Over the years, a number of fire safety measures have been taken in commercial buildings, such as fire stairwells and overhead sprinklers, and they have gone a long way to reducing the number of injuries and deaths from fires during that time. Despite those measures, there are still a lot of instances of poor building management, noncompliance with fire codes and potentially hazardous work practices, all of which continue to place lives and property at risk whenever commercial fires happen.
There are many causes of fires in commercial buildings and when a business incurs fire damage, it can be a major loss that is very difficult to recover from. For example, under dry conditions, which are common in Texas, a combination of lightning strikes and high winds has the potential to put any business in jeopardy and cause significant property damage. Of course, wildfires aren’t the only threat to commercial buildings; some of the most devastating causes of such fires have nothing to do with Mother Nature, including the following:
- Adjacent Building Fires – Many businesses are located in crowded business districts, or in places like strip malls, where commercial buildings are often either connected to each other or built in very close proximity. This is convenient for customers or clients, but there’s a downside; even if your business is meticulous in preventing fire from devastating your business, another business may not be. If one building catches fire, others in close proximity are also in danger.
- Kitchen Fires – In many business districts, restaurants are interspersed with all other businesses; again, it’s convenient for customers and clients, but all restaurants and some other businesses contain kitchens, which is one of the most common causes of commercial fires. This shouldn’t be surprising, since all kitchens feature stoves and ovens with open flames, high heat and flammable materials such as gas, oil and grease.
- Electrical Fires – Electrical issues are undoubtedly one of the most devastating causes of commercial building fires. All it may take is one small short in the wrong place to devastate your business and those around it. It is very important to conduct regular inspections and keep all buildings up to code and to fix any reported problems immediately.
- Arson – Unfortunately, this is still an all-too-common cause of commercial building fires, and the devastation caused can be enormous. Often, the arsonist is connected to someone leasing the space, although such actions are often committed by people for what seems to be no reason.
How You Can Be Prepared
It is a fact that no commercial property is immune to fire, which is why it is always a good idea for all business owners to carry business interruption insurance to cover their losses should such a thing happen. In addition, businesses should have policies and processes in place that are designed to prevent fire damage. In addition to simple things, such as making regular checks of smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly, making sure all machinery is in good working order and that they are shut down when no one is there, and avoid storing flammable materials inside the building, they should also be sure to create, implement and practice an evacuation plan in case of fire, and to make sure all critical documents are kept in a fireproof safe or off-site completely.
If the unthinkable happens and your business suffers fire damage and you need to make an insurance claim, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable Texas Commercial Insurance Attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates to help you out. Fire damage claims in Texas can be complicated, and insurance carriers will always try to get out of paying anything or pay as little as possible, and speaking to us with a free consultation can answer a lot of questions and better explain the process and the possible value of your claim.