Experiencing a fire in your commercial property is never pleasant nor anticipated. When faced with the damage caused by a fire, it can be difficult to know where to start to get your commercial property back up and running again. Fortunately, acting swiftly and getting help from experienced fire damage restoration professionals can get you closer to bringing your commercial space back to its pre-damaged state.
Common Areas Where Fires Begin
The following are some of the most common areas where fires frequently occur/are started in commercial buildings:
Most fires in commercial and residential properties begin in the kitchen. Although many of these incidents happen in buildings with a restaurant, fires can also originate in other places with a kitchen. For example, it’s not uncommon for fires to occur in employee breakrooms where a malfunctioning appliance starts a minor fire incident that quickly evolves into something much bigger.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System
Commercial HVAC systems frequently cause fires in commercial buildings when they are improperly maintained or installed incorrectly, leading them to malfunction. Most HVAC fires originate from the buildup of dust, hair, and other small debris on system filters. This accumulation can cause HVAC systems to work harder and overheat, creating a fire risk. Additionally, these materials are flammable, which further increases the risk.
Commercial fires can originate from a buildup of small particles such as dust, hair, and other small debris on system filters. These are flammable materials and can easily catch fire. Additionally, this accumulation of debris in the filters causes the equipment to work harder, which can cause it to overheat and catch fire.
Electrical fires are relatively common in commercial buildings. These can be caused by any number of factors, from the improper use of extension cords to faulty wiring and improper equipment servicing.
Although smoking is no longer allowed in offices and common areas, many still have smoking areas right next to the building itself. These pose a significant fire risk due to lit cigarettes, matches, lighters, and other items, primarily when located near light materials.
Most fires in office spaces occur due to human error, such as overload sockets, using old or frayed power cords, or leaving papers on top of a heater. Using faulty office equipment or appliances can also pose a fire risk.
The combination of office and maintenance supplies stored improperly in building storage areas can be a significant source of fire risks. Most supplies in these storage areas can include flammable materials like cardboard or paper and maintenance supplies like flammable cleaners or paint.
When To Replace Fire Safety Equipment
The law requires all commercial buildings to have fire safety equipment in place in case of fire emergencies. These pieces of equipment need to be replaced regularly to ensure they’re at peak working condition in the event of a fire.
- Smoke Alarms. Smoke alarms have a life expectancy of 10 years from their date of manufacture and should be replaced at the end of that period. To know whether it’s time to change your smoke alarm, the manufacturing date of the device need to be inspected manually by removing it from the ceiling and looking at the date on the back. Put the detector back on the ceiling or wall if it’s less than 10 years old.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors must be inspected manually to determine how old they are. They need to be replaced when they are five to seven years old. Another telltale sign of when it needs to be replaced is an audible beeping sequence that activates every 30 seconds along with a flash of red LED.
- Fire Extinguishers. Fire extinguishers require regular inspection to ensure they’re always in good working condition. To know if it needs to be replaced, check the following:
- Pressure gauge: it should be in the green zone and not in the red
- Inspection sticker: no sticker means it hasn’t been inspected in a while and must be replaced
- Entire body: it should not have signs of wear and tear, such as a missing pin or a broken hose and nozzle
What to Do After a Fire
It can be devastating to discover that your commercial property has sustained considerable fire damage after a recent incident. While any reaction is valid in light of such an event, acting swiftly is the best way to restore your property quickly and bring back some semblance of normalcy in your life. Follow these tips below:
Get in Touch with a Professional to Help Restore and Mitigate Fire Damage
After the fire department has done its best to suppress the flames and the fire has been declared out, it’s time to call a professional fire and water restoration company. These professionals offer fire and water restoration services and can help you restore your property to its pre-loss condition.
But aside from water and fire damage restoration, they also offer damage mitigation services to help you secure the area and prevent further loss to your property. These services are invaluable to the insurance claims process as some insurance companies require their policyholders to implement measures that mitigate damage on the premises. These include such actions as shutting off the main breaker, tarping roof holes and placing security fencing around the area.
Notify Your Insurance Provider
Talk to your insurance provider and notify them about the incident. Your insurance company will then send a claims adjuster who will inspect the extent of the damage and verify your claim. They will request details of the incident from you, such as the date and time and a copy of the fire report provided by the fire marshall. Once your claim has been verified, they will provide a payment that can help you with fire damage restoration.
Assess and Document the Damage to Your Commercial Property
Take pictures and write down details of the damage to your property. This additional documentation is vital to assist your insurance claim. But as you go around your property, a mask must be worn at all times to protect against smoke and fumes.
Request an Arson Investigation
In fewer cases, some commercial property fires are intentional, so it’s standard procedure to request an arson investigation. If the investigation traces the fire to an individual, charges can be filed against the person to secure additional funds for property restoration.
Reliable Fire and Water Restoration Experts in Suffolk County
The aftermath of a fire is a stressful and traumatic event for anyone. Aside from the shock of seeing your property damaged by fire, you also have to deal with the lengthy process of repairing it. That means dealing with adjusters, insurance companies, and contractors to coordinate claims, have documents signed, and coordinate the repair process, which further adds to the stress.
Working with the right property restoration company can help make the process easier for you. Call Restoration 1 of Suffolk County for a seamless experience!