As we navigate another fire season, here are some simple and cost-effective tips for keeping your small business safe.
Smart alarms and detectors
When you’re in the workplace, traditional smoke alarms are a great way to alert you of an issue. But what about when you’ve closed your doors for the night?
With smart smoke alarms, business owners receive real-time alerts. If there’s an incident unfolding, you can be alerted via your smartphone.
The built-in measurement technology can differ between designs. In some cases, the smart alarm provides you with video and information about carbon monoxide, occupancy, heat and humidity. All of this helps you determine the type of fire.
Smart alarms can then fight the fire by activating or deactivating other Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices at the location. This can be done whether the fire is on your commercial premises or at a warehouse.
While these devices are more expensive than conventional alarms – with a usual starting price of about $170 – they often help put your mind at rest. Not only this, but they could save you thousands by preventing serious smoke or fire damage.
Smart devices, plugs or outlets
Have you ever gotten home, then realised you might have left something on at work?
When appliances are connected to the IoT, you don’t need to worry about the device sparking a fire – and you can save yourself the trip back to the office to check. Instead you can use your smartphone to reprogram or turn off devices.
But you may have some appliances that aren’t connected to the IoT, what then? Older devices can be plugged into smart outlets, which means you can remotely switch them off or on.
Traditional fire extinguishing methods – such as sprinklers – can be optimised through the IoT as well. While conventional sprinklers are effective for helping control fires, they also have the potential to cause a fair bit of water damage.
With smart sprinklers though, you can use different extinguishers based on the situation – whether that’s mist, gases or chemicals. Based on data, this will be deployed in a targeted area, minimising any unnecessary damage.
Passive fire protection systems
With passive fire protection systems, businesses can control and reduce the impact of fires.
While there are minimum levels of protection – as detailed by the Building Code of Australia and other Australian Standards – there are further steps you can take to keep your business safe this fire season.
If you’re planning maintenance or renovation in the coming months, it’s well worth thinking about how to incorporate products that could help improve your business’ level of fire safety. From intumescent coatings and sealants to fire-rated ducts and doors, there is a myriad of products available.
Getting insured this fire season
While there are plenty of preventative measures we can take to control fire and minimise the impact, sometimes it’s out of our hands.
In some cases precautionary measures reduce the impact, but the business still sustains a level of smoke and water damage.
This leaves business owners not only facing the cost of rebuilding, but also puts a pause on their profits until they’re back up and running.
At these times, business insurance and business interruption insurance can help you get back on your feet faster. They also remove some of the financial burden of doing so.
Are you using new technology that relies on the IoT? If you are, it may also be worth considering cyber insurance.
For more information, or if this article has brought up any queries about your cover, get in touch with your insurance adviser. We can work with you to make sure you get the appropriate level of protection.