The holidays are upon us with all of their festivities and busy-ness.
For many non-retail businesses, this season also means at least a few days, if not a couple weeks, of closing up shop so that employer and employees alike can enjoy time with family.
But with all of its cheer and fun, the season unfortunately also brings many hazards and risks. There is an increase in burglaries as well as fires, and even the winter weather can pose serious threats.
With this in mind, Koorsen would like to provide these 10 business safety and security tips to help keep your small business safe and sound while you are away for the holidays this year.
10 Business Safety & Security Tips While You’re Away
1. Unplug all space heaters.
Before heading out and locking up, be sure to scan every area of your business for space heaters, which are one of the leading causes of structural fires during winter months.
Unattended and left on for long periods of time, these heaters can easily overheat and short-out. Making sure they are turned off and/or unplugged is one of the easiest ways you can protect your business from a fire.
2. Turn off / unplug any unnecessary electronics.
Similarly, it is advisable to turn off/unplug any unnecessary electronics while you are away to decrease the chances of an electrical fire.
This includes computers, signs, as well as any holiday decorations and lights you may have plugged in.
Any electronics, especially holiday lights, that you want to leave on, be sure to carefully examine all of their wires for frays, kinks, bare spots, or gaps. If you find any of these in a cord, unplug it immediately and refrain from using it.
If leaving holiday lights on, use LED lights that will not overheat, and consider using a timer so they are not on 24/7.
3. Keep your business well lit.
One of the leading causes for burglaries and break-ins, especially during the holidays, is a lack of proper lighting.
To protect your business, make sure all of your exterior doors are well lit during dark hours. If possible, also leave at least some inside lights on that would make it easy to see if there were any intruders.
This exposure will seriously discourage most potential burglars, and will make it easy for passers-by to see if there is a break-in.
4. Lock up thoroughly.
As you lock up, check all points of entry, not just doors. Check all windows, sun lights, gates, and loading bay doors to make sure they are locked and secure.
5. Inform your landlord and/or neighboring business owners.
If you are renting your space or building, inform your landlord of the dates you will be closed so that they are aware and can help keep watch.
If you own your own space but have neighboring businesses who will be staying open, speak to their owners to let them know about the dates you will be closed so they can keep an eye out for you.
6. Inform local law enforcement.
Inform local police of the dates that you will be closed. They may increase their patrols of the area or at least be prepared should they hear of any suspicious activity near your location.
7. Utilize a security system.
If you have not already, invest in a security system and be sure to arm it before leaving. Simply having a security system, especially if you mark it on a window or door, is enough to keep many potential burglars away.
If you do have a security system, be sure to test it and all of its equipment prior to locking up to ensure it is in working order.
8. Prevent freezing and bursting pipes.
To prevent pipes from freezing and bursting while you are away, turn off and drain all unnecessary pipes before you go.
For pipes that need to continue working, make sure that their temperature stays above freezing. This includes the pipes that feed water to your fire sprinkler system (see below).
You can accomplish this in a variety of ways, such as by keeping the internal building temperature at a minimum of 40° F. You could also use insulation sleeves or wraps for pipes at risk of freezing, or use approved heat tracing for water-filled pipes.
9. Check fire protection equipment.
Fires and electrical incidents are one of the largest emergencies and safety risks during the holidays.
To keep your business safe, ensure that the fire detection system, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarms, strobe lights and horns are all in working order before you lock up. The best way to ensure your fire and life safety systems are in proper, working order, is to partner with a fire protection company, such as Koorsen, to provide routine inspection and maintenance of these systems throughout the year.
If you are in a state where below freezing temperatures are likely, make sure you protect the wet piping system that provides water to your fire sprinkler system. If these pipes freeze and burst, your sprinkler system will be destroyed and rendered useless in case of a fire.
10. Move valuables away from windows and to a secure location.
Move expensive merchandise and/or equipment away from the windows to decrease the temptation to break in.
Put valuables such as cash, checkbooks, and any materials with your banking information on it, in a locked safe. This way, should there be a break in, your banking information is protected.
Enjoy Your Holidays
This holiday season, keep your business safe and your holidays jolly by practicing these simple business safety and security tips.
If you own a small business and do not have a security system in place, or need assistance testing your security and fire protection systems, contact Koorsen Fire & Security today. Koorsen has been installing, inspecting, testing, and maintaining security and fire protection systems for over 70 years.