Fire safety isn’t something any of us should procrastinate on. Many of us ignore taking the basic steps we need to protect ourselves. I’ve always known professional grooming salons can be prone to fire. Until I experienced my own fire, I didn’t know how much you could do to prevent one. And even for those of us that have taken every precaution to prevent fire, unfortunate scenarios can still unfold.
In 2008, my husband and I got a first-hand education in fire. We lost our entire 10 stall barn. It burned to the ground while I was home – and I never knew it was on fire!
I would like to share some of the things that we learned. It doesn’t matter what you lose, the impact of fire is devastating regardless of whether there’s loss of life or not.
- Read your insurance policy. (Really read it!) If you have questions, make sure to you ask your agent. Don’t blindly accept what they tell you is adequate for your situation. Stop and think. Think about what it would cost you to replace the facility. Think about the value of the contents inside the structure too. Does your policy carry a rider for loss of revenue if you cannot work?
- Keep a list in a separate location of all the items that are in your salon. One of the simplest ways to maintain current record of what is in your salon (or any structure) is walk through with a video camera and record the entire room. Open up closets and cabinets as you go through the space. You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing this video or DVD. They can be paused at any point for clarity.
- Make sure you have enough fire extinguishers available. You must also make sure that they are rated for the type of fire that would be typical in your situation.
- Make sure that all electrical outlets are working properly. That your breaker box is not being overloaded. Grooming salons typically pull a lot of power due to all the electrical equipment in a facility.
- Keep all the vents and any electrical equipment free of dog hair. This would include many of the typical things you find in grooming salons; furnaces, hot water heaters, pet dryers and clothes dryers — anything with a motor or that involves heat.
- Minimize the use of extension cords.
- Utilize a professional electrician to maintain or upgrade your electrical system if you are not qualified to do it yourself.
- Unplug dryers and extension cords at the end of the day.
- Purchase the best fire detection alarms you possibly can. The old cliché, you get what you pay for is very true when it comes to fire alarms. If at all possible, have your salon professionally monitored and hardwired directly into the fire department.
Luckily in our barn fire, all of our beloved Friesian horses were safe. They had been turned out for the day when fire struck Trying to absorb what happens within the hours, days or weeks after a fire is challenging. The workload is daunting as you try to sort through the entire situation and rebuild. The recovery from a fire does not take weeks, it takes months.
Do everything in your power to protect yourself from actual property destruction. Don’t underestimate the value of insurance. Make sure to have the proper insurance coverage for your situation. Fire is overwhelming. Not having the means to rebuild can be even more devastating. Be prepared.