People often believe that an outbreak of fire will never happen in their place of work. However, over a ten-year period from 2003/04 to 2013/14, there were more than 38,000 fires reported across businesses and organisations in the UK. Workplaces most at risk include retail distribution, industrial premises, as well as wine bars, takeaway spots, pubs, cafes, and restaurants.
Causes of commercial fires
Of course, a fire can happen anywhere, at any time. Common causes of fire in commercial buildings include human error, boilers, furnaces, water heaters, and even arson. With technology at the core of most business’s operations, it’s unsurprising that there are also a lot of electrical fires caused by electrical appliances and systems, especially those that have been modified. Clearly, fire safety is something that all business owners need to be concerned with. It is your duty to put in place and maintain suitable fire safety measures. One of these measures should be to invest in burglary and fire safes. This can help to prevent the loss of critical business documents should a fire occur.
Legal documents you must keep in burglary and fire safes
- Tax forms and receipts – No matter whether you have a business accountant or you do your taxes on your own; you need to keep proper tax records. These documents should be kept inside your fireproof safe. If you lose your tax documents or receipts, you will find it difficult to fill out your tax returns. Of course, you can get in touch with HMRC to let them know what has happened. But, this is a lot of hassle, and could cost your business more, as you may need to pay tax based on your previous years since no documents are available.
- Your will and other important personal documents – Although not a business related document, you will want to keep your will in a safe place. The same goes for any power of attorney papers as well as health care proxies. These are the type of legal documents that you definitely do not want to lose.
- Financial information – It is important to keep all of your financial and credit information in one place. This includes details on your outstanding debts, the dates payments are due, and contact information. If such documents are destroyed in a fire, you may miss a payment, and then you may find yourself stung by huge interest payments without even realising. You should also store important papers relating to bank accounts, retirement plans, investments, and associated contact details in burglary and fire safes.
- Current insurance policies – All businesses should have a number of different insurance policies in place. You need to ensure your business is protected from various scenarios. Keep your insurance policy documents and the agent contact details in your fireproof safe.
There is no getting away from the risk of a corporate fire. We all have the ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude, but this mindset is a risky one. Instead, invest in a fireproof safe and make sure all of your critical documents are protected.