Dealer Emergency Fire Evacuation Plan
This is an urgent alert from All Risks, Ltd. to retail agents that currently insure auto dealerships in areas susceptible to wildfires.
2018 was a year of record-setting wildfire activity— particularly in California—with more than 55,000 wildfires across the U.S. taking a massive toll on human life and property. As such, the threat of catastrophic loss for dealerships due to wildfire has risen significantly.
The emergency fire evacuation plan is an important preparation tool for dealerships to help proactively reduce risk and losses in the event of a catastrophic wildfire threat. Below is a framework for your dealers to use to help create a plan that will work for them.
1. Designate a safe place for all vehicles to be relocated, while ensuring this area is outside the impacted evacuation zone.
2. Map out a primary evacuation route, including alternate routes in case the main intended route is blocked.
3. Create a communication plan for the use of dealer employees. Develop an alternate plan that everyone is comfortable with in case there is no landline or cell service. In certain emergencies, public safety officials will communicate evacuation orders and other emergency developments through various methods including the news media, social media and alert broadcasts to smartphones, and these can be valuable resources for the dealership.
4. Ensure that you have ample fuel in all of the inventory vehicles to reach the designated evacuation location, knowing that you may not be able to take your preferred evacuation route.
5. Management will actively monitor public safety announcements if a fire is located within the general area of the dealership. If there is a warning for the area, the dealer will immediately start the evacuation process. Fires can spread rapidly, unpredictably and without warning, so any delay could prevent an orderly evacuation.
6. Identify a key employee as the main contact (as well as multiple back-up contacts) that will operate outside the affected area; make sure everyone has these employees’ contact information so they can serve as a point of contact. Share cell phone numbers for texting, as text messages will often go through if voice service deteriorates or is disrupted.
7. Once the vehicles have been moved to the evacuation location, ensure a central log is kept and all vehicle keys are secured with designated employees.
8. Once the fire has been contained, key personnel will coordinate the return of vehicles to the dealership and log them back in to verify that there is no missing inventory.