When businesses burn down they have not just lost their physical assets, they have lost customers and their staff in many cases lose their jobs. That is quite apart from the psychological damage that has been caused by the fire. UBC Faculty of Medicine states that
“The impact (of fire) varies according to a range of complex factors including the nature of the loss, the degree of impact and disruption on their lives, the aftermath, the person’s age and their level of psychological adjustment. Most people cope well with losses, although they may experience some degree of distress such as anxiety, depression or sleep disturbance. Grieving the loss of one’s cherished possessions is a natural psychological reaction, although most people are able to move on with their lives”.
From personal experience, waking up to a house fire, I was emotionally and psychologically fine after the fire. Or so I thought. About six years later I was studying, and the lecturer showed a fire training video and it triggered an emotional freak out within me. I had a melt-down moment when I realised that I have four children under the age of five and the fear that I could not save them all in the event of another fire. Even years after the fire, every time we had a BBQ or we went camping I would have to struggle to overcome my absolute fear of fire. It didn’t help to have two boys who were fascinated by fire … one threw an aerosol into a campfire and had his eyebrows and hair singed when it exploded; another time they almost set the neighbours house on fire.
When I started my career in Occupational Health & Safety, I realised I had to overcome my almost terror of fire. Learning to teach fire training helped me to overcome and take control of the variables. Knowledge gave me power. Understanding the mechanisms of fire and what was needed to put a fire out successfully and being able to use the equipment competently assisted greatly. I am still not 100% comfortable being around fire… truthfully I think that played a huge decision in our creating online fire training courses.