Is your business or nonprofit prepared for an emergency? Disasters like flooding and water damage, fire and smoke, mold, severe weather, or other destructive forces can strike at any time, damaging your commercial property and disrupting operations. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted professional restoration company to create a Commercial Emergency Restoration Plan.
If you don’t have a CERM plan, you can lose a lot of time and money trying to figure out how to recover in the aftermath of an emergency. A CERM plan includes all of the information necessary for restoring your property quickly and affordably, allowing you to go back to business as usual faster. If you don’t have a CERM plan yet, this guide can help get you started.
Table of Contents
What is a Commercial Emergency Restoration Plan?
In the event of an unexpected natural or man-made disaster, a commercial emergency restoration plan prepares your business and a disaster restoration company with accurate information and processes to quickly and effectively address damage to your commercial property. There are a lot of decisions to make immediately after a place of business sustains major damage, and having a plan in place beforehand makes recovery easier and faster for everyone involved. Company’s like TRILINK Restoration assist with the planning and recovery phases of getting your business back up to speed.
When you create a CERM with a professional restoration company, both you and they will have important information readily available for getting things cleaned up quickly. For instance, your plan may include everything from where shut offs for water are in case of water damage, to the general layout of your building for clean up and construction purposes, to contact information for the business owners and management.
There are many reasons why a business or nonprofit needs a CERM plan. The benefits of a CERM plan are meant to simplify and accelerate the restoration process:
- Priority response from your commercial restoration company
- Reduce costs through quick response time and prior planning
- Faster restoration to cut downtime of your operations
- Clean and restore important documents and property
- Reduce stress with decisions made ahead of time
- Comprehensive and fully-equipped restoration services at the ready 24/7
Your ultimate goal as a business or organization is to be able to function again. The purpose of a commercial emergency restoration plan is to ensure that you can with as little time and money lost as possible.
What Kinds of Businesses and Organizations Benefit from Commercial ERM Services?
While every business is susceptible to damage from a disaster, businesses and organizations that meet important needs for their communities benefit most from business CERM services. Whether your property has sustained water damage or suffered a fire, a business CERM plan ensures you’re back in service as soon as possible.
- Businesses: Every small business or large corporation looking to get back up and running again after a disaster can do so with the help of a thorough business CERM program that spells out necessary details for a quick restoration.
- Municipalities: Serving local citizens is difficult when a municipal building is compromised. Professional ERM services can put you back into service quicker.
- Churches & Tribal Properties: Places of worship and culture deserve the utmost respect and care during restoration efforts. Professional ERM services can quickly bring these special places back to their original state.
- Multi-unit Residential Complexes (Apartments, Townhomes): When the living conditions of multiple households are at stake, a comprehensive CERM plan is essential.
- Hospitality Facilities (Hotels & Conference Centers): Don’t lose bookings or events due to building damage. A good CERM never disappoints their guests.
- Medical Facilities (Assisted Living, Clinics, Hospitals): Few buildings are as vital to their communities as healthcare facilities. Commercial ERM services can get life-saving services up and functioning again faster.
- Educational Institutions (Schools, Colleges, & Universities): Minimize disruptions to the academic year with a comprehensive CERM.
- Independent Insurance Providers or Agents: In the event of a mass disaster, your clients are counting on your services. A business CERM allows you to be there for them while recovering from an emergency yourself. A CERM is also a valuable resource for each of your clients.
What Types of Commercial Emergencies Should We Plan For?
Water – Storms, floods, weakened roof, an HVAC leak, frozen or busted pipes, sewage backup–all can cause severe water damage to your property that requires professional restoration services.
Fire – Smoke, water, and structural damage are all common after a fire. A thorough CERM will guide your recovery efforts.
Mold – Don’t underestimate this health hazard. Mold is extremely common and can be difficult to contain. Are you prepared to tackle it at the first sign of trouble before it becomes a safety issue?
Content Loss – Every emergency has the potential to damage important workplace documents and other valuables. Do you have a plan for cleaning and restoring contents?
