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Fires and arson

Preventing accidental and deliberate fires

How can you as a business owner prevent or deter incidents of fire on your property whether they are accidents or deliberate actions (deliberate fires are commonly known as arson).

Your first consideration should be to have Security & Fire Risk Assessments of your work place. The Fire Risk Assessment is a requirement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This assessment will help you identify potential and actual fire risk. Options or actions will be laid out for you to rectify within certain time frames. The basic requirement is that each organisation must identify and nominate an individual as the 'responsible person'. That person's duty is then to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to eliminate the risk of fire on the premises. That person is you, if you own the business and/or the building. The security Assessment will identify weaknesses in your security procedures, physical and electrical security measures and how to rectify and reduce opportunities of crime. Remember a burglar can also start a fire, if they can`t get onto or into your premises they will have problems starting a fire.

You can find a number of qualified persons via a web search on or similar too, Essex - Security and Fire Safety Risk Consultants.  They will carry out the risk assessments for you and must present you with a written report.  The Essex County Fire & Rescue Service no longer issue Fire Safety Certificates.

Safety advice - outside the building

  • Do not stack flammable waste against on near your building. ie  wood, cardboard, plastics, oils, bottles of gas.
  • Always store in a large skips with metal covers or euro bins.   Store it and Cover It. Place them as far as possible away from the building but within your boundary.
  • Gas bottles should be stored in locked metal cages again if possible away from the building.
  • Oils, fuel whether unused or not should be stored in fire proof containers and secured.
  • Never store ignition and fuel sources together.
  • Arrangements should be made to have all the above if not required safely removed from your site as soon as possible by the local authority or licenced companies.
  • Consider security lighting and CCTV
  • Lock gates and secure all vehicles when not in use.

Safety - inside your building

  • Store fuel sources such as paper and cardboard in appropriate places like stationary cupboards and not near any ignition sources ie electrical consumer units, fires, hot works, heaters etc.
  • Empty waste bins at the end of the working day and clear desk tops.
  • Turn off or unplug equipment that does not need to be left on.
  • Ensure fire doors are kept closed. Unless linked to the fire alarm system and self-close.
  • Keep fire exit doors clear of rubbish and/or obstructions.
  • Secure windows and doors at the end of the working day.
  • Possibly install a sprinkler system or fire suppression system.
  • Consider installing Security and Fire Alarm Systems.
  • Carry out regular checks of your smoke detectors and fire fighting equipment.
  • Keep and maintain a Fire safety Log Book
  • Seek advice from your insurers; they may have certain conditions attached to your policy.

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