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Commercial Services


fire door keep shut

Commercial and residential premises

Active and passive prevention measures you can take.

Active prevention measures:

  1. A senior member of staff should be made actively responsible for fire safety and security on the premises.
  2. If there have been any small fires without an obvious, non-deliberate cause, on your own or neighbouring premises, inform the Police as well as calling the fire and rescue service. It could be a WARNING of worse to come.
  3. Entry to the building/site, should be restricted to one point of entry, if possible. This should be clearly indicated.
  4. Authorised visitors only to be allowed on site, supervised if necessary and clearly booked in and out.
  5. All outbuildings such as garages, storage sheds etc., should be secured when not in use.
  6. Keep watch for malingering strangers around the site, who might be 'staking the place out'.
  7. Prevent access to flat roofs.
  8. Key holders should be clearly identified and missing keys reported immediately so that suitable action can be taken to deal with the situation.
  9. Ensure all cupboards and storerooms, which are out of sight of staff, are locked shut when not in use, especially within escape routes.
  10. Do not store combustible materials, such as pallets, against fences or walls, where it would be easy for someone to ignite them.
  11. Ensure that skips and waste containers are kept locked shut when not immediately in use. They should be placed well away from window or door openings and combustible storage and should not be located beneath overhanging roofs e.g. loading areas. They should also be secured in position.
  12. Rubbish and dry undergrowth must be regularly cleared from the site.
  13. All flammable liquids must be stored in suitable lockable storage facilities.
  14. Doors should be kept closed when not in use. This can significantly reduce the spread of a fire within premises.
  15. Include Arson Prevention in your regular basic staff training.
  16. Access to and within the premises should be properly provided and maintained free of obstruction, to enable safe evacuation and fire service access, in the event of a fire.

Passive prevention measures:

  • Any fire detection system within the premises must be maintained in good working order. If no such system is installed it might be prudent to consider such an installation, possibly with an auto-dialler to call the fire and rescue service automatically
  • Outer fences, walls and gates, where provided, should be high enough and strong enough to discourage intruders. N.B. If they are of solid construction it will not be possible for others in the area to see what is going on inside the fenced area. This may allow criminal activity to be carried out undetected.
  • Doors and windows should be maintained in a good state of repair and should be kept locked shut when not in use. Security locks on doors, however, must not impede escape in case of fire.
  • Good quality locks and padlocks should be used where possible. (It should be remembered that the fire and rescue service carry means of cutting padlocks in emergency for access to premises)
  • Letter-boxes should be fitted with fire resisting internal containers to contain items 'posted' therein, or be externally located and fire resisting.
  • Security lighting around the premises should be adequate to illuminate any vulnerable areas around the site, and should be checked daily to ensure functionality and good condition. N.B. PIR operated lighting is especially useful for alerting others in the vicinity, whereas good all-round floodlighting acts as a general deterrent to miscreants.
  • CCTV installations should be provided / considered - even some dummy cameras can be good deterrents.
  • Thorny shrubs planted beneath windows are a good deterrent.
  • Adequate fire fighting equipment has to be provided and maintained to comply with the Fire Regulations. Selected staff have also to be trained in the safe use of all such equipment.
  • Derelict or unused buildings on your site should be cleared of all combustible materials and securely locked to prevent intruders. Very often drug abusers or vagrants, who may start fires to keep warm, or to hide evidence of their activities, enter such premises.
  • The spread of fire within or outside premises can be substantially reduced by careful storage practices. Stacks of combustible materials should be well spaced, or interspersed with non-combustible storage.
  • The issue or Arson Prevention should not be treated in isolation. It should be addressed regularly as part of all the other Fire Safety matters relating to the premises. The Fire Risk Assessment should be the prime vehicle through which such matters are addressed. The plan of action following such an assessment should be implemented at the earliest opportunity to deal with the matters identified as requiring attention.
  • An organisation's attitude towards fire safety issues will greatly influence the attitude of its staff. Staff are a major factor in reducing the risk of arson, and staff fire training should be taken very seriously, as lives and jobs could be at stake if there is a serious fire.

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