What To Do Following A Fire At Your Business

Having a fire destroy your business is one of the most devastating things you may ever go through. After all that work turning a simple idea into a functioning, profitable business, you’re left to witness it all literally going up in flames. Such a massive disaster may feel like the end of your life’s work, but that’s not necessarily true. Here’s a plan of action immediately following a fire at your business.

Image: Wikimedia

It may sound a little cold, but the first thing to do following a fire at your business is to determine the responsible party. The road to recovery is going to involve a lot of legalese, and determining who’s fault the fire was is an essential step to coming out on top. There’ll be several different factors to determining which party was responsible. Whether you lease or own the building, the precise cause of the fire, and your amount of insurance coverage can all come into play. If you’re reading this as a preparatory measure, then it may be time to take out your insurance on the building and give it a once-over. Some insurance policies only cover the contents of the premises, and not the actual building materials in the structure.

The next step you need to take is contacting any parties that will be affected by the fire. This needs to happen as soon as possible, and certainly won’t be a quick, straightforward task. Your board members, employees, suppliers, investors, and possibly your customers will all need to be notified about the disaster. If there are any services or activities that will need to be suspended (there probably will be!) then you also need to think about all the people who will be affected by this. Naturally, I saved the worst until last; your insurance company. Contact an agent at your insurer as soon as possible, and find how you need to proceed. A simple call is usually enough. However, if the claim is particularly large you may need to have a consultation in-person, or even an inspection of the property.

Image: Wikimedia

The next task is the longest, but may well be the most satisfying; repairing and restoring the premises. If the structure hasn’t totally collapsed, there are many services like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba which are specifically for restoring commercial property back to its original state after a disaster. Another big part of the recovery is going to be securing your sensitive or critical data. If you’re lucky, all your hardware will be left unscathed and you’ll be able to start using data just like you always did. However, if there are any damaged servers and hard drives, then recovering the data that was lost can be a pretty big job. Again, there are third parties like Assured Data Recovery which can help with getting your files back in the wake of a fire.

I sincerely hope that you never have to use this information! If you’re having to right now, remember that you’re not the first, and there’s usually a way to recover what you’ve lost.

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