Outdated fire sprinkler systems, a bad fire alarm, a cigarette that’s accidentally dropped on a carpet and forgotten, or a single overloaded electrical circuit can be all it takes to send a business up in flames. While you may have insurance, the disruption to your business can be essentially impossible to correct. Statistics show that when fires occur at businesses, three out of four times, they do not last longer than 36 months.

The first week of October was Fire Prevention Week for businesses. It’s an excellent time to step back and take stock of your level of preparedness.

Your first step should always be to comply with the law

Fire safety preparedness for businesses should basically aim to answer every legal requirement. This can be a complex matter. You need to concern yourself with occupancy ratings, fire extinguishers, exit signs, ventilation, access clearances, fire lanes, self-closing door mechanisms, fire alarms and sprinkler systems — all important parts of standard fire safety inspections.

It’s best to hire professionals

Calling in a site security advisor can be a sound investment. Professional fire safety advisors are able to take charge of legal fire safety requirements as well as more in-depth needs:

Electrical safety: An advisor will periodically send in qualified electricians to ensure safe electrical practices. Their inspections look for possibilities such as overloaded electrical circuits, circuit breakers in poor shape, frayed wires or cables, high-intensity lighting that is too close to flammable substances, and fire security cameras that aren’t correctly used.

Employee training: While schools train teachers and students through fire safety drills, small businesses neglect such practices. Not only do fire safety advisors ensure that employees are adequately trained, they make sure that specific people are placed in charge of taking responsibility in the event of a fire.

These practices cannot be of much use unless every employee is aware of them. A fire safety professional can help in the creation of a fire safety manual for the business.

Preparing for the aftermath of a fire

Fires in buildings leave behind hundreds of toxic chemicals. It takes a professional commercial fire damage restoration company to thoroughly deal with the cleanup, and effectively test for lingering effects and suitability for resumption of use.

It’s important to find a business that offers 24-hour emergency response teams that are able to come in quickly, record evidence for insurance work, and clean up through the use of crews certified in the cleanup of smoke residue, lead-based paint, asbestos and so on. As destructive as a fire can be, it is often the aftermath that does even more harm. Preparing to face it in a professional way helps.