How To Prevent Arson From Happening To Your Business
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, since the year 2000, arson-related fires have caused over $800 million dollars in property loss on average each year. Why is it difficult to deter these crimes? Generally because most arson attacks occur at night and on weekends when businesses are vacant.
Arson can have devastating financial and emotional affects on a business. Both business owners and their employees need to be on the alert. Many of the same precautions taken to discourage burglars can also discourage arsonists. By taking a few preventative steps, you can minimize the possibility of arson happening to your business.
Improve General Security
- Train employees to always secure all doors, windows, skylights – especially entrances on alleys.
- Install and use a monitored burglar alarm system.
- Don’t allow landscaping to provide camouflage or hiding places around the building.
- Keep all windows visible from the parking lot and street.
- Keep your property well-lighted at night.
- Train employees to be watchful of strangers and to immediately report any suspicious actions, whether they are fire-related or not.
- Ask your neighbors to keep watch over your business when you are closed or are away.
Take Fire Prevention Steps
- Install smoke detectors, automatic and tamper-proof sprinklers and other fire safety equipment.
- Regularly check and replace batteries on smoke detectors.
- Clear your premises of fuel sources such as landscape trimmings, newspapers, leftover paint, old rags and other trash.
- Keep storage and other infrequently visited areas secure.
- Secure flammables in a locked fire-resistant cabinet.
- Dispose of all flammable waste materials as quickly as possible. Check with name of local authority for approved methods of disposal.
- Establish frequent and regular fire prevention patrols with other business owners in your area.
- Schedule custodial crews at night to minimize the time you business is vacant.
- Develop and maintain a fire emergency plan and communicate it to your employees. SAFD can assist with fire emergency planning and fire drill observation.
Communicate with SAFD and other Local Officials
- Treat outdoor arson fires near your business as seriously as any other arson. Outdoor fires are often "gateway" fires for young arsonists. SAFD realizes that juvenile arson activity is often a “cry for help.” Our Juvenile Firesetters Program focuses on prevention by engaging these youth in activities that channel their energy into positive areas.
- Immediately report any information that would help in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of arsonists by calling 911 in an emergency or the Arson office at 207-7876.
- Support local legislation to help strengthen vandalism and arson prevention measures. For example, anti-blight legislation that makes property owners responsible for rehabilitating derelict buildings or else face demolition. Abandoned buildings are prime targets for arson and other criminal activity.
Cooperation between business owners, employees, and government agencies is a key weapon against arson.