Builders and regulatory bodies in charge of fire safety have greatly improved construction techniques and materials to reduce fire risks in commercial and public buildings. Unfortunately, however, fire remains a common occurrence.
The Insurance Information Institute and National Fire Protection Association estimated that in 2020 alone, a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds in the US. If a commercial property catches fire, property owners and tenants must act quickly to address the commercial fire damage, limit their losses, and get back on their feet as soon as possible.
Things to Do Immediately After Commercial Fire Damage
Get in touch with insurers.
Your insurance company will need to assess your property’s damage and be on-site as soon as possible. They will send an insurance adjuster to inspect your property, and their assessment will impact your insurance claim. To ensure that they get an accurate picture of the damage, call your insurance company before touching or moving anything in the rubble.
Ensure that the electrical and water mains are turned off throughout your property.
Even if the fire has only damaged a section of your building, check that all electricity and water sources are shut off, at least temporarily. This is to prevent accidental electrocutions and short-circuits while authorities and insurance adjusters investigate the cause of the fire.
Document the damage to your business and property.
Take videos and pictures of the damage for insurance documentation. It is a necessity if it becomes necessary to clean up the rubble for safety reasons before the insurance adjuster arrives. Be as thorough as you can in documenting the damage to the structure and other valuable properties like equipment and artwork covered by your policy.
Protect your property from further damage and trespassers.
Investigations and inspections can take several days, during which you’ll need to ensure that your property stays untouched. You don’t want to accidentally destroy evidence that will impact your insurance claim, among other things.
Seek out commercial property fire damage restoration companies that provide board-up and tarp-over services. They will cover up broken windows and damaged walls and put up temporary partitions to keep the public from entering the premises. These will also deter trespassers from entering or looting your property.
Commercial Property Fire Damage Restoration Tips
After settling matters with the fire department, police, and insurance company, you must focus on rebuilding and restoring your commercial property. This is crucial for reopening your business. Bouncing back as early as possible is vital because the longer you delay, the more difficult it will be to make your business return again.
Here are some checklist items to prioritize in fire damage restoration:
Sort what you can save from the rubble.
Collect salvageable items and equipment that you can still use when you reopen. They may include undamaged materials you can repurpose for other projects, such as stained glass and wrought iron filigree.
Start the cleanup and soot removal process.
Repairs and restoration start with removing all damaged materials and taking down parts of the building that have become unstable and structurally unsound. Entrust the demolition to experienced builders. In the meantime, you can authorize the cleanup of loose debris, soot, broken concrete, burnt plywood, charred furniture, and other damaged materials.
Address smoke odor.
If the fire is minor and your building is still structurally sound, smoke damage could be your biggest problem. This problem is particularly challenging because the strong odor permeates rooms and sticks to curtains, furniture, carpets, and more.
Removing all fire debris, including microscopic particles and soot, is key to mitigating smoke odors. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to do this using ordinary cleaning materials, so it would be best to hire smoke damage restoration professionals to do the job.
Eliminate residual water.
Water damage is inevitable and goes hand-in-hand with fire and smoke damage. If your property still stands and your restoration plan includes preserving the undamaged structure, eliminating all residual moisture in the building has to be a priority. Otherwise, you might have to deal with mold infestation before the restoration work is done.
Call the Experts in Austin Commercial Fire Damage Restoration
Recovering after a fire is never easy, but you can have peace of mind if you have an experienced team of fire damage specialists and builders helping your business bounce back.
Restoration 1 is a trusted fire, smoke, and water damage restoration company in Austin, Texas. The company is an all-rounder for property restoration with highly-trained crews and certified professionals specializing in damage mitigation, cleanup, and construction. Restoration 1 of Austin can provide all the services business owners need to protect and restore their property after a fire.
Get in touch with the best Austin commercial fire damage restoration team you can dream of hiring. Contact Restoration 1 today.