Arson is the single most common cause of fire on business premises. When you consider that the vast majority of businesses never fully recover from a serious fire, it’s well worth considering the steps you can take now to minimise the risk of arson occurring in the first place, and the protection you need in place in case the worst should happen.
Most arson attacks take place as a result of opportunistic vandalism, but there are a wide range of simple steps – set out below – that you can take to minimize the threat to your business. It’s also vital to check the details of your insurance policy and ensure you comply with its terms, conditions and warranties which may actually require you to take certain steps – failure to do so could prejudice any claims you make.
Here are a few recommendations worth considering to help reduce the arson threat to your business:
1. Arrange an arson risk assessment
Ensure an arson risk assessment is carried out by a competent person as part of an overall fire risk assessment. This is required under fire safety legislation. The assessment should be formally documented and reviewed regularly.
2. Tighten up your security protection
The arson risk assessment will help to highlight the security measures you should put in place. You should also pay attention to any specific requirements of your insurers. These are some simple, cost effective measures to deter vandals and arsonists:
- Install and maintain perimeter security – walls, fences and gates.
- Keep the fabric of the building in good repair and remove graffiti promptly to ensures vandals are not attracted to the premises.
- Install an intruder alarm with remote signalling to an alarm receiving centre – consider remotely monitored CCTV.
- Install security lighting, but ensure you don’t provide ‘working light’ for intruders.
- Ensure gaps beneath external doors are small.
- Fit approved metal containers to the inside of letterboxes.
- Limit the number of entrances in use, but never lock fire exits.
- Install an Automatic Fire Detection System and sprinklers.
- Ensure all locks to windows and doors are in full working order.
- Use staff or guards to manage security. Install an intruder alarm with remote signalling to an alarm receiving centre – consider remotely monitored CCTV.
3. Encourage staff to be arson aware
Educate your employees about the risk of arson and the precautions they should take. Encourage them to:
- Challenge strangers on the premises and report suspicious behaviour.
- Supervise any contractors and visitors to the premises.
- Keep tight control of all keys to the premises.
- Secure the property at the end of each working day.
4. Remove and secure waste material
Remove waste materials at the end of each working day or more frequently if necessary. Ensure waste is put in bins or skips securely sited at least 10m from the buildings and at least 2m from the site perimeter or in lockable metal containers located as far away from doors and windows, canopies or overhanging roofs as possible. Flammable liquids and gases should be securely locked away.
Don’t let your hard-earned profits go up in smoke – talk to the professionals at C&M Insurance.
Knowing the risks facing your business and taking the necessary steps to mitigate them is one side of the coin; putting adequate insurance in place is the other.
A robust insurance policy that will protect both your business premises and its contents and allow you to get up and running again as quickly as possible is vital for any business, regardless of your size or industry sector.
The experienced insurance brokers at C&M Insurance have extensive knowledge in this area. Experienced professionals are on hand to advise you on the fire and other risks your business faces and work with you to find the right level of protection you.