Fire Disasters: Building Maintenance and Preservation

As the Southern California forest fires rage on, we thought it would be pertinent to talk about fire maintenance and preservation in the face of a fire disaster.


Pre-Fire Emergency:

There are many things that can and should be done before a fire emergency happens or before there is even a threat of a fire emergency. All fire systems and equipment should be serviced on a regular basis. Warden Intercom Phones are used to communicate between floor wardens and the building’s main emergency evacuation panel. When the handset is lifted, the fire phone automatically rings the emergency evacuation panel. These systems should be serviced regularly to ensure that they are working properly at all times. Fire indicator panels, fire extinguishers, hydrants, and sprinklers should also be serviced regularly.


It is extremely important to have an up to date evacuation plan that is communicated and practiced by all building occupants. All building occupants should be aware of the evacuation procedures and where the fire exits and stairs are located.


Post Fire Emergency:

After a fire emergency, there is a host of things to do to get back up and running. Contact your insurance provider right away. Ask what to do about immediate needs and what to do first. Save all of the receipts for any fire-related costs; they may be needed later by your insurance company. Confirm with the fire department that your building is safe to enter. The fire investigator must make a preliminary determination of the cause of the fire before the area can be disturbed.


There are a number of building considerations that need to be accounted for as well. The fire department will tell you if your utilities are safe to use. It is sometimes necessary to disconnect utilities to prevent further damage and to ensure the safety of firefighters. Regardless, have an HVAC service call completed on all building systems.  Fresh air intakes will be impacted by the air pollutants floating as a result of the fire. Utilities should be reconnected by your utility company; do not attempt to restore service that has been disconnected. If your building has rooftop mounted cooling towers, call to ensure the systems aren’t polluted.

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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