On average, there are over 1600 deliberate fires, 50 Injuries and 2 deaths per week as a result of Arson attacks. The consequences of a fire, can be devastating on businesses, with the after-effects sometimes continuing for many months.
Ensuring your business is protected against the risk of fire, is of paramount importance to every business owner.
The following Top Ten Tips provides some useful guidelines in protecting your business against arson.
Top Ten Tips
1 – Be Alert!
School holidays are times of greatest activity for juvenile arsonists. Even greater precautions should be taken to protect businesses during school holidays. Check perimeter fences and enclosures for possible breaches.
2 – No Hiding Place
Deterrents to arsonists include good quality energy-efficient dusk to dawn lighting, which is vandal resistant. Avoid placing outdoor lighting at high levels, which can create dark shadows ideal for concealment. Roofs, entrance ways and porches should be assessed for ways of preventing casual access and to avoid providing hiding places for intruders.
3 – Keep Staff Informed
It’s vital to keep staff updated with fire safety routines and precautions. Regular information and training should be provided for all staff about fire safety measures in the workplace.
4 – Consult Your Staff
Getting your staff to continuously evaluate site safety is of great benefit. Encourage staff to identify potential problems and generate practical solutions that can achieve fire safety. They are the ones that are on-site every day and are best placed to spot potential hazards.
5 – Check Special Fire Risks
Some materials, such as rubber crumb, have been reported to have ignited spontaneously! Consult the product trade associations regularly for the materials your business handles to seek further guidance on the precautions to take.
6 – Organise Your Waste
Keeping your waste as organised as possible can reduce the possibility of fire. For example, keeping paper and card waste separate to combustible waste is obviously good sense. Waste should also be moved away from where it can be seen easily, and even locked away if possible, especially out of business hours.
7 – Permits to Hot Work
Poorly controlled hot work (welding, burning, etc.) can cause catastrophic fires. Where flammable materials are present, hot work should be risk assessed and effective measures put into place to reduce the risk of fire.
8 – Emergency Services Liaison
Build good lines of communication with your local Fire and Rescue Service to establish the most efficient means of liaison. In particular, the emergency services should be advised of all dangerous substances handled at your site.
9 – Regular Maintenance Routines
A schedule of regular maintenance is central to efficient fire safety routines. It is good practice that premises and any firefighting or detection equipment, emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance. This ensures premises and equipment are in efficient working order and good repair.
10 – Develop an Emergency Plan
The findings of your Fire Risk Assessment will help you to develop your Emergency Plan for your business. This forms the basis of the information and training you need to provide to staff for maintenance and testing of the fire precautions.
And remember, think ahead – arson is a reality! By preparing a Disaster Recovery Plan, you can minimise potential losses and disruption resulting from a fire. Putting plans in place will pay dividends in the event of a serious fire.