A fire breaking out in your commercial property can be an inconvenience for any business owner. Unfortunately, if it does happen to your business, you will need to decide and act quickly so that you can keep the damage to your business – the physical establishment and your operations – to a minimum.
Another important concern is getting fire damage restoration started as soon as possible. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), about 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. There can be many reasons for the closure, like damaged equipment and inventory, lack of a proper venue for receiving customers, depleted working capital, etc. But for a business to have a higher chance of bouncing back, it needs to have a proper, safe venue where it can continue its operations. Getting the damaged building repaired and reconstructed, therefore, is crucial.
A long delay after a fire can harm a business’ profitability because it means there’s no revenue coming in. It’s understandable to want to safeguard your remaining assets, but in most cases, businesses want to continue their operations as soon as possible.
As such, businesses need to do two things soon after a fire: repair their base of operations and restart business as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to realize these goals:
Mobilize A Disaster Response Team
Ideally, companies have a disaster response plan that lays out the precise steps the organization should take in case a disaster strikes. This action plan would also include a team that would oversee the business premises, ensure the safety of the business’s assets (e.g., computers, data drives, on-site inventory, vehicles, equipment), get in touch with the employees, and contact their families, etc.
If you don’t have a disaster response team, you can assign trusted senior employees to take charge of specific responsibilities, such as:
- Collecting and safeguarding business documents and electronic information.
- Securing salvageable equipment and other physical assets.
- Securing the premises (e.g., calling for tarp-over and board-up services) and barricading the property from trespassers and scavengers.
- Asking for the fire department’s report about the cause of the fire.
- Getting clearance for entering the building and starting fire damage restoration.
- Checking up on all employees and ensuring that those injured receive medical attention.
- Looking for a temporary base of operations.
- Communicating with your insurance agent.
- Verifying the benefits you should receive based on your insurance policy.
Reassure Your Employees
Safeguarding the business’s physical and financial assets is crucial, but don’t forget to care for your employees, too, especially those who were present when the fire broke out. If anyone has been injured or taken emotional strain, make sure they receive the proper medical care and notify their families.
Anytime disaster strikes, employees need reassurance about the status of their jobs and whether the business can still reopen. At the very least, inform them about the management’s immediate plans and ask for everyone’s contact information so that you can provide updates and get in touch when it’s time to get back to work.
Strategize A Long-Term Business Recovery Plan
The aftermath of a fire is always challenging because there are many tasks to tackle, and all of them are urgent. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the responsibilities, and although it is easier said than done, you can power through by making a business recovery plan.
Meet with your management team and shareholders and devise a clear action plan for everybody. Of course, answering important questions also helps:
- Do you have unfulfilled orders? Can you still fulfill them?
- Can you continue providing products or services to current customers? How will you accomplish this?
- Are there contracts with customers or business partners you may have to terminate? How much will it cost you?
- Who will be in touch with the bank and insurance company?
- How are the employees doing? Is everyone accounted for, and what’s the update on the people who were injured, if any?
- How long can you keep employees on the payroll if you will operate in the red?
These are just some of the questions that may need answering. At the very least, everyone should be aware of the business’s next steps and goals so that all can align and move towards achieving those goals.
Reach Out to Your Customers, Suppliers, Investors, and Business Partners
Maintaining your relationships with customers and suppliers is crucial because they directly impact your ability to generate income. Be honest about what you can guarantee to your customers. If the fire has affected your ability to pay suppliers, propose a mutually beneficial alternative to your existing agreements. Protect your production and fulfillment as best you can so your business can continue generating profits.
Get in touch with your investors, too, and inform them of the financial damage to the business. Ask for their continued support and match it with a strong dedication to get the business back on track. Communication is key to ensuring that your business doesn’t lose operating capital during this recovery period.
Get Back to Business
If your team can keep your business running while working remotely, that can be a push in the right direction. Happy customers also tend to be supportive of businesses that are struck by disaster and will continue to buy or do business with you the moment you reopen. Maximize the support you will receive in the immediate aftermath towards keeping your cash flow running. This will help a lot in staying afloat.
Enlist the Services of A Fire Damage Company
Even if you restart your business in a new location, prioritize getting your property checked by an expert in fire damage restoration.
A fire damage company with experience repairing commercial buildings will be a significant help. They can identify and evaluate hazards, install safety structures to prevent structural collapse, and ensure worker safety. In addition, they know what parts of the building to give attention to, the types of repairs to prioritize, and whether a complete reconstruction would be more cost-effective than multiple repairs here and there.
Fire damage restoration specialists for commercial buildings also know about safety regulations, the health code, fire prevention code, and other construction requirements for commercial establishments. Hiring a fire damage company is strategic, so even if you eventually decide to relocate your business, you will still be able to sell or rent the reconstructed property for a good price.
Fire Damage Restoration for Commercial Clients in Kansas City
Businesses in Kansas City don’t have to look far and wide for a fire damage restoration company that provides complete reconstruction for commercial clients. Restoration 1 is an IICRC-certified, fully-insured restoration company that offers comprehensive services for commercial properties damaged by fire. Our certified technicians, with their years of experience and training, are some of the best in the city.
Contact Restoration 1 of Kansas City to get started.