Fire, Security & Electrical Blog

#3 The Ignited Issue: Arson Prevention & Knowing Where The Buck Stops

#3 The Ignited Issue: Arson Prevention & Knowing Where The Buck Stops

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Last Updated on 22 September 2022.

This week we’re stepping over to the dark side and talking a little bit taboo.

Unfortunately, we’re not going to be turning down the heat in this issue – but you don’t need to worry, that’s just a metaphor! But there are, no doubt, going to be some elements of what you read that might make you a little warm around the collar.

But don’t fret, that’s why we’re here and why you’re reading this. Every week, our aim is to bring you helpful tips and hardcore facts to help you nail your safety management strategy, so you’re protecting your people and your premises as best you can.

There are two key areas we’re going to be focusing on in this issue:

1) Arson

2) Responsibilities

Billy Joel, you might not have started it, but singing in front of it isn’t doing you any favours.

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Let’s start with arson…

Yes – we’re going there.

According to the London Fire Brigade:

Nearly 60% of businesses never recover after a fire.

That’s pretty insane. Now, rather than talk about all the negatives of arson and what you could be doing wrong – let’s talk about what you can do to protect your business or premises.

Here are 10 things you can do to prevent, delay or mitigate against arson (you don’t need to do all of these things, as every size, footfall, stock and operational worth all vary building to building):

  1. Don’t allow easy access to flammable materials
  2. Consider installing CCTV and/or an intruder alarm
  3. Think about installing monitoring (i.e. emergency response) on your fire and/or intruder alarm
  4. Ensure fire exit doors are kept closed and are regularly serviced
  5. Ensure fire exit doors and routes are kept clear of obstructions
  6. Install a fire suppression system, such as sprinklers
  7. Determine the risk factors your property faces with a Fire Risk Assessment and/or contracting your insurers
  8. Ensure all fire, security and CCTV systems, from your alarm systems to your extinguishers, are all regularly serviced and faults are immediately acted upon
  9. Stay informed about arson attacks and report any suspicious activities
  10. Ensure all staff members are adequately trained in how to respond in the event of a fire

(You might recognise a couple of fire safety underdogs, such as fire doors and fire safety training, from our last Future Proofed newsletter, ‘The Hero Issue’.)

To learn more about arson prevention and how to employ the above tips, have a read of our full article on arson prevention here.

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You owe it to the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into cultivating your business to take care of it.

It might be that you’re doing everything right, but it does pay to do a little audit every so often to make sure you’re not missing anything that might make you easy prey for an arsonist. That’s why we’re highlighted Fire Risk Assessments in the list above.

Action: Find out when your last Fire Risk Assessment was! If it was more than a year ago, read through it and decipher if your building has changed at all (risks change as buildings do! And risk assessments must be reflective of buildings in their current state). Also, take a look to see if all the previously highlighted actions were rectified.

Next up on the list is an area even more contentious than arson…

The duties of the Responsible Person…

We often get asked by customers whether fire safety (and general health and safety) responsibilities lie with them or their landlord…and where there’s no landlord, is it with the business owner or the person who generally manages the premises day-to-day?

…Because sometimes the person “in charge” isn’t always there or the person doing things like weekly fire alarm testing.

The truth of the matter is: everyone is responsible for their own safety.

However, there are people who assume that because their name isn’t above the door, their responsibilities are diminished.

Peggy Mitchell (the Mitchells generally) were obsessed about having their name above the door in Eastenders…but since The Queen Vic is the most dangerous business in soapland history, I’m not sure who’ll want to accept title of ‘Responsible Person’ there…

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Similarly, some people who have their names above the door but delegate duties elsewhere, believe they’re passing the buck of responsibility over.

Both are wrong. Here’s how to make it right…

We’ve written a post all about how to identify the ‘Responsible Person’ for fire safety, and what their responsibilities actually include, which you can read here.

Action: Do you know who the Responsible Person is in your building for fire safety? If you don’t find out. If you think it might be you, establish clear lines of responsibility and click the link about to do an audit of your duties.

That’s it for this week! Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know your fire safety strategies to help keep your people and premises safe 👍

Thanks for reading!

And contact us today if you need help with your fire safety strategy…

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