Recent Commercial Posts

HOW TO CREATE A FIRE EVACUATION PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS

7/19/2019 (Permalink)

When a fire threatens your employees and business, chaos and confusion can reign.

Construction fires often move so quickly that workers are forced to do what they can to survive. When an office tower in Sydney, Australia caught fire earlier this year, construction workers on scaffolding had to scramble to safety when the exterior of the building was transformed into a wall of flames.

Wildfires can also be a threat if they jump containment efforts or change direction. Damage to physical structures can run into the millions.

While fires themselves are dangerous enough, the threat can be compounded by panic and chaos if your company is unprepared. The best way to prevent this from happening is to have a detailed and rehearsed fire evacuation plan.

Here is our 7-step plan to help guide you through creating a fire evacuation plan for your business:

  1. Imagine Various Scenarios

When planning your business fire evacuation plan, start with some basic questions to explore the primary threats your business may face in the case of a fire.

Where might fires break out?

The National Fire Protection Association points out that during the five-year period from 2007-2011, an average of 3,340 fires occurred in office properties per year. Most of those fires were caused by cooking equipment, intentional acts, and electrical malfunctions. A later analysis by the U.S. Fire Administration confirmed that cooking was the leading cause of nonresidential building fires for the past 10 years.

How and why would they start?

Take some time to brainstorm reasons a fire would threaten your business. Do you have a kitchen in your office? Are people using portable space heaters or personal fridges? Do wildfires threaten your location(s) each summer? Make sure you understand the threats and how they might find their way to your business.

Since cooking fires are at the top of the list for office properties, put “house rules” in place about microwaving and other office kitchen appliances. Forbid hot plates, in-office microwaves, and other cooking appliances.

What if “X” happens?

Make “X” business specific, such as “What if we are evacuated by authorities and we have fifteen refrigerated trucks loaded with our weekly ice cream deliveries?” “What if we have to abandon our headquarters with very little notice?” It’s a good idea to have a list of “What if X happens” questions and your answers. Thinking through different scenarios moves a fire from something no one imagines into the collective consciousness of your business.

  1. Establish roles and responsibilities

When a fire emerges and your business must evacuate, employees will look to their leaders for reassurance and guidance. Create a clear chain of command that states who has the authority to order an evacuation.

Here are the main roles you should consider creating as part of your fire evacuation plan:

Chief fire warden. This employee has overall responsibility for a fire event, including planning and preparation.

Assistant fire warden. This person should use the mass alert system to alert employees, call the fire department, and gather reports.

Route guides. Route guides play an important role in making sure that routes are clear and evacuation is orderly and calm.

Fire extinguishers. Some people want to “fight the fire” with a portable fire extinguisher. You never want to fight a fire that has left its source of origin. If you can’t bring a fire under control in 30 seconds, then stop, close the door, and escape to safety.

Floor monitors. The floor monitor is the last person out after making sure the area is clear.

  1. Create a communication plan

During a fire drill, designate someone (like the assistant fire warden) whose primary job is to disseminate information to employees, customers, news media, and where applicable, other entities such as the community, organizational management, suppliers, transportation partners and government officials.

This person should be carefully selected. They need to be reliable, present, and able to react quickly. They may have to work out of an alternate office if the primary office is affected by fire (or the threat of fire). You should also train a back-up as this is a critical position.

Once you have identified this critical role, you need to provide them with a redundant, multi-channel communication system. Reacting to a fire can be very chaotic. People may not have access to their normal channels of communication, they may forget to check, and networks could fail. Being able to communicate through email, phone, text, and mobile app will ensure your communication gets the broadest distribution possible. An intuitive tool like AlertMedia makes this seamless.

Once that tool is in place, your communications team will need to let the appropriate stakeholders know how the situation impacts the business, what actions they should take, next steps and more.

  1. Plan and map routes

A good fire evacuation plan for your business will include primary and secondary escape routes. Clear signs should mark all the exit routes. For large offices, make multiple maps and post them so employees know the evacuation routes.

Once your people are out of the building, where do they go?

Designate an assembly area for employees to gather. The assistant fire warden should be at the assembly area collecting a head count and providing updates. If the fire warden is using AlertMedia to communicate he/she can use the survey feature to quickly determine who is safe and who is still unaccounted for.

Make sure the escape routes and the assembly area can accommodate the expected number of employees who will be evacuating.

