A Small Business Owners Guide to Property Damage Risks

July 01, 2020

A Small Business Owners Guide to Property Damage Risks

Attention small business owners, this one is for you! 


Whether you own or lease your business property, keeping both the building (and what’s inside) safe should be a big priority. 


As such, it’s really important to know what the biggest risks are (like fire damage, water damage, and burglaries) and what you can do to mitigate them. 


To help you get started, we created this small business owners guide to understanding the major risks to your property:  

 

Business Property Damage Risk #1: Fire Damage  

According to the Nation Fire Protection Association, nearly 20,000 fires occur in business properties each year in the United States, resulting in over $800 million in property loss damages. 


Moreover, 40% of businesses don’t reopen after a fire or disaster according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 


As a business owner, you have several responsibilities concerning your safety and the safety of your employees, clients, and property – and a big part of this is keeping up-to-date with fire safety protocols and equipment.


Some of the most basic fire safety equipment that every business should have are:

 

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire exit signs
  • Emergency lighting
  • Fire blankets

It’s also your responsibility as a business owner to make sure that this equipment is available and working properly (check out our fire prevention guide for tips on how to properly test and maintain your smoke detectors!). 


Tip: Place a Notion Sensor near your UL-listed smoke or carbon monoxide detectors and receive an alert on your smartphone when the alarm sounds! 



Fires can, of course, break out anywhere and anytime. So it’s a good idea to be aware of the top fire causes so you can be proactive about keeping your property safe.

 

As far as protocols go, your business should have a fire safety plan that provides relevant information about a building's layout, its fire protection systems and equipment, and its emergency evacuation procedures. 


Note: If you don't own the building, the owner should have a fire plan that you can review and adapt for your business.


Once you’ve created your fire safety plan, make sure to train employees on how to use it and what to do in the event of a fire. 

 

Business Property Damage Risk #2: Water Damage

Water damage is one of the things you never expect to happen to you… until it does. And unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon. 


In fact, water damage is the leading cause of insurance claims in the United States, affecting 14,000 people every single day!


As a business owner that relies on staying open, the impacts can be devastating – you may have to relocate, putting your business and sales on hold, and spend thousands of dollars on repairs.



Of course, while the cost of fixing water damage can be very expensive you can always take preventative measures to protect your business property from heavy rain, flooding, and other causes.


Here are a few tips to stave off water damage in the workplace: 


  • Inspect and service appliances: depending on the appliance, it’s best to hire a professional that specializes in serving that appliance. 
  • Update and service plumbing: this should be done by a licensed plumber, and again, if you rent the building, contact your landlord for extra assistance. 
  • Keep your eye out for mold or rotting installation: if you do notice anything concerning, it’s best to have it inspected by a professional contractor or mold specialist. 
  • Roof inspections should be done annually: this can be done by a professional roofer, or if you rent the building, you can contact your landlord. 

As with your smoke detectors, it’s also a good idea to install Notion Sensors by toilets, sinks, bathtubs, water heaters, AC units, and other appliances to have more peace of mind. The Notion wireless sensors will notify you when a water leak is detected so you can quickly address it before it becomes a problem.


Check out our water damage guide for more tips on how to prevent water damage and how to work with insurance providers on water damage claims!

 

Business Property Damage Risk #3: Theft and Burglary 

Theft and burglary can be a huge headache, for homeowners and businesses. And they happen more often than you might think. 


According to an Insureon survey, in 2018, 22% of small businesses in the United States suffered a burglary or theft.  


On the bright side, like with fire and water damage, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your business from theft. 


The most important step? Making sure that the locks to your business are as secure as possible! 


Keep in mind that some locks are better than others. Indeed, while we certainly can't knock the classic deadbolt, some newer locks have a few more tricks up their sleeves. It’s a good idea to check out Consumer Reports’ door lock buying guide for tips on how to buy the perfect lock for your business. 



As a general rule, pin tumbler cylinder locks and double cylinder deadbolt locks are both highly regarded by experts – and they can easily be found at your local hardware store! 


If you’re looking for a little more peace of mind, you may want to consider installing Notion Sensors on your business’ doors and windows. You’ll get a remote alert to your phone when either has been opened, giving you more time to act in the event of a burglary. 

 

Business Property Damage Risk #4: Inventory Damage 

Any damage to your inventory can have a huge impact on your business and your bottom line. 


For example, if your business sells temperature-sensitive products, frequent power outages could be detrimental to your business and inventory.  


That's why keeping an eye on your storage and inventory rooms is just as important as the front or showroom of your business – you’ll want to make sure they’re safe and well-secured. 


A few ways to make sure if your inventory is kept safe is to understand the specific risks to your inventory. For example, if you own a restaurant, grocery store, or winery, you need to make sure that your property’s internal temperature is being monitored. 



It’s a good idea to invest in a fire, water, and burglar-resistant safe. Not only will it protect your valuables but it can help lower insurance costs and it’s a smart investment overall. 


Remember that you can also install Notion Sensors on internal doors, safes, cabinets, and more. If anything is opened that shouldn’t be, you’ll receive a notification to your smartphone. 


Thanks for reading! We hope that you learned a few new ways to keep your business safe!