Arson in the Workplace

Arson remains the largest single cause of fire in England and Wales and research has estimated that the overall annual cost of arson to the economy in this area is around £2.53 billion.

The human cost has also been high. In the last decade there have been around 2.3 million deliberate fires resulting in over 25,000 injuries and over 900 deaths.

In an average week in England, arson results in:-

1600 deliberately set primary fires, 50 injuries, and 2 deaths. There were 4,950 deliberate fires in non-dwelling premises during the 2013-2014 period.

How to prevent Arson

To help prevent Arson we recommend the following -

*Ensure all external and internal doors are locked and closed.

*Anti-social behaviour near your premises can often lead to arson. Report anti-social behaviour to the police or your neighbourhood watch. 

*CCTV and Security lighting  can be an effective deterrent against arson attacks and provide proof of an arson attack.

*Avoid an accumulation of refuse/waste outside the premises as this can be a target for arsonists.

*Ensure any fire accelerants are stored securely.

* Keep informed about arson attacks in the area by contacting your local Fire and Rescue Service.

*Employ night time security if your premises are large and particularly susceptible.

*External letterboxes installed to the wall eliminate the risk of someone posting flammable materials through the front door.

*Arson attacks often take place inside the premises during business hours, it’s not just after-hours. Resentful employees have been known to start fires.

*Ensure control procedures are in place for all site visitors. Monitor who enters and exits your building. Signing in procedures should be in place for all visitors. These procedures could help identify the person responsible should an attack take place. 

*Most arson attacks occur at night. it’s especially important that you secure your building when locking up.

*Ensure all windows and doors are locked, and seal spaces between the door and the ground. An  anti-arson letterbox is recommended. It’s a metal tin that is installed over your letterbox. If a burning material is posted into your premises, the letterbox will contain it.

*Secure your bin area. Bins contain flammable items, such as paper, packaging, cardboard etc. Make sure that your bins are kept locked shut at and emptied on a regular basis.

*Install perimeter fencing if possible. This is especially important for premises with a high amount of combustible materials. Make perimeters secure and consider installing security lighting and CCTV (to support a prosecution needs to be 4 megapixels and 1080p res)

*Ensure flammable gases or liquids are kept in a locked secure location.

*Include arson attacks in your Fire Risk Assessment as this will help you identify what is required to possibly eliminate further attacks.

For further information - see National Fire Chiefs Council