Arson: Considered protection from a deliberate threat
At Keybury we help local businesses, landlords and community groups to protect their premises from a number of threats. One threat we’ve seen a lot of recently is arson. There are around 5,500 arson attacks each year in the UK. Local schools, sports groups and even the famous Ilkley Moor have been victims of arson and criminal damage in 2019.
Business Safety Week
The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Business Safety Week again raised the question of how best to protect businesses from arson. Nearly 30% of fires in non-residential premises in the UK are deliberate according to the NFCC and the majority of these are in private non-residential and public buildings.
Arson is on the increase, with 15% more deliberate fires occurring in 2017/18 than in 2014/15. These incidents divert fire & rescue service resources away from other emergency situations. They risk life and destroy businesses; Some never recover from an arson attack.
You may be surprised to learn that most arson attacks are not planned. Businesses can take steps to deter opportunists, which means increasing their security. If you’re concerned about the risk of arson at your premises you could invest in a CCTV system and security lighting. Both are well documented to deter criminals. Lock up procedures can help to protect your property; locking windows and doors and using an intruder alarm reduce your risk of falling victim to crime.
It’s also a good idea to ensure the perimeter of your property is secure with the National Fire Chiefs Council suggesting that “Perimeter security, security lighting, CCTV reduce opportunist intrusion.”. This could be as simple as making sure your perimeter fence isn’t damaged and locking the gateway to your property. It could be more high-tech; perimeter security systems which give the owner alerts whenever a perimeter line is breached are very popular with our commercial customers.
It’s really important not to provide fuel for the fire! Clear rubbish away quickly and keep bins in a secure lock up away from your building if possible. Rubbish left lying around can be used to start a fire and if it is close to a building it can quickly spread. The NFCC advise businesses never to place skips under eaves or canopies. It’s important to make sure your fire risk assessment includes an analysis of the fire risk posed by rubbish on your premises. If you’re not confident in what’s required for a fire risk assessment for your business, you can enlist the services of consultant to carry this out for you.
Staff training in fire safety and security will help to protect your business. Your staff are often the people opening up in the morning and locking up at night. Make sure everyone has the correct permissions on your security system and know the security routines. They’re the ones putting the rubbish out and taking the deliveries in, so it’s important that they follow the advice above. Vigilant staff might notice something amiss, perhaps someone snooping around the premises, which should be reported.
Call for help
If a fire should start on your premises then a working fire alarm is crucial. Routine maintenance is not only important to make sure that your system is working, but it’s also a requirement. Businesses that regularly test their fire alarms and have a practised evacuation plan in place can be confident that their staff will know what to do in case of an emergency. Monitored fire alarms are sometimes a requirement of insurance. They give building owners the peace of mind that the fire are rescue service will be on hand should there be a fire on the premises.
Keybury are well placed to protect businesses from arson attacks, as we install and maintain both fire protection and security solutions. Head across to our commercial pages to find out how we can protect your premises or contact us for a free site survey.