The last thing any proud business owner wants is to learn that their pride and joy burst into flames. But it’s more common than you’d think—over 100,000 commercial fires occur each year.
These disasters are devastating and can wipe out years of hard work in mere seconds. But that doesn’t mean you need to restart your business from ground zero. By following these four crucial steps to take after a commercial fire, you can get your business back on track.
Get in Touch With Cleaning and Restoration Companies
Depending on the extent of the fire, your business will need different levels of restoration. For a small fire, you may only need to clean the interior of your building and replace a handful of items, states Barry White, Owner of Home Damage Response, a home damage restoration company based in Florida. But if your business was the victim of a larger fire, you may need to rebuild it partially or even completely from the ground up. Experienced cleaning and restoration companies can help guide you through the cleaning and rebuilding process.
Talk to the Experts
Your insurance company will handle your claim, but it doesn’t hurt to collect your own documentation while you wait for them to work their magic. In fact, being proactive can help your insurance company work faster so you can get reimbursed and start rebuilding as soon as possible. Procure a fire report from the first responders on the scene, check current building codes to ensure your building was up to code, and hire engineers and architects to assess the damage and provide you with an estimate on repairs. Once you have this information, give it to your insurance company so they can look it over.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The next crucial step to take after a commercial fire is to contact your insurance company. You don’t need to contact them immediately after the incident, but since most insurance companies impose a time limit for you to make a claim, ensure you contact them within a reasonable time frame. You’ll need to provide your insurance company with the date and time of the fire, a fire report, and a cost estimate on damage and repairs, among other crucial pieces of documentation. Commercial fire insurance often covers most, if not all the damage incurred to the property and contents of a building as a result of a fire.
Get a Fire Investigation
If you’re not sure what caused the fire, it’s crucial to get a fire investigation. The first responder’s preliminary investigation will occasionally include a suspected source, but when the source of the blaze isn’t immediately obvious, you’ll need a professional fire forensics team to dig deeper. A fire investigation will unearth the root cause of the fire so you can prevent future damage to your commercial property.