Holiday cheer may quickly turn into a big headache for small business owners this holiday season. Recent research has found that more than $375 million of property damage can be attributed to fires resulting from Christmas decorations.
To help small businesses keep the holiday season happy and safe, Travelers insurance has the following tips.
- Pick decorations wisely—Dried holly or live Christmas trees, garland and evergreens are highly combustible. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. Keep live evergreens well-watered to limit flammability.
- Be careful where you place decorations— If using holiday lighting, remember to keep exits and aisles clear of decorations to help prevent trips and falls, as well as to avoid blocking escape routes. Use candles sparingly and with supervision.
- Limit the potential for slips, trips and falls—Prepare for the winter weather and have a proper accident response for both employees and customers. This process allows employees to get the necessary care and attention they need in a prompt fashion from a qualified physician. It is also important to review and update your workers' compensation policy to ensure that you are adequately protected. In light of increased traffic on the roads (a quarter of Americans will be taking a road trip according to AAA), business owners should keep in mind the importance of safe driving.
- Have a higher inventory level— Higher inventory levels, hot items and increased cash flow during the busy season may cause an increased opportunity for theft, so ensure you business is staffed properly during the busy periods in the late afternoon and evening, and take extra precautions in laying out your merchandise.
- Have a plan—Have a business continuity plan in place that outlines roles and responsibilities during a fire or other emergency, and employees are educated on how to implement the plan. A recent Travelers survey found that almost half of businesses do not have a business continuity plan in place.