Crime Scene & Trauma – After unexpected workplace crime or trauma, you need properly certified professionals to clean up the aftermath. Having a CERM in place will get those professionals on the scene quickly and give you one less thing to worry about.
Storm / Disaster – Oklahoma is subject to many kinds of severe weather throughout the year. A good CERM plan can prepare you for all of them.
What does the Commercial Emergency Restoration Process Look Like?
The thought of planning for every detail of an emergency restoration process can be overwhelming. Instead, it’s helpful to break it down into a few key steps to help organize yourself. Working with an experienced commercial restoration company to create your CERM plan is very helpful, too.
Disaster recovery usually begins with filing an insurance claim. After an event, you will need to gather all applicable insurance policy information and contact your insurer as soon as possible. As part of the claims process, you will likely need to document the damage to your property and keep a detailed record of expenses incurred during repairs. The right ERM company can help you assess the damage and record your findings.
Some of that documentation will include business records proving the value of damaged equipment, inventory, etc. At every stage, you will need to have your insurance company’s information readily available and keep the information they need from you organized in order for things to go smoothly. Having a CERM plan can help you have much of this information ready ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling after disaster strikes.
Every business and nonprofit has to consider the costs of everything they do. The emergency restoration process is no exception. Unfortunately, every business and every emergency is different, so it’s very difficult to predict the costs of the restoration process. You should be wary of restoration companies who offer low estimates simply to get your business.
That’s why it’s better to ask about services first before asking for a set price. Knowing what services different restoration jobs require can give you the big picture of possible costs, plus, give you a better understanding of the process. Using fire damage as an example, here are just some commercial restoration services that you might have to pay for in the event of a disaster:
- Board up services
- Security surveillance
- Roof replacement
- Restoration project manager
- Reconstruction project manager
- Odor removal
- Debris removal
- Cleaning and restoration of contents and textiles
- Moving and storage
When going through the emergency restoration process, it’s easy to focus on damage sustained by your building and forget about everything that’s inside. That can be a costly oversight, however. A lot of money went into the furniture, equipment, inventory, records, and more owned by your business, and it is possible to minimize your losses through proper restoration.
If you are working with a reputable commercial restoration company, they should be able to clean, dry, and deodorize much of the contents of your facility in order to make it useable again.
Part of your CERM plan should address the process for assessing damage done to your property’s contents, packing up what can be salvaged, and having it restored for future use. Your commercial restoration company can help you prepare these plans and understand the individual steps for restoring contents.
You can’t operate if you don’t have a safe building to work out of. An important part of the emergency restoration process is reconstructing your building so it is functional again. Depending on the severity of the damage sustained, this can be the longest part of the process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful.
A good commercial reconstruction service will have already collected information about your property in your CERM plan and will have the expertise necessary to manage and execute your reconstruction in a timely, affordable fashion. They will be able to quickly get you an estimate and go on to obtain all necessary permits, prepare architectural drawings, and do all the work of demolition and rebuilding.
Already having the experts on-call with your CERM will save you a lot of time and hassle during reconstruction.
What Equipment and Expertise is Required to Restore Commercial Property?
A great benefit to having a CERM plan ready with a trusted commercial restoration company is that when you need their services, they have the necessary equipment and expertise ready at a moment’s notice.
You don’t have to waste time and energy tracking down individual contractors for the services you need, or worse, do any of the work yourself. Restoration should always be left to the professionals.
Whatever disaster your business has suffered, your preferred restoration company should have the right equipment for all kinds of recovery. That includes machinery, tools, products, and more for cleanup, demolition, and reconstruction, such as:
- Truck-mounted vacuums and wet vacs
- Flood pumpers
- Dehumidifiers and air movers
- Negative air machines and air scrubbers
- Ozone machines
- Thermo foggers
- Dry ice blasting machines
- Ultrasonic cleaning tanks
- Construction equipment
Commercial property restoration requires experience and expertise to be done right. You need IICRC certified specialists. Restoration technicians certified by the Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification Board are held to the highest of industry standards for integrity, excellence, expertise, and more. Ask your preferred restoration company if their technicians hold this certification before you establish a CERM plan with them.
