Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F24

FIXED OPS JOURNAL
PUT OUT FIRE RISKS
Safety routines can help prevent disasters in service department, expert says
John Hyland is president of direct writer for
Sentry Insurance, which currently insures more
than 3,000 dealerships and automotive service
shops. He spoke with Editor Dan Shine about
the fi re risks in dealerships and how to prevent
them. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Can you give some background on
dealership fi res and what's happening
around the industry?
A: Dealership fi res are a multi million-dollar
problem for the industry. We see specifi c
challenges within dealership service centers,
where signifi cant amounts of fl ammable liquids,
combustible materials
and built-in electrical
systems all serve as
potential trigger points.
Th e result of these fi res
cost dealerships their facility
and months of inJOHN
HYLAND
terruption
while they rebuild. When those operations
come to a halt, revenue stops. At
some point, customers need their vehicles
serviced in the months after a fi re, leading
them to competitors. You can replace facilities,
but it's much harder to rebuild your relationships
and customer base.
What are the most common fi re risks
for dealerships ?
Vehicles brought in for service with electrical
or fuel-related problems. Staff leave the
vehicle unattended in the building overnight,
and a spark occurs. Unfortunately, many
dealerships aren't aware a problem exists until
they get a call that a fi re destroyed their facility.
Th
ink of vehicles with electrical issues like a
time bomb. Th ey have gallons of fl ammable
liquid wired to an electrical system that isn't
working properly. You wouldn't consciously
leave a risk like that in the middle of your
building, but unfortunately, it happens. It's
why we encourage dealers to store vehicles
outside overnight.
It doesn't sound like the dangers are
necessarily new. Why do you suspect
this continues to be such a large risk
for dealerships?
Many dealerships haven't experienced a fi re
yet, which can create a false sense of security.
Exposures are constantly changing. Vehicles
PAGE 24
OCTOBER 2021
OCTOBER 2021
have more electrical components than ever
before. When we're talking with dealers, our
goal is to give them the information necessary
to identify and manage their risks. Th at way
they can build safety practices that help prevent
a large loss from occurring. Th e key is
forming a routine, acting immediately and establishing
safety as a must-have in your dealership's
habits.
What are examples of safety gaps dealerships
might be overlooking?
Do your due diligence. Ask customers if
their vehicle is showing signs of electrical, fuel
or hydraulic issues. Make sure you fl ag vehicles
with those symptoms.
And then don't leave fl agged vehicles in
your service area overnight. It's a multi million-dollar
mistake. We also encourage dealerships
to disconnect batteries and avoid vehicle
charging overnight.
How can dealerships prevent a fi re from
happening ?
It's all about making safety part of the dealership
culture. A good place to start is working
with your insurer. When we insure dealerships,
our safety team walks their staff through
risk scenarios and helps them develop a safety
program unique to their business. We'll also
help dealerships recognize risks, understand
loss trends and identify safety gaps. Th ink of
all the essential processes that dealerships
strictly adhere to. Is safety one of them?
Dealerships can't follow safety practices occasionally
because risks exist all the time. We
want to build relationships and establish a
mutual trust that we're just as invested in their
safety as they are.
What three things can dealerships do
right now to protect their service department
from a fi re?
1. Identify your risks. Check vehicles for electrical,
fuel or hydraulic issues.
2. Reduce your risks. De-energize fl agged vehicles
by disconnecting batteries and cutting
off fuel fl ow.
3. Isolate your risks. Park fl agged vehicles outside
and at least 30 feet away from anything
that could burn, including buildings and other
vehicles. 
Vehicles with electrical or
fuel-related problems are the
most common fi re risks for
service departments, Sentry
Insurance's John Hyland says.
QA&

Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F24
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F25
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F26
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F27
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F28
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F29
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F30
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F31
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2021 - F32
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