July is approaching fast, which means the risk of fires near your facility is about to increase. Between fireworks, increasing temperatures, and dry climates, it’s the perfect storm for an unwanted and unexpected disaster.
Fireworks may not be the leading cause of fires at self-storage facilities, but they sure do present an opportunity to discuss one unexpected disaster that can hit your facility any time of the year.
Let’s talk: fire safety policy
Not everyone is a rule follower, but the majority of us Americans are pretty against getting jail time. While you most likely have a lengthy section of the rental agreement detailing what can and cannot be stored at your facility, it’s still a smart idea to discuss these policies in the framework of fire safety. Fireworks or any other kind of explosive or extremely flammable item should not be stored in a self-storage facility. Many states actually have laws against storing such items in a storage unit precisely for the fact that they make a fire an even more dangerous situation.
Check with your local laws and be sure to verbalize with tenants the dangers and legal ramifications of attempting to store explosives and flammables in their units.
Storing Fireworks (Safely)
“Then what am I SUPPOSED to do with these leftover black cats, sparklers, and smoke bombs?”
So glad you asked.
4 ways to store your fireworks safely.
- Store in a dry sealed container. Be smart, don’t use flammable materials to store fireworks. Use a plastic or metal container that seals moisture out and has nothing to possibly ignite the fireworks.
- Don’t tell your kids. Kids like things that go boom and are shiny or sparkly. They also have long memories. They’ll know what it does, or they’ll at least guess. Don’t let them see where you store the fireworks for their safety and your peace of mind.
- Keep them secure. Find a room, such as a locked shed, where your fireworks will not be near any ignitable materials, and cannot be easily accessed by children. And definitely do not keep them in your home where you sleep, or your storage unit! Keep them away from gas, oil, fireplaces, firewood.. You get the idea.
- Follow fire safety precautions. Store a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure you know how to use it. Keep your fireworks away from exits. No one wants to be caught between a rogue firework and the door.
Facing the Fire
We hope you NEVER have to experience a fire, but it’s always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected. If you want to read a full anecdote of what dealing with a facility fire looks like you can read this one from 2018, or watch this one from 2017 where the tenants had proper protection through our plans. The individual experiences are all going to be different but as an owner, there are a few takeaways.
1. Get to your facility as quickly as possible.
2. Follow the procedures you’ve set in place to ensure the safety of your staff and tenants and provide access to emergency responders.
3. Contact your tenant property protection representative or insurance company.
4. Keep communication with tenants open and transparent. (it’s not fun news to share, but the sooner they know what happened and what they can and cannot do, the better).
The key to protecting your facility from fires is threefold:
- Minimize the presence of fire hazards
- Plan ahead
- Early detection
First, the best way to prevent a fire is to clear your facility of every fire hazard you can. That means restricting tenants (we’ve beaten this horse dead already). However, it also means working with your local fire marshall to not only keep your building up to code but also to obtain tips and tricks of fire safety (such as leaving a foot of space between all objects and the ceiling. It also means doing the research on your building if it’s older and taking the time and potential expense to have the electrical brought up to code. If you are building a facility, make sure you’re using fire-safe drywall, properly rated lighting and a skilled electrician who you can trust to wire your building correctly and safely the first time. GFCI outlets in optimal places is another easy way to create an extra layer of safety.
You also need to have an action plan that is easy to understand and can be acted upon at a moments notice. Posted fire exits, fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, and well-trained staff are a good start.
Finally, you’ll need to be able to be instantly informed should a fire take place, this means having a chain of interconnected smoke detectors that are fully functional at regular intervals across the entire facility.
What to do next
Proper maintenance is an important step in keeping your facility safe. Replace lights, smoke detectors or their batteries, practice fire drills, and get your extinguishers inspected.
Keep in touch with your tenant property protection program provider and business/building insurance company so you know the correct steps to follow should something happen.
The TPP difference
When you sell TPP plans at your facility your tenants are covered by the best. We don’t just take care of your tenants, we treat them like we treat our family and friends. We process their claims as quickly as possible because we know that every minute without funds is a minute more of loss. You are the one who gets the benefit of our reputation when your tenants start thanking you for choosing a company that cares. If that’s not enough for you, the earning potential for the sale of our plans is only limited by yourself. See what your profit increase could look like when you fill out our comparison form.