A couple of weeks ago we brought you this article which told of a fire at the Snapp-Bearden Funeral Home and Crematory in Branson, Missouri. Today we bring you this update article that appeared recently in the Branson Tri-Lakes News.
Acording to the article, after operating for more than 35 years adjacent to the Ozarks Memorial Park Cemetery, the Snapp-Bearden Funeral Home was declared a “complete loss” after the fire of February 13.
Since that time, however, funeral director/owner Darrel Bearden has commented that the business has been able to offer services by working out of their location in north Branson. He also commented that they have been fortunate that other area funeral homes and churches have offered space as well.
At this point, the company is working with an architect and planning to construct a new facility. Bearden added that they hope to see some major progress in the next six months.
One of the fortunate things Bearden comments in the article on is that firefighters were able to retrieve nearly 100% of the funeral home business records. He suggests that it would be hard to replicate and know what people had listed for funeral and memorial choces in pre-arrangements if those records had been destroyed.
Again, according to the article, the cause of the fire is still under investigation and there were no injuries during the fire. In addition, no bodies were in the building at the time of the fire.
Funeral Director Daily take: Since this fire my hometown has also been affected by a fire on our historic main street that claimed four business housed in 1880 era buildings. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this fire also. It was also amazing to see a 100% volunteer fire department do their work in stopping the blaze from consuming more of our historic downtown area.
The two fires – one to a funeral business and one to my hometown historic district – has given me a chance to reflect on “preparation”. When I was in charge of a funeral business I always had a contingency plan in case we had to move our work due to a fire or some other reason. I also was certain to have up to date insurance for our building and business.
However, upon reflection after these two fires, I’m not so certain I was as prepared as I should have been. Seeing some of my community friends dealing with the ramifications of the fire has given me new meaning for “preparedness”. Such natural occurrences as which way the wind was blowing has made a big difference on other business owners and how they have been affected by the community fire. The early morning fire had plumes of black smoke that was carried downwind as far as half a mile and sucked into buildings by air exchangers. Those buildings, while not having a burning fire in them, have certainly been affected with smoke damage that has caused some to close while that issue is remediated.
I also think of the Snapp-Bearden fire and the pre-arrangements. If there is something that us funeral directors/owners can learn from this experience it may be to make sure that our pre-arrangements and/or financial records are located in a fire proof/waterproof safe. It’s also imperative that we learn that our financial records, if kept electronically, need to be backed up and the back up be kept off premises, in the cloud, or in that fire proof safe.
Finally, a check up annually with your insurance agent just to go over all the details seems to be a best practice exercise. While you are virtually certain to have replacement insurance for your building, do you have insurance that will cover rents and other miscellaneous costs you might have while working our of another facility for up to a year?
Sometimes it takes a jolt for us to think about those things that could happen to our businesses. Try to use these jolts to better your own business plans and make sure you are ready if something like this happened to you.
Here is a link to the website for the Snapp-Bearden Funeral Home