  1. Know your tools and inspect them

When was the last time you inspected those dusty office fire extinguishers? We thought so.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends refilling reusable fire extinguishers every 10 years and replace disposable ones every 12 years.

While you’re at it, make sure you have up-to-date and operable:
? Fire alarms
? Emergency lighting
? Fire doors (if applicable)
? Escape ladders (if applicable)

  1. Rehearse fire evacuation

If you have children in school, you know that they practice “fire drills” often, sometimes monthly.

Why?

Because regular rehearsals minimize confusion and show the kids through repetition how the fire drill should work. A safe outcome is more likely to occur with calm students who know what to do in the event of a fire.

Adults should do the same!

Key fire evacuation leaders should meet quarterly and plan for an annual or semi-annual full rehearsal of the company fire evacuation plan. Here is a detailed guide on how to conduct a fire drill at work.

For bonus points make a mini-fire evacuation drill part of a new employee’s onboarding process.

  1. Follow-up and reporting

Your company’s leadership needs to be communicating and tracking progress in real-time. Fires move quickly, and seconds could make a difference.

Surveys are an easy way to get status updates from your employees. The assistant fire marshal can simply send out a survey asking for a status update and monitor responses in real time to see who’s safe. Most importantly, the assistant fire marshal can see who hasn’t responded, and direct resources to assist those in need.

The biggest challenge you will face is getting reports from people who aren’t in the office. There’s inevitably going to be someone out sick or on vacation. These people obviously won’t be at the rally point so you may start to wonder whether they made it out of the office safely. Make sure you include response options such as “I’m not in the office today” in your surveys to account for this and clarify everyone’s situation.

* Courtesy of https://www.alertmedia.com/blog/fire-evacuation-plan-for-your-business/

Should Your Employees Be Certified in First Aid and CPR?

7/19/2019 (Permalink)

No one wants to imagine a medical emergency in the workplace, but unfortunately they do happen. Being prepared means more than having an office first-aid kit on hand — it means having designated employees who are trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations.

Training employees on what to do in an emergency can mean all the difference if the worst happens. Even short of such crises, emergency-response training comes with other advantages, from increased employee engagement to compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requirements.

Providing first-aid training and the opportunity to become certified in CPR are ways of engaging your employees and showing that you take their health and well-being seriously.

While that display of dedication may be able to improve employee satisfaction with your organization, it can also help build camaraderie and morale. The New York Times reports that CPR courses at financial firms have led to higher levels of trust, better working relationships and reduced stress among employees.

It’s also a skill your employees can take with them, whether home to their families or into their communities.

* Courtesy of https://thebenefitsguide.com/should-your-employees-be-certified-in-first-aid-and-cpr/

Commercial Sewage Damage

3/24/2019 (Permalink)

Floods, sewage backups, and other contaminated water can cause some of the worst damage to your commercial property. Contaminated water is often filled with deadly substances including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This can be compounded by the composition of your commercial building. Organic materials such as drywall, wood, and debris found in carpet is prime breeding ground for pathogens and other bacteria and parasites to grow. The health risk to you and your employees is greatly increased when exposure to flood waters, sewage, and other types of contaminated water.

SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties will dry the commercial building quickly and apply antimicrobial agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water to help make sure that they can eliminate any lingering contaminants. This can help ensure you and your employees that they can return to a safe working environment. If your commercial building is in need of water damage cleanup and repair, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties at 770-505-0555. We are available 24/7 to help you get your business back “Like it never even happened.”

Commercial Water Damage

3/24/2019 (Permalink)

Many commercial business owners in the greater Douglasville area know that moisture is often the enemy especially when it can shut your business down. With an average of 50% of businesses not reopening following a major disaster, SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties can help make sure your business isn't one of them.

Water can penetrate into any space and take advantage of even the smallest crack, causing damage to the structure. How it enters the building is irrelevant; the response should be the same. Calling in a professional commercial water damage specialist can help ensure there are no lingering health threats to you or your employees once the water damage has been eliminated. 

SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties is your local professional for all your commercial water damage needs. Call us today – 770-505-0555.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Damage Event

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at  commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties

SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Faster to Any Size Disaster: Cleaning After a Commercial Fire

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results—including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties will be on-site to help ensure a fire damage is handled by utilizing the following services.

Structural Cleaning

After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. The experienced professionals at SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.

Contents Cleaning

All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, and much more. Finally, SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.

Deodorization

SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties provides specialized services that rid your insured’s place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties does not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.