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Arson – The burning issue

Recent local headlines serve as a timely reminder to us all that one of the greatest fire-related risks is that of an arson attack.

Statistically, it is suggested that as much as 40% of fires in commercial premises are deliberately set. Furthermore, fires that have been started on purpose tend to develop quicker and ultimately do more damage than a fire that has started ‘naturally’. This is because the arsonist chooses his fuel and usually adds a little accelerant such as petrol.


Who is at risk?

Nobody can afford to be complacent about arson, but typically certain premises are easier targets, for example:

  • Industrial estates which are largely unoccupied at night and over weekends
  • Socially deprived areas
  • Healthcare premises
  • Unoccupied buildings


How can I reduce the risk?

An effective anti-arson strategy will often go hand in hand with general security arrangements. Good levels of lighting, secure building entry points and perimeter CCTV are all good deterrents to the arsonist. Make sure that it is difficult to get behind the premises and out of sight.

Waste bins are also prime arson targets. If possible they should be stored in a secure area away from the building. Alternatively, they can be locked shut or chained in a location away from the building where they can cause little damage if they are ignited.

Letterboxes are also a vulnerable point, and a metal mailbox fitted behind the letterbox is a good way to contain any burning material which could be pushed through the letterbox.

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