Running a business is tough at the best of times. Every business owner faces trouble from any number of sources, be they economic, social, or internal, and must always be ready to deal with them instantly. One such tragedy business owners may face at their commercial properties is fire damage.
Many businesses fail after a fire. A U.S. Fire Administration Study found that nonresidential or commercial fires accounted for $2.8 Billion in property loss from 2017 to 2019. That makes fire one of the most devastating things to happen. And when a business closes after a blaze, it is unlikely to start operating again if it does not reopen within ten days.
Therefore, you must have a solid plan to deal with the possibility of fire damage at your commercial property. The best way to prepare for fire damage is to know how the restoration process works.
Common Causes of Commercial Fires
The most efficient way to handle catastrophic fires in any business is to prevent them from happening. The best offense is a good defense, as they say. As such, here are some of the more common causes of fires that you should keep in mind when running your business:
- Cooking equipment – Stoves, ovens, and fryers used improperly or not cared for correctly
- Heating systems – Furnaces, boilers, and radiators risk leaks or overheating due to improper maintenance or seasonal care
- Electrical and lighting equipment – Indoor lighting systems or electronic devices such as computers and machines
- Intentional fires – Any fire caused by deliberately misusing a heat source is considered “intentional.” Roughly 10% of office fires result from intentional causes.
In all these cases, the common thread that leads to fire is misuse or lack of care. Regardless of the equipment in your business, always ensure that it is well-maintained and used within safe parameters. Something as small as a frayed plug is enough to cause thousands of dollars worth of Damage.
The Effects of Fire Damage
The effects of a fire on any property are devastating. It stands to reason that fire is destructive, reducing anything it consumes to ashes and charcoal, but this is not the full extent of it. Fire damage also results in:
- Soot – Soot is the chemical by-product of burned material. It consists primarily of black flakes or carbon powder and will get everywhere during a fire. Not only does soot coat the walls and ceilings of a burned building, but it can become a sludge when combined with water. Often this means that any surface sprayed during the attempt to control the fire will become stained and blackened. The soot may also be hazardous to human health or caustic, depending on what is burned in the fire.
- Residual Water – Extensive residual water will be left over after extinguishing a fire. This water will cause damage to any remaining equipment or stock and must be removed safely before restoration can begin.
- Smoke Damage and Odors – Smoke from the fire will seep into wooden, plaster, or carpeted surfaces, staining in unpleasant black or brown colors. These stains often come with a hard-to-remove unpleasant odor as well.
The Process of Fire Damage Restoration
The first step for any business owner who faces a fire is to call their insurance provider (after the fire is out, of course). Once insurance has logged the event, they’ll be able to find a good fire damage restoration company. Due to the task size, cleaning up after a fire is not something you should not attempt without professional assistance.
A restoration team will come to the premises and perform the following steps:
1. Prepare the Damaged Area
First, the team will need to secure the premises. This involves boarding and blocking off the damaged rooms and areas to prevent anyone from entering them until you complete the restoration. At this point, the air inside is still potentially dangerous, and surfaces will be weakened where damaged. Once the area is safe, the team will begin their assessment.
2. Assess the Damage
A professional inspector in the team will systematically go through the premises, inventorying what is damaged and what can be saved. Any items of furniture or equipment that the restoration team can salvage will be noted for removal. Then, they’ll inspect the rest of the Damage and devise a detailed restoration plan to get your property back in shape.
3. Remove Residual Water
Due to onsite sprinkler systems or fire department attempts to quench the fire, there will be a lot of standing water left. This water will be swept or pumped out and removed as thoroughly as possible from all surfaces. If it is left, it will begin to cause further problems through water damage, mold, or mildew. The area will then be left to dry before the team moves on to the next step.
4. Remove Soot and Smoke
Every surface will be scrubbed clean of soot and cleaned of smoke damage. Soot is both unpleasant to the eye and comes with a disagreeable odor. Worse still, it has a carcinogenic effect on anyone who breathes it in, so it’s essential to clean it thoroughly. Smoke will leave dark marks and stains on ceilings and walls that must be removed.
5. Clean Up Contaminated Items
Fire restoration specialists will dispose of all the damaged and contaminated items and furniture. Some that suffer only surface or minimal Damage can still be salvaged and restored.
6. Restore and Repair Damage
Finally, it’s time to repair the structure of the building: walls and floors need to be repaired and strengthened, and windows and doors replaced. This will be the most costly part of the process, leaving the building ready to be reoccupied and reopened for business.
Commercial fires are costly disasters, both financially and in terms of time. If not handled quickly and efficiently by a professional, it is too easy for a business to collapse under the effects of a fire. The good news is our Utah fire restoration team can help bring your business back to full service within weeks.