West Tennessee has plenty of at-risk areas for wildfires. Recently, there’s been an increase in wildfires across the country. If your business hasn’t reviewed emergency policies recently, now’s the time. The key to avoiding the most wildfire damage as possible is preparation.

Evacuation Plan

Ensure your business has an evacuation plan. If so, set the plan in place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests doing this by deciding when the plan needs to be activated. There should be certain occurrences that unfold the plan. Next, decide the chain of command along with the emergency actions each person will perform. Ensure that your plan will detail evacuation routes, exits and safe meeting places. After that, figure out how you’re going to account for employees, visitors, and equipment. Last but not least, communicate the plan often with your entire office.

Training

Practice emergency situations with your employees on a regular basis. The more you practice, the smoother your plans will unfold. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends planning a preparedness discussion and tabletop exercise. With the preparedness discussion, start with the basics like your emergency policy, the potential impact of wildfires, the importance of signing up for an emergency alert system and remembering the 5 p’s (people, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items). After your initial discussion, don’t stop there. Follow up in future meetings to keep the conversation going. A tabletop exercise takes a bit more planning. In order to execute a successful emergency run-through, decide who will be the planner, facilitator, participants, note-takers and observers.

Safety Zones

Create 3 different zones around your building to help slow down the spread of a wildfire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests the following zone criteria.

0 to 5 feet

In this immediate zone, focus on clearing brush away from your roof, gutters, vents and ground. Dead leaves and other debris spread fires quickly. Cut grass shorter than 4 inches. Fix any exterior damage like shingles, windows and screens. Avoid storing firewood and other flammable items in this zone.

5 to 30 feet

The intermediate zone should ensure that there are fuel breaks and space between trees, bushes and grass. Doing this can help to keep fire away from your building. Groups of trees should be at least 18 feet away from each other. Create fuel breaks with walkways, driveways and patios. Make sure grass is no longer than 4 inches and keep the closest tree 10 feet away from your building.

30 to 100 feet

The extended zone is the best place to keep firewood and other flammable items. This zone should ensure flames stay as small as possible. Do this by keeping trees 12 feet from each other and taking out shrubs close to them. Clear plants around storage buildings and remove dead leaves.

ServiceMaster Professional Cleaning in West Tennessee offers a comprehensive suite of fire damage restoration services. Businesses and homeowners alike trust us in their time of need. We’ll guide you through the entire restoration process. From working with your insurance company to providing timely updates, we handle it all. Contact us at 888-930-3351 to learn more about our services. We respond 24/7 to emergency damage restoration requests.

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