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How Fires Affect Businesses: Costs and Consequences

How Fires Affect Businesses: Costs and Consequences

Posted 6/25/2023

Alt Title:  Exploring the Full Impact of Fires on Businesses


As a business owner, you have to constantly think about the various risks that you face. This includes basic things like fire prevention. But when was the last time you gave serious thought to this all-important threat? Maybe now’s a good time to lean in.


The Full Impact of a Fire on Your Business


Most business owners and managers don’t give fire prevention and suppression strategies enough thought. It’s easy to think it’ll never happen to you. However, thousands of businesses experience damaging fires every year, and not a single one ever thought it would happen to them.


Understanding that every business is unique faces different circumstances, here are several of the direct and indirect costs associated with fires:


Repair and Reconstruction Costs


One of the most immediate direct costs of a fire is the cost of repairing or rebuilding the damaged property. This can include both the cost of repairing any structural damage as well as the cost of replacing any damaged equipment and machinery. 


The extent of these costs will depend on the severity of the fire and the type of building or property involved. If you’re just looking for round numbers to understand the threat, here’s a look at the average property damage from fire for different business types:


  • Warehouse: $128,099
  • Religious properties: $62,360
  • Merchant and retail stores: $44,509
  • Office properties: $33,532
  • Restaurants and bars: $32,199
  • Industrial manufacturing plants: $27,027
  • Schools: $17,255
  • Health care facilities: $8,333


The true cost is obviously dependent on the amount of damage, material costs at the time of replacement, financing costs, insurance coverage, and other factors. But as you can see, it’s never cheap.


Loss of Inventory and Equipment


Another direct cost of a fire is the loss of inventory and equipment. This can include everything from raw materials to finished products, as well as specialized machinery and tools. 


The value of these losses can vary widely depending on the type of business and the extent of the damage. 


For example, a small fire in a retail store may only result in the loss of a few products, while a major fire in a manufacturing facility could result in the loss of millions of dollars worth of inventory and equipment.


Interruption of Business Operations


A fire can also cause significant disruption to a business's operations. This can include everything from temporary shutdowns to extended closures as the company works to repair and rebuild. During this time, the business may lose valuable customers and sales, as well as incur additional costs for temporary housing, equipment rental, and alternative production methods. 


The duration and extent of these disruptions will depend on the severity of the fire and the speed with which the business can recover. In some cases, businesses may be able to continue operating while only shutting down part of the building. 


In other cases, the entire building may have to be shut down. (And depending on whether or not operations can continue virtually/remotely, it’s possible that a month’s long stoppage could put the company’s future at risk.)


Loss of Customers


In addition to the direct costs of a fire, businesses may also incur indirect costs such as the loss of customers. This can occur as a result of both the physical damage to the property and the disruption of business operations. 


Customers may choose to do business with competitors during this time, making it difficult for the company to recover its customer base once it has re-opened. This can lead to long-term financial losses and can make it difficult for the business to bounce back from the fire. (In certain situations, this cost can actually be more detrimental than the initial repair and restoration expenses.)


Reputational Damage


While they say all publicity is good publicity, this isn’t necessarily true. When a fire occurs, there’s plenty of negative publicity. This is especially true when it’s supposed to be a safe place, like a school, hotel, dog boarder, or health care facility. 


Too much negative exposure in the media can discourage potential customers from doing business with the company in the future. This can result in a significant drop in revenue for the business, making it difficult to recover from the financial losses caused by the fire.


How to Prevent a Fire From Sinking Your Business


Fire is powerful and can’t always be prevented. However, you have far more control than you might think. And with the proper approach, you can significantly reduce the risk of a fire sinking your business. 


Here are some steps to take:


  1. Invest in the Right Suppression Systems


Advanced fire suppression systems can make sure fires (a) stay in an isolated area, and (b) are quickly extinguished. Traditionally, the only fire suppression solutions have been expensive, messy, and complicated water-based sprinkler systems. 


Today, there are an array of options, including systems from Cease Fire that require no plumbing, wires, or destructive installation processes. Whether you’re located in an urban office space or a rural warehouse, there are plenty of effective options. 


  1. Train and Educate Your Team


Fire suppression systems are designed to kick in when there’s a fire present. Obviously, it’s better to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. 


Thorough and regular training/education helps you protect your business and lessen the risk of fires occurring. This is especially important in industrial environments and/or businesses where there’s heavy machinery or heat equipment involved. 


  1. Regularly Inspect and Maintain


Finally, don’t forget to regularly inspect and maintain your premises to ensure there’s minimal fire threat. This includes equipment, building utilities, and fire suppression systems. You should also learn to proactively identify fire threats and hazards. (For example, cooking equipment in commercial kitchens is a major cause of fires.)


Keep Your Business Safe With Cease Fire


At Cease Fire, we understand that fires happen. Our goal is to help businesses respond as quickly as possible by suppressing fires at the source so that they don’t cause extensive damage to buildings, properties, or other assets. 


Want to learn more about our patented solutions? Let’s chat.