With many businesses now closed for the foreseeable future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, firefighters are urging all organisations to have safety arrangements in place to reduce the potential risks of arson, as well as other fire risks such as those caused by waste build up in unoccupied buildings.
As if the current circumstances weren’t challenging enough, it is an unfortunate fact that according to statistics provided by insurance companies, more than 80% of businesses that have a fire never recover from it and cease trading within as little as 18 months.
As most arson attacks are an unplanned opportunist crime, just a few simple steps can really help to follow protect your premises and therefore, your business.
- Ensure perimeter fences are secure and security lighting and CCTV (if installed) are working
- Consider installing anti-arson letterboxes on entry doors
- Check the building as regularly as possible and report any vandalism and anti-social behaviour as they may lead to fire-setting
- Keep external areas clear and tidy so intruders are visible and there is less to interest opportunists
- Waste should be in a secure area, away from buildings, not accessible through fencing
- Skips, recycling containers and bins should be kept away from building eaves or canopies
Other aspects of fire safety should also be considered during the lock down period for example, ensuring that all electrical devices are unplugged, that the fire alarm system is tested and working and the fire doors aren’t blocked. Also check that your insurance covers the site being closed for an extended period and if so, whether there are any additional steps the insurer expects you to take while the site is empty.
Only last week, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Roy Wilsher, said: “During these unprecedented times, the fire service is working hard to ensure the safety of the community, doing their upmost to protect the most vulnerable. However, it is unbelievable that we have seen a rise in deliberate fires reported in some areas in the past few days. All services are already under increased pressure; this is just piling more on to already stretched resources.”
Mr Wilsher also said the NFCC were urging people to carry out - and pay particular attention - to fire prevention methods in the home, which is especially important at a time when people are now spending more time at home. For more information, see our blog post ‘How to Keep Your Employees Safe Whilst Working at Home’.
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