Fire Prevention

Fire Prevention
Posted on October 24, 2012 in ReStores

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As an active member of your community, you know how important maintaining a safe work environment is to the safety and well-being of your customers, employees and volunteers. But no matter how smoothly and safely you intend for your ReStore operation to run, the risk of an accident occurring is always present. The Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Risk Services, is continuously seeking to educate ReStore management on ways to keep your business protected and generating revenue for your affiliate.

Fires are a major concern for ReStore operations. A fire can cause a significant amount of damage to your building, your contents and inventory, neighboring buildings, and most importantly can put your customers, employees and volunteers in danger. As of yet, none of the ReStores in the insurance program have suffered a major fire – and we hope to keep it that way.

The following points should serve as a guide to help you inspect your property and determine if any corrective actions, maintenance or additional training are necessary to help reduce the risk of fire damage.

  • Fire safety training – Be sure your staff knows exactly what to do if a fire starts and that proper training is given to those responsible for storage areas, housekeeping, maintenance, and operations.
  • Fire Extinguishers – Have the right type, size, and number within easy access. Your fire department or fire protection equipment supplier can advise you on your needs. Review procedures with your staff and have the fire extinguishers serviced and tagged annually.
  • Building construction – Be aware of the condition of your building. Keep up on repairs, as older buildings, or those in disrepair, are more susceptible to fires. Prohibit flammable materials in your store.
  • Electrical system – Faulty wiring causes a large percentage of non-residential fires. Be sure your electrical system is modernized and electrical panels are accessible, labeled, and have at least three feet of clearance. Each year, thousands of fires can be accounted for by the misuse of power cords, power strips, and surge protectors. Power strips are designed for temporary use, and not to be used as permanent wiring. Except for temporary use or surge protection for sensitive electronics such as computers, electrical equipment should be plugged directly into an outlet, not into an extension cord.
  • Smoke Detectors – ensure you have smoke detectors and they are regularly tested. If you have a sprinkler system, service it and have a main drain test performed at least annually.
  • Exits – exits must be clearly marked and illuminated. Emergency exits MUST be unlocked during business hours allowing people to evacuate the building in case of an emergency.

 

Additionally, be aware of these common fire hazards:

  • Blocked cooling vent
  • Overloaded electrical system
  • Materials that produce toxic fumes when heated
  • Improperly storing hazardous or flammable materials
  • Objects that block fire exits
  • Incorrectly installed wiring
  • Misuse of electrical appliances

 

Carrying Adequate Property Insurance Coverage

In order to be certain that your restore is adequately covered, you should consider the following:

  • If you own your building or are required to insure it, you should provide us with the replacement cost value of your store.
  • Your contents and any betterments or improvements (customizations you make to the interior of the structure) should also be reported on a replacement cost basis.
  • Any other property you want to cover such as offsite storage, storage trailers, equipment or tools should also be reported to us.
  • Inventory values –  Your inventory is insured at replacement cost, regardless of whether the items were donated to you. This means that if your inventory sustained an insurable loss, you’ll receive the cost to replace your inventory with new items. In order to receive full replacement cost of your items, you must schedule your inventory at replacement cost with us.
  • It is also important to consider any business income that would be lost, due to your operation being shut down after a fire. The Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Insurance Program’s property policy carries $100,000 in business income coverage. This is adequate for most ReStore operations, but for some larger ReStores this may not be enough coverage, should it take longer than 3 months to get your facility back in working order.

 

If you are concerned that your affiliate may not be carrying enough business income coverage or have questions about your property coverage and limits in general, please call us at (888) 553-9002.

 

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