Protect Your Idle Business From Risks
Because of COVID-19, there are state-mandated lockdowns to control and prevent the spread of infection and diseases. As a result, many businesses have had to change the way they operate and are no longer using their facilities. Empty buildings can be an ideal target for unauthorized access or theft. That’s why making sure your business and building are safe should be a top priority.
Notify your insurance carrier, agent or broker if your business’ building will be vacant for a period of time. They may have advice to help you manage your risk and can help you understand how it impacts your insurance coverage.
Don’t forget to notify your local fire and police authorities, as well as your utility providers. You can give them emergency contact information so they know how to get in touch with you if something happens at your business.
Regularly Monitor and Inspect Your Business and Building
Having ongoing security and regularly monitoring your business can help reduce the risk of property damage. If you have to temporarily shut down your business, you should:
Secure the building to prevent unauthorized access. You can also hire a security service to help keep your property safe. If you can’t hire security, it’s a good idea to visit your property frequently. You’ll want to create a checklist that you can use during each visit to make sure your building and property are safe.
Tour the exterior of the building to look for vulnerabilities. Make sure the exterior lighting works because this can help prevent trespassing or vandalism. If you have trees, bushes or other vegetation around the building, you may want to trim anything that’s overgrown. Otherwise, it can clog gutters and increase the risk of water damage and flooding.
Inspect the interior to make sure doors and windows are locked and closed. Your alarm systems should also still be operational to let you know if there’s unauthorized access. Don’t forget to look at your building’s ceilings for any water spots or active leaks.
Shut off all utilities that you don’t need for fire protection, fire alarms, sump pumps or required heating. If you decide to turn off a utility service, make sure you understand how it can affect the building. You’ll also want to check that appliances are unplugged or turned off. Fewer hot circuits can reduce the likelihood of an electrical fire.
Be aware that if you have to shut down your business during the winter, the colder temperatures can bring different challenges.
Maintain Fire Protection
Limiting the risk of a fire in your vacant building is critical to protecting your business. When you visit your building for inspections, make sure you check the sprinkler system. Even though your building will be vacant, keep the interior temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents freezing of water-filled pipes used for fire protection.
If your business has waste or combustible materials inside the facility or around the outside of the building, be sure to remove them to prevent any possibility of a fire.
Monitor Weather Patterns
Weather events can have a big impact on your building. Pre-planning to help you respond to any weather events can help reduce your risk of damage. Some tips you can use for your business include:
- Designating an employee or a team to monitor and respond to any events
- Having necessary tools onsite, like shovels or roof rakes
- Raising valuable items off the floor by using lifts or pallets to prevent water damage
- Monitoring power outages and planning ahead if you need to have backup power
- Inspecting the building after a storm to quickly identify damages
Use a Checklist To Help Manage Risks With a Vacant Building
We know there’s a lot to remember as you keep your business safe. So, we’ve put together a checklist to help make sure your sites are secure and reduce unauthorized access, theft and property damage.