Once again, many businesses will have closed their doors to the public, either by choice or necessity, in the continued fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
With premises closed, or unable to operate in the usual way, ensuring their safety is really important to us. A fire in an unattended commercial property could have devastating repercussions for the business, the local community and any residents in the same building or nearby.
Group Commander Phill Mould, who leads our business safety teams, said:
“At the moment many businesses are not operating in their usual way. It is possible that their premises aren’t being attended by staff as regularly as they would normally.
“In the most extreme cases some commercial or business premises could have been unattended since March when the first national restrictions were implemented.”
It is important to ensure safety and maintain preventative measures for these premises while the country responds to COVID-19. It could be as simple as a quick visit to check that commercial smoke detection and alarm systems are still working.
Group Commmander Mould added:
“We are asking all business owners and the public to join forces, and help keep the commercial premises in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes safe, so these important elements of our community are in a good position to open once restrictions allow.”
What can business owners do?
- Consider ways in which someone could start a fire inside or outside your property. Take responsibility and act on any issues you identify.
- Protect your property. Seek advice on security, good lighting and CCTV – these can all act as a deterrent, to anyone who may harm or damage your property.
- Sign up to your local neighbourhood network schemes. These can help alert you to any anti-social behaviour within the area.
- Where possible, in line with Government guidance, make a visit. Check your smoke and alarm systems are working, and any electrical appliances which are not designed to be left on, are switched off.
- Ensure all internal and external doors are shut and locked where appropriate. This will help prevent intruders and, should a fire break out, doors can act as a fire break or delay fire spread.
- Ask your employees to keep an eye on social media posts and, where possible, the current status of your business premises.
- Take measures to ensure there are no visible signs that your building is unoccupied over a long period of time. For example, arrange for mail and deliveries to be redirected or, where possible, collected.
- Farms, small holdings and isolated commercial units can also be vulnerable. Lighting around barns and outbuildings can deter the opportunist thief and the would-be arsonist.
What can the public do?
- Keep watch over business premises in your neighbourhood. If you see something suspicious, or a change in circumstances, report it to your local neighbourhood policing team (online or by calling 101, or 999 for an emergency).
- Report accumulated or abandoned refuse to your local council. Don’t let it become a target for arson.
- Anti-social behaviour can be linked to arson. Report any anti-social behaviour through your local neighbourhood policing team, neighbourhood watch team or through Crimestoppers.
- Contact the business owner and let them know you are willing to help.