We carry out Fire and DSEAR assessments across the UK and on many of the sites we visit they appear to give little consideration to the possibility of Arson. That is despite it being one of the main causes of workplace fires in the UK.
In one county alone the Fire Brigade has identified that arson accounts for 72% of fire related incidents. During 2011/12 arson cost the people of Cleveland £16.7 million. Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the cost of arson across the area increased by over £2.7million.
Clearly fire is a major risk to business so why then do so many businesses overlook Arson? The Brigade warns that Arson often:
- Results in death or injury;
- Leads to significant damage to the community and the environment;
- Puts fire-fighters lives in danger and has a massive financial impact on our service;
- Leads to significant financial damage to businesses.
Recently, a single arson attack at a wood recycling plant in Stockton on Tees cost almost £750,000 in fire service costs alone, it’s been revealed. Twenty-four fire appliances attended the massive blaze at the Jigsaw recycling plant in Port Clarence in March. Crews worked round the clock for nine days after being called out to the blaze on Saturday 10 March. It took eight days to get the fire under control and another day to damp down. At the height of the fire 10 crews were at the scene, with water being pumped directly from the River Tees.
The fire at the Jigsaw plant demonstrates just how much arson is costing the Fire Service and ultimately the taxpayers. Clearly these costs don`t account for what it costs the business and many fail to recover from such a major disaster event. So what should your business be doing to keep itself Arson safe?
Well, for starters, you need to ensure your fire risk assessment properly covers this area as many really don`t (in our experience). All too often we find large volumes of waste outside buildings in uncontrolled areas; hazardous chemicals and gases not kept securely, and even poor control of vegetation growth. All factors that could increase the risk of Arson.
So our advice to you is take the time to have a look at your fire risk assessment and see if you are Arson safe as the stats show that it’s a key contributor to fires in the UK.