fire, the steps you take next can determine how quickly your business can recover and how much the incident will affect your bottom line. Here are the seven most important things to do after a fire:
The faster your insurance provider can respond to the fire, the faster your claim will be processed. The insurance company should be the first call after the first responders have released the building. They will inspect the damage and file a claim, resulting in funds that can help during the rebuilding process.
Fire, smoke, and water damage can be difficult to repair, and it takes the experience of a qualified restoration service to do it properly. Choose a company with IICRC certification, plenty of references, and all the equipment necessary for a successful restoration. Selecting the right restoration contractor can limit your repair costs, save more of your belongings, and return your business to pre-fire condition faster.
Although the insurance provider and restoration company will help you document the damage to your building and its contents, it is also important to document the damage thoroughly yourself. This includes taking a written inventory of all damaged items, as well as plenty of digital photographs and a video. Make sure to highlight structural damage, and damage to costly equipment like computers, office equipment, tools, appliances, HVAC systems, plumbing systems, machinery, merchandise, and important documents. This helps to verify the accuracy of insurance claims, repair estimates, and more.
Between the penetrating smoke odors, acidic soot particles, and the moisture left behind from fighting the fire, anything left in the building will be subject to ongoing damage long after the fire is out. It is important to remove any salvageable items and store them in a safe place until they can be cleaned, repaired, and returned to your building after it has been fully restored.
It is likely that your business will be closed temporarily, so It is important to notify employees, suppliers, vendors, and contractors of changes in your service needs and schedule. Keep everyone up to date on your expected return to business and make them aware of any changes to payment or payroll schedules. Keeping all parties informed will help them maintain confidence and ensure the reopening process goes as smoothly as possible.
It is a good idea to hire professional investigators to determine the cause of the fire, if only to learn how you can prevent such occurrences in the future. If, however, negligence or malice were involved, your insurance company and the local authorities will need to know that information, as well.
Equipment like fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, sensors, and wiring will often need to be replaced after a fire. Contact your fire protection service to make any necessary repairs and upgrade your fire protection systems based on the results of the various fire investigations.
When you need to install or upgrade the fire protection equipment in your commercial building, turn to our experts at Kauffman Co. We have been serving the Houston area for over 35 years.
Call (713) 893-1090 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today!
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