What to Do After a Fire in Your Business
In the United States alone, there are around 358,000 fires each year. This sounds scary, but the good news is that in most cases, there is enough of the original building left to be able to build back from, and the devastation, although terrible, won’t be as bad as if everything had been lost.
No matter what, there are some procedures you’ll need to bear in mind and work through if you want to get your office building back to how it was (or better) in a reasonable amount of time. Read on to find out more.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After an office fire, the first thing you should do is contact your insurance provider. This is critical since it sets the claims process in action. Your insurance agent should be aware of the possibility of hiring a specialist to help with the restoration, and if this is something you want, make sure you say so. Also, if you want to speed up the process, you should submit your complaint in writing.
Don’t be surprised if you find that you are subject to an interview with a claims adjuster. This doesn’t mean you won’t get the insurance money you need to put things right; it simply means that the insurance company is doing its due diligence.
Secure the Property
Once the structure is deemed safe enough to begin repairs, the following step is to board up any openings. A fire ruins a property’s doors and windows, increasing the danger of vandalism. You can use plywood to cover them to protect the structure from the weather and vermin.
Dry Things Out
A fire can cause stagnant water inside a building, resulting in considerable water damage. This might be due to damaged pipes or rain as well as any water used to douse the flames. Removing damp objects, including furniture, carpets, insulation, and drywall, aids in the prevention of mildew and mold. Tarp off any open roof parts to prevent future water damage. Commercial dehumidifiers and fans may also help to improve air circulation.
Soot has corrosive and acidic properties that harm property surfaces. The removal of burnt furniture, cabinets, and fixtures is part of the smoke damage cleaning process and should be done as soon as possible. You can then start cleaning surfaces using a mix of vinegar, borax, dishwashing soap, and water. This mixture aids in the removal of any lingering smoke odors inside the building and will stop any further damage from occurring.
Make the Fixes
Once all the unsalvageable items have been removed from the property, you’ll need to start making the repairs. It might be just one room that is damaged, and the structure of the building remains sound. In this case, you can call in a decorator to make things good, and you may need to purchase new furniture that was ruined. If the damage is more widespread, you’ll need to consult with a builder and maybe even an architect so that the structure can be fixed.
In either case, this is the perfect time to add any missing safety elements that would help if there was another fire. This could include having fire blankets and extinguishers, smoke alarms, and creating fire doors by using door gap fillers. Ideally, none of these items will ever have to be used, but it’s far better to have them in place than to not have them at all, just in case.