Fire is major threat to all businesses, which can be devastating both emotionally and financially. There are many fire safety precautions you can put in place, but there is still always a risk that something can go wrong or you can be the victim of an arson attack. Statistics show that the number of deliberate fires has risen 12% between 2014/2015-2015/2016. And the number of fires in ‘other buildings’ not classed as dwellings is also up. So what can you do to protect your business from arson? Read our guide to find out more.
Are your business premises a potential arson target?
All commercial properties are a potential target for arsonists. As a first step, you’ll need to carry out an arson risk assessment as part of your comprehensive fire risk assessment. This is required under fire safety legislation.
Next, you’ll need to put preventative procedures into place. This needs to be very thorough but as a general guide you could follow the 4S approach:
- Smoke detection
- Staff responsibility
Waste and hazardous materials that are used by your business need to be stored properly.
- For example, all waste should be removed at the end of the day, or more frequently if needed, to prevent them being set alight by arsonists
- Additionally, waste materials should be kept in bins at least 10m from your building and 2m from the site perimeter
- Also, you should try to minimise the number of wooden pallets or other combustibles on your site as they are a magnet to potential arsonists. If you have to have them, try to keep them in different areas to help control the size of any fire if they are set alight
- Finally, any flammable materials, like liquids and gases, need to be stored securely. If you have any petrol or diesel pumps on site, make sure they are immobilised at the end of each day
Taking extra steps to improve security can help to deter would-be arsonists.
- Firstly, make sure that doors and windows are locked as this will help to deter intruders
- Next, check your perimeter fence and any gates daily to ensure they are in good working order to prevent potential arsonists for accessing your property
- Take the time to check the size of any gaps under doors. Could someone push something under it and set it on fire? If so, get the gaps filled
- Another idea is to line the inside of your letterbox with a metal container. This will contain any fire that someone may attempt to light by pushing items through the letterbox
- Likewise, any unused letterboxes should be sealed to prevent items being pushed through and set alight
- Install extra security lighting and CCTV as a preventative deterrent to would-be arsonists. Some CCTV systems can be monitored remotely. This allows a faster response if a fire does occur, which can help minimise the damage caused
- Also consider using a security company to undertake manned patrols of your premises during the night. This can be a cost-effective solution for extra peace of mind
Investing in a good smoke detection system can help limit any damage caused.
- Link your smoke detector to a monitoring centre. This will ensure rapid response to any fire, helping to limit any damage caused
- Also consider installing a sprinkler system, which can effectively help to stop the spread of any fire
Your staff can also play an important role in reducing the risk of arson attacks and keeping your premises safe from fire.
- Firstly, encourage staff to challenge any strangers spotted on premises
- Next, make sure any contractors on site are aware of fire safety procedures and requirements
- Finally, put into place an effective closedown procedure to limit fire risk. Make sure the building and premises are inspected each day at lock-up. This is to ensure hazardous materials are safely locked away, everyone is out of the building, and waste has not been left lying around
Commercial insurance for your peace of mind
Whatever your business, speak to Park Insurance for comprehensive commercial insurance cover. We’re an independent, family-run, broker with a deep understanding of the various challenges and risks your business faces. From insuring your premises against arson attacks to business travel insurance, we’ll build a bespoke package that suits your specific needs and budget. That means you’ll get the cover your business can count on at the right price for you. Give our friendly team a call on 0117 955 6835 or get in touch for a free quote today.