Protecting your workplace from arson

In the year 2015/16, according to statistics released by the government, there were 4,434 deliberate fires started in non-dwelling premises. These deliberate fires are more commonly known by the term ‘arson’. Arson can destroy businesses and even result in fatalities.

As with any type of fire, many people overlook the risks involved, thinking that the odds of it ever happening to their commercial premises are too small to worry about. While there is obviously only blame apportioned to the culprit when it comes to arson, many companies could reduce the risk of exposure to an arson attack by taking a look at some of our tips below.

Protecting your workplace from arson

Waste

The materials you keep on site need to be considered when seeking to protect your premises from arson, but what you do with your waste is especially important as it could be used as fuel for a fire.

  • Keep all waste in a secure area, preferably in a lockable bin. Never pile it up outside your building or in an area where it’s easy to get at.
  • When it comes to hazardous waste, ensure you’ve taken extra precautions and arranged for it to be taken away by a licensed company.
  • If your waste is overflowing or piling up on a regular basis, arrange for a more regular collection to reduce the amount of materials on site at any given time.

Best Practice

It can be easy to become lax in your procedures, so take time to address any glaring errors in your company’s best practice rules.

  • Regular fire risk assessments are great way of identifying any arson risks specific to your building. By carrying out regular checks, you can adapt to any changes in business or the structure of the building.
  • Routine checks on your waste levels and general tidiness might seem pedantic, but it will help you to spot any changes which need addressing.
  • With many businesses usually tied into an area with other businesses – think shopping centres or business parks – it’s important to share local information. This helps to protect your own business as well as those around you.

Security

Not every company can afford a security guard to roam their site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but there are changes you can make to better protect your business.

  • If you don’t already have CCTV at your site, this as a great additional security feature to deter arsonists. As with most criminals, any sign of detection can give them second thoughts about carrying out criminal acts.
  • While it might seem obvious, you should ensure that your building is locked up properly when closed. This includes as entry and exit points as well as windows – don’t give criminals easy access.
  • A common way for arsonists to start a fire inside your property without gaining entry is to use your letterbox. To hinder this technique, consider getting a letterbox attachment which catches mail on the inside of the door in a container, this should prevent fires from taking hold as easily.

Staff

Key to almost everything in your business, your staff can be crucial in defending their workplace against arson. You needn’t put your staff at risk either, simply utilise them better overall.

  • Training for your staff is vital when it comes to fire safety – if they know how to spot issues in relation to protecting your business from arson then it will be time well spent.
  • Often, limiting staff access to certain areas of your site can help ward off arson attacks. Personal or otherwise, if there are security blocks in place to stop people gaining access, the less likely you are to have an arsonist gain entry.
  • All staff should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity they spot. This can be in the form of ensuring strangers are not permitted on site, but also reporting any threats received so that they can be dealt with – preferably by emergency services.

It’s also important to factor arson into your fire risk assessment, ensuring that you’re always on the lookout for ways to prevent arson. Every business is different, so be sure to tailor your checks to your premises, it’s function and the level of traffic on site.

At Elite Fire, we can help you factor arson into your fire risk assessment and give you more guidance on how to combat the threat of this devastating criminal damage.