Despite our best efforts, fires happen. While we recommend commercial grade fire alarm services to help protect your business, even the best efforts of these systems can fail at times. Recently, the Maui, Canada and California were plagued by wildfires.
During one of California's wild fires, a Campfire, decimated the small town of Paradise, California. In less than 12 hours the entire town burned to the ground, leaving most of its 26k residents homeless. Two of those homes belonged to members of the Hartley family, who own Joy Lyn’s Candies. In this small town, Joy Lyn’s was an institution. Parents bought Christmas candies for their children from Joy Lyn’s, and those children grew to stuff their own children’s stockings with Joy Lyn’s candies. This small family business, along with the homes of two generations of candy makers, burned to the ground. The owners were only able to grab their recipe book, and two boxes of their precious chocolate.
Many of the businesses on the ridge were locally owned by retiree’s pursuing their golden year dreams. In Paradise, firefighters weren’t able to fight the fires that tore through the town. Their only job was the preservation of life while the citizens fled through tunnels of fire. In a devastating fire like the Campfire, very little could be done to save the businesses. In the aftermath of the Campfire there are lessons we can take away to reduce the loss other businesses could experience down the road.
1. Have a small business fire safety plan.
Your fire safety plan should include (but not be limited to) fire exits, external meeting points, fire protection systems, how your alarm system operates, and other important information about the building. A fire safety plan ensures that all of your employees are on the same page, and are familiar with safety procedures in the event of a fire.
2. Have a fire contingency plan.
In the event that your business is lost or damaged due to fire, having a fire contingency plan in place can help get you back up and running. Things that may be included on the fire contingency plan are keeping important documents in the cloud, extra hard copies of important files in a second location, having ready access to a list of your most valuable physical assets and important account and phone numbers for insurance purposes.
3. Have a fireproof safe.
In some instances, there is nothing left to indicate a home or business existed other than a driveway, but the few people who have been able to save goods from the fire did so from a fireproof safe. Nick Maes was able to recover the ring he was planning to propose to his girlfriend with, thanks to his fireproof safe.
The Campfire was a tragedy that was born of a perfect storm. Its devastation was unprecedented in California history. While we can hope and pray that the level of devastation experienced is never replicated, the fire itself has demonstrated the fragility of life. Fire protection needs to be any home or businesses first priority. California fires may not happen every day in every city, but unfortunately regular fires destroy thousands of homes and businesses each year in Atlanta, Georgia.
Installing and maintaining a fire alarm system will help prevent and notify authorities of a fire when it does happen. Stay safe Atlanta!