Make sure your business is prepared for the next wildfire.
California is no stranger to wildfires. There have been many wildfires over the last year that have forced communities and families to evacuate their properties and move to a safe location. While there is not much you can do to prevent a wildfire from engulfing everything in its path, you can be ready for one. Wildfires can start in an instant, sometimes from the burning heat of the sun or the quick, careless flick of a cigarette. Check out these tips to help your business stay wildfire-ready.
Build Defensible Space
Make a safety zone around your business as this can help protect the people and property. Use low growth/low combustion plants near your building, create fire breaks around the property, and tidy up weeds and prune tree branches often. Keep debris and combustible material from accumulating on roofs, gutters, and around the structure, too.
Make a Plan
Yourself and your team should know exactly how to respond in the event of a wildfire. This can help to avoid confusion and prevent injuries. When building your evacuation plan include the following:
- Create a map with multiple evacuation routes
- Conditions that will activate the plan
- Emergency procedures and who will perform them
- Chain of command
- Evacuation routes and exits
- Equipment for personnel
- Review the plan with your employees
If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 911. Do not assume that someone else has called. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications.
Fire Weather Watch
A fire weather watch means that dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 72 hours. Stay up to date about the latest weather updates during this time, and follow any emergency instructions. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to and take the route to a safe location. Check in with your friends and family.
Returning to Your Business
You should only return to your business when authorities say it is safe. Even after the fire has been put out, there are still dangers in the form of electrical, structural, and air quality issues. When going back to your business after a fire, take extra caution when entering burned areas. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.
Contact Your Insurer
Contact your business insurance agent as soon as possible after the fire. Your agent will be able to assist you in filing a claim to recover your business so that you can get back up and running.