Planning for Health & Safety Before and During Commercial Restoration
Protecting the health and safety of your employees and customers during and after a disaster should be your top priority and can be addressed in your CERM plan. Begin by listing the most likely disasters in your area and what action each requires. For Oklahoma businesses, those would be:
- Tornado — Identify the parts of your building that are appropriate for sheltering in place and communicate this plan to employees.
- Severe Storms — Severe weather can often inhibit travel and strand employees at work. Your business should have a communication system to tell employees to not come to work if travel is dangerous, as well as a plan for sheltering in place after hours if workers cannot leave.
- Flood — Flooding can happen either gradually or in an instant. You need both a plan for warning employees to avoid the area if it is reportedly flooded and for evacuating quickly and seeking higher ground in the event of a flash flood. Someone should also be responsible for turning off the electricity in an impending flood.
- Fire — Have a plan for safe evacuation and a designated meeting area away from the building. Practice your plan with periodic fire drills.
- Earthquake — The safest thing to do during an earthquake is to drop to the ground and cover your head and neck. After the quake, employees should leave the building. Communicating this to employees before disaster strikes can help save lives.
Hiring the Right Commercial Emergency Restoration Company
For most businesses, hiring a CERM company can be daunting. For something so important, you certainly want to make the right choice. Here are some tips to guide you in the right direction.
Although you do not have to hire the restoration company recommended by your insurance provider, it IS wise to do your research and find out what company will serve your business best. Just like any other industry, there are restoration companies who quote low in order to get your business, but don’t follow through. There are companies with accurate quotes who have complicated processes that hinder the restoration process.
In the end, it’s best to shop around, preferably before you find yourself needing restoration services. You need a restoration company that is loyal to you and your needs above all else.
What to look for
So what makes a good restoration company? Here are four important things to look for when hiring a CERM company:
- IICRC certification — Certified emergency restoration technicians have had professional training and proven they are qualified authorities in their field. They are held to high standards, and you can count on them to show that in their work.
- All work is guaranteed — Good restoration companies back all of their work with a customer satisfaction guarantee. They are up front about how they handle complaints, and they offer warranties.
- Professionalism — When looking for a restoration company, pay attention to how they present themselves. Note their online pictures of employees, vehicles, and worksites and how they interact with you when you call. How clearly and efficiently do their administrative, sales staff and technicians communicate? Are they the kind of company that presents a clean image, or are they sloppy? And what does that say about the quality of their work?
- Timeliness — The best emergency restoration companies operate with your needs in mind. That means they have the equipment, personnel, and expertise to respond to an emergency immediately and perform restoration services quickly to get your business up and running again as soon as possible.
Questions to ask before hiring
When interviewing restoration companies, it’s important to ask the right questions to get the right information. Here are some vital questions where the answer should always be “Yes.”
- Is your company insured?
- Is your company licensed and bonded?
- Do your technicians have necessary licensing and are certified by the IICRC?
- Are your technicians available 24/7?
- Do you give any guarantees?
In addition to these “yes” questions, ask about the company’s experience with restoration, such as what kind of projects they’ve done in the past and how long those projects took. You can also look for ratings and reviews of prospective companies online and ask them for a list of referrals so you can speak with past clients.
Hiring a CERM company doesn’t have to be hard, but it is necessary if you want to protect your business in the aftermath of a disaster and have your best chances of a speedy recovery.
Commercial Emergency Restoration Management Oklahoma Trusts
When you work with a trusted commercial restoration company to create your commercial emergency restoration management plan, you’re saving yourself a lot of trouble in the event of a disaster. The pros can help you cover everything important in your CERM and then follow the plan in an emergency.
Trilink Restoration Services is Oklahoma’s largest locally-owned restoration company. We are on-call 24/7 to help Oklahoma businesses prepare and follow their restoration plans. If you are ready to get started on yours, see our services and start your profile today for more information.