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Sentry Insurance’s Tips for Reducing the Risk of Fire

Q: Are there any specific fire exposures I should be concerned about at my dealership?

A: One of the biggest risks to a dealership comes from equipment left in the service area after-hours that have symptoms of electrical or fuel-related problems. Sometimes they ignite when no one’s there, damaging or destroying the building. Many cases share some similarities:

▶ Failure to recognize the danger: Often, employees didn’t identify or secure the equipment with fuel or electrical issues before closing the dealership.

▶ Precautions not taken: Batteries weren’t removed from the malfunctioning equipment, leaving the electrical system active overnight.

▶ Caught too late: The fires went undetected until the building was engulfed, providing little chance to limit the damages.

▶ Secondary damage: Smoke and water damage to the building caused as much destruction as the fire.

But there are things you can do to protect your business. These best practices can make a difference in avoiding a catastrophic loss:

▶ Ask if the equipment has shown any electrical, fuel system, or hydraulic problems when filling out a service-order.

▶ Tag the unit if any of these mechanical issues are mentioned so service technicians are aware of the elevated fire risk.

▶ Keep the equipment outside until the service work can be done all at once to avoid leaving it indoors after-hours or over the weekend.

▶ Pull all connections to the battery and note it on the service-order if the work can’t be completed immediately and the unit must be left inside overnight.

▶ Disconnect any charger connected to a battery overnight or during the weekend unless the battery is out of the equipment.

And to further reduce the overall risk of fire at your dealership:

▶ Replace temporary-use extension cords with permanent wiring for any need longer than two weeks.

▶ Have a qualified electrical contractor inspect your building’s entire electrical system every two years and perform any upgrades or repairs as soon as possible.

▶ Store dirty shop rags in a UL- or FM-approved commercial rag can to prevent spontaneous combustion fires.

By taking these simple steps, you can better protect your equipment dealership, giving you more peace of mind.

 

A: One of the biggest risks to a dealership comes from equipment left in the service area after-hours that have symptoms of electrical or fuel-related problems. Sometimes they ignite when no one’s there, damaging or destroying the building. Many cases share some similarities:

▶ Failure to recognize the danger: Often, employees didn’t identify or secure the equipment with fuel or electrical issues before closing the dealership.

▶ Precautions not taken: Batteries weren’t removed from the malfunctioning equipment, leaving the electrical system active overnight.

▶ Caught too late: The fires went undetected until the building was engulfed, providing little chance to limit the damages.

▶ Secondary damage: Smoke and water damage to the building caused as much destruction as the fire.

But there are things you can do to protect your business. These best practices can make a difference in avoiding a catastrophic loss:

▶ Ask if the equipment has shown any electrical, fuel system, or hydraulic problems when filling out a service-order.

▶ Tag the unit if any of these mechanical issues are mentioned so service technicians are aware of the elevated fire risk.

▶ Keep the equipment outside until the service work can be done all at once to avoid leaving it indoors after-hours or over the weekend.

▶ Pull all connections to the battery and note it on the service-order if the work can’t be completed immediately and the unit must be left inside overnight.

▶ Disconnect any charger connected to a battery overnight or during the weekend unless the battery is out of the equipment.

And to further reduce the overall risk of fire at your dealership:

▶ Replace temporary-use extension cords with permanent wiring for any need longer than two weeks.

▶ Have a qualified electrical contractor inspect your building’s entire electrical system every two years and perform any upgrades or repairs as soon as possible.

▶ Store dirty shop rags in a UL- or FM-approved commercial rag can to prevent spontaneous combustion fires.

By taking these simple steps, you can better protect your equipment dealership, giving you more peace of mind.


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