Remember the old song you learned as a kid about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over the lantern in the shed?

Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed.
Her cow kicked it over,
Then winked her eye and said,
“There’ll be a hot time in the
old town tonight!”

Now, unless Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was a one-of-a-kind winking, talking bovine wonder, it’s safe to say whoever started the song took some liberties with the events. The story behind the lyrics has its basis in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed more than 17,400 structures in Chicago, killed more than 250 people and left another 100,000 people homeless. National Fire Prevention Week has been observed every year in the United States since 1922, as a means of commemorating that tragic fire, and educating the public about fire prevention and safety.

In 2016, Fire Prevention Week begins on October 9, and we think it’s a great time for business owners to conduct an assessment of their fire-preparedness. Here is some information and tips to help you consider how you can protect not only your business assets, but potentially the lives of your employees and customers.

The potential effects of fire on your business

Fires can occur in any type of business or structure and can have big impacts on the business even if the fire started somewhere else. During 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, FEMA estimated losses for non-residential fires in the United States were a staggering $2,628,000,000.

Businesses using specialized electrical equipment such as lasers or salon equipment may be at higher risk of accidental fires. In addition to the loss of physical property during a fire, fires can also result in injuries and deaths to employees and/or customers, while having devastating and long-lasting effects on your business’ operations.

The importance of fire insurance

Your business is your livelihood; protecting it against losses from a fire with insurance can mean the difference between having to halt operations completely after a loss or being able to pick up again and continue your livelihood.

While any type of business can benefit from the protections offered by fire insurance, we believe it is especially important for businesses like day spas and salons, body piercing studios, tattoo studios, and laser/medical spa locations to evaluate their risks and consider purchasing fire insurance along with other types of important insurance coverages for specialty businesses.

Prepare your employees ahead of time

Make sure you, and all of your employees, are familiar with the location of all exits, and make sure everyone on your staff knows the street address for your business so they can potentially share it with emergency operators if necessary.

Although you will hopefully never need to implement an escape plan, it is important to spend some time formalizing procedures and creating more than one possible escape route both for your staff and your customers.

Whether or not you want to sing the song about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, you can join business owners all over the country in observing National Fire Prevention Week, from October 9 – 15, by planning ahead to protect your business, your customers and your employees. To learn more about this year’s campaign, and order materials to post in your business or website, go to the National Fire Protection Association’s website.

To learn more about how Fire Insurance and other specialty insurances can protect your business, contact Marine Agenc

y today.

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