Recovering IT systems after a fire

If there’s one thing that’s worse for delicate IT equipment than fire, it’s water. Unfortunately, emergency response crews are rarely able to do anything to mitigate the damage caused by their equipment as they are too busy tackling the inferno and ensuring that everyone is safe. This means that when you start assessing the situation after the fire, you may be effectively dealing with both a fire and a flood. As expert fire and flood restoration professionals, the Cornerstone team have years of experience dealing with just such scenarios. 

Evaluating the damage 

Safety is critical at every step of recovering IT systems after a fire so the structural integrity of the building and any affected areas must be assessed. Electrical, gas and heating systems will also need to be checked for leaks or damage as this could be a real danger to those working on the site. At this point, an assessment of the value of the damage may be done for insurance purposes as well as estimates of the cost to restore the site to its former state. 

Preventing further damage

Before recovery can occur, you need to prevent further damage. Ideally, this should be done by professionals, but if that’s not possible then, when it is safe to do so, it’s important to remove as much water, foam and debris from the area as possible. It’s also essential to seal up any broken windows, doors, holes in the wall or roof, and any other point where wind, rain, animals or looters might enter. Damage from the weather, pests and vandalism can further complicate recovery efforts. At this point, it may be possible to remove IT equipment for off-site assessment and repair.

Recovering data

Depending on the progress of the blaze, your IT equipment may have been affected by one or all of smoke, fire, heat, foam and water. Some equipment may also have suffered shocks due to falling from its rack or having masonry land on it. Any of these hazards can utterly destroy a server, laptop or other IT equipment, but in a surprisingly large number of cases it is possible for experienced professionals to recover some data from a damaged machine. Before recovery is initiated, it’s important to understand the costs involved; the chances of successful recovery; and to assess the value of data recovered. For example, if all company emails and data are backed up to an off-site server every night, then you might not think it’s worth the cost to try to recover a day’s work. If, on the other hand, all your customer and product data was in the server which was affected, then the effort would be worthwhile. 

Recreating your workspace 

At Cornerstone we offer as-new restoration services covering both the structural and decorative elements of a building. This means that we can undertake to put your office back just the way it was – although we’ll leave covering the desks in paper and filling the sink with dirty coffee cups up to you. This includes working with experts to install specialist IT systems. We can also work with you and your insurance company to agree on any additional measures which might be needed to prevent a recurrence or minimise the damage should another fire occur.