Fires can have devastating consequences for businesses, both in terms of property damage and human casualties. It’s hard to determine the true cost a fire has inflicted upon a business as there are many factors beyond simply repairing damages and replacing equipment. Depending on factors such as the severity of the fire and the type of business, the cost of a fire can be significant, both in terms of immediate expenses and long-term effects on the business’s operations.
Immediate costs of a business fire
The immediate costs of a business fire can be substantial, these can include:
- Damage to property & equipment: Whenever there is a fire it’s to be expected that there will be some damage to the property and perhaps some equipment, however depending on the location and severity of the fire it can be quite substantial. If the structure of the building is weakened then it could require special contractors resulting in further costs and more time before that building can be utilised. In terms of equipment it can range from minor replaceable items to key, expensive pieces of equipment required for many business operations.
- Interruptions to business operations: A fire within a business can cause anywhere from minor disruptions you are able to work around, to major interruptions that can potentially result in temporary or even permanent shut downs. Minor issues may not affect business operations, however more severe fire damage can lead to things such as reduced functionality, limited production, impacts on client services or worse cases, temporary to permanent closures.
- Impacted employees: whether there are injuries or not, employees within the business may be affected in various ways. If anyone sustained injuries from the fire or potentially from the smoke produced by the fire, then they may require time off until they have recovered and are able to return to work. On the other hand, if they weren’t injured but their work station/area of work was badly damaged then it would need to be decided what they will do either until such an area is repaired or if they might need assigning a new role if possible.
Long term effects of a business fire
Additionally, there can also be long-term effects to the business which can affect operations, these can include:
- Loss of reputation: If a business fire impacts its operations, it has the potential to affect client orders or services. Some clients may see this as the business being unreliable and may look elsewhere in the future. The same can also be said if the business had to close for any length of time due to damages, the client may end up looking elsewhere for any products or services.
- Loss of data: A large number of businesses store client/customer data for various reasons. If a business happened to not be using cloud storage or offsite backups and a fire destroyed where that data was being stored, this could have a huge impact to the business’ operations for its clients/customers. This could include a number of setbacks due to re-establishing connections and redoing work.
- Impact upon employees: Following a fire employees may have a lower morale from experiencing the event, this could affect how the business is run. Also, if employees were injured or if their work area was damaged they may be left unable to do their job which could lead to job losses.
Reducing the risk of a business fire
While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of a business fire, there are a number of options available to monitor and reduce potential risks whilst also minimising the damage if a fire were to occur. Here are a number of ways to reduce and manage fire risks:
- Fire detection and suppressive equipment: Ensuring you have sufficient fire detection and suppressive equipment in place and keeping everything in good working condition is not only a considerably important part of your fire safety but it is also a requirement under various regulations.
- Train staff on fire safety procedures: Keeping all members of staff trained and up to date on the usage of fire safety equipment and procedures in place in the event of a fire is key to limiting injuries and minor damages.
- Carry out frequent fire risk assessments: Carrying out regularly scheduled fire risk assessments is an effective way to identify potential fire risks and put actions in place to prevent them from occurring wherever possible.
We at JDP have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fire safety systems and procedures and can assist you with any installations, maintenance and safety procedures to ensure that you not only have sufficient fire safety systems in place but you are also compliant with any regulations. If you wish to know more see our Fire Systems page or contact us to find out how we can help you with your fire safety and more.