Running a laundromat can be a very profitable business, provided you don’t run out of soap and hot water. However, as wet of an environment as your business might seem, one of the significant risks that might threaten in this area is a fire risk. The sheer number of flammable materials that pass through your area every day are just one risk. There are also risks posed by the close quarters shared by machinery, water and electricity. Therefore, your washing spaces need to remain well-oiled machines. What can you do to protect your store from fires?
The Risks of Business Fires
Between 2007 and 20011, there were approximately 3,300 office fires in America. The U.S. Small Business Administration says that ¼ of small businesses close permanently following a major disaster. Often, the reason why is because the business owner doesn’t have appropriate financial reserves to recover from the accident. That’s why you should have as much protection as possible for your laundromat. The appropriate business insurance can help you in your recovery, and greatly lessen your potential financial losses
Most business owners policies, or BOPs, include coverage for the property damage your business might sustain. Because most fires are unpreventable, unavoidable accidents, they are usually covered incidents under your policy.
However, no one wants to have to make a claim on their policy, no matter how helpful it could be in recovery. That’s why you should do what you can to protect your store from fire risks.
Preventing Laundromat Fires
About 69% of commercial fires in America happened during business hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Still, the 31% that occurred after working hours caused the majority of damage. Those that occurred while people were on the premises usually benefited from faster detection and containment.
Regardless of time frame, the more you can do to prevent fires in your laundry business, the more secure you can make the operation. And, the better your chances of success.
- Lint is the enemy. Lint within dryers is highly flammable, and dryer fires cause an annual 15,000+ fires. That’s why you should post notices throughout the business that remind all patrons to clean out their lint trays after every use.
- Clean out the lint trays yourself after every business day. Regularly inspect dryer vents to see if they become clogged with lint.
- Remind patrons not to place flammable items, clothing included, near sources of heat.
- Keep a fire extinguisher (or better yet, multiple ones) on hand in the business. Also make sure your alarm systems remain in good order.
- Watch carefully for leaks. Should flowing water hit an electrical outlet, it could spark a fire.
- Make your laundromat non-smoking. An improperly discarded cigarette could easily ignite lint or awaiting laundry.
At the end of the day, take a walk around the business. Look for signs of fire risks, signs of smoke or scorching. If so, you may need to take certain equipment out of service for a time.