California is no stranger to wildfires. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildfires in California destroyed 703 commercial/mixed residential structures disrupting businesses and perhaps halting operations altogether.
Have you taken any measures to safeguard your California business? A wildfire can damage your business structures in three ways:
- Burning Embers: Wind-blown embers typically cause most building ignitions. A wildfire creates embers when it burns combustible items such as landscaping vegetation and structural fuels.
- Radiant Heat: Fire creates radiant heat that can ignite combustible materials when a fire is hot enough and has enough time to cause the ignition. Additionally, exposure to lower levels of radiant heat can preheat materials and make it easier for them to catch fire from a direct flame.
- Direct Flame Contact: Direct flame contact refers to actual flames from the wildfire coming into contact with buildings or combustible items attached to or near the business.
Don't forget about your business income which could be affected if you have damages to your products, stock or equipment.
So, what should you do during a wildfire, and how can you protect your business’s assets if they are damaged or destroyed? Mercury Insurance wants to help you safeguard your livelihood.
How to Prevent Wildfires
The best way to stop a wildfire is to prevent it from occurring. Help keep your business wildfire-proof by:
- Clearing natural debris such as dead vegetation from roofs, gutters and decks.
- Closing off all vents in attics and crawl spaces or shielding them with mesh screens to keep burning embers from blowing into your commercial structure.
- Never parking commercial vehicles on dry vegetation and cleaning up any spilled gas or motor oil.
- Removing any combustible materials from underneath decks and porches.
What to Do During a Wildfire
Business owners have a responsibility to ensure their property is ready for wildfire season. The West Coast, especially California, should expect an above average wildfire frequency in 2019, according to NIFC. In the event a wildfire does approach your business, protect it and your employees by:
- Listening carefully to news alerts and public service announcements for air quality reports and wildfire updates on television, radio or smartphones.
- Following your company wildfire response plan and holding practice drills to make sure your staff knows evacuation routes and safe places to go.
- Propping a ladder on the side of the building to give firefighters access to the roof.
- Turning on water hoses and filling containers with water.
- Removing any combustible materials from the area surrounding the property.
- Turning a light on in each room of the office for visibility in the event of smoke.
- Closing all doors and windows, but not locking them.
- Moving upholstered office furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.
- Turning off the air conditioning system.
Commercial Property Insurance/Wildfire Insurance
Every business owner faces a different set of challenges and risks when it comes to wildfires. That’s why Mercury Insurance provides coverage options that can help almost any company. A commercial property insurance policy or business owners policy (BOP) can protect your assets and provide liability coverage if one of your employees gets injured on the job.
Having an insurance company that provides effective customer support and speedy claim resolution after a wildfire can help you get back to business sooner.