Would you be ready if a fire hit your golf operation?

Eric J. von Hofen
A fire can happen in the blink of an eye and when you least expect it. Here are some tips that you might want to follow before your golf course is faced with the worst day in it’s history. I would have the following information stored two ways, one a external drive and the other on a flash drive. Leave one copy at home and the other in your clubhouse. Remember that when a fire strikes, everything is gone. You will not have access to your office, computer, phones, irrigation system or building. I remember coming to work the next day and the only thing I could get out of the building was three rakes and two carts. I lost everything including my college diploma. See my office below.
Eric J. von Hofen

Information that needs to be backed up and stored off site:
-Have an updated equipment list with serial numbers, hour meters and pictures. Include the purchase date and cost at that time.
-Employee contact numbers.
-Irrigation programs and pump totals.
-Chemical and fertilizer records with the current inventory list.
-Gas and diesel inventory list.
-Vendor contact numbers.
-Member and club officials contact and email information.
-The clubs insurance contact information.
-Local and state fire marshall contact information.

The day after the fire has to be a controlled media event. Golfers, owners, staff, and insurance companies are the only people you need to worry about. At that time you probably will not know what caused the fire so you will only be able to confirm that “yes we had a fire” and that is it. Your burned up building will be jumping with local fire officials and the state fire marshall. These guys worked together and in about one hour they had it narrowed down to a five foot area where my fire started. Ten minutes later they found the cause and pulled out the remains of a electric golf cart charger. The fire marshall said “you might want to lock this up, it’s going to be worth a million dollars”. I took his advice and hide the charger until the insurance team showed up. He was right the fire was a $1.2 million dollar loss.
Eric J. von Hofen

Over the next month you will have every fire clean up company and insurance adjustor show up wanting to help you and offer to review your insurance policy. They have a great scam telling you that they can put together claim so you don’t have to worry about. Sounds great but they will take 30% of the insurance payout. Not a good deal at all. This is when your records will be worth gold. These records will also be very important if your equipment is leased. The lease company now has nothing to pick at the end of the lease and you have nothing to maintain your course with. Now what do you do? The insurance company will have to settle with the lease company and you will have to put together a new equipment package.

Keep a clean maintenance building, back up your information and look for any fire hazards on a daily basis. Make proper equipment repairs and train your staff on fire protection. Sounds petty but it sure pays off.

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