The advice comes from Cleveland Fire Brigade in its ongoing anti-arson campaign ‘Enough is Enough’.
Although arson in Cleveland fell last year by almost 30%, it still accounts for 71% of fires across the area and over the last three years it has cost local people a massive £42m.
Refuse and other waste material stored next to business premises is often a target for arsonists and these fires can easily spread to the premises themselves. Half of the companies affected by this type of incident never recover from the physical and financial damage which it causes.
The Fire Brigade is advising business to follow these simple tips:
- Use refuse containers at all times – don’t leave black bags of rubbish or other waste material outside as they attract arsonists and vandals.
- At the end of the business day, wherever possible bring any refuse containers inside your building.
- If your refuse containers are outside, make sure they are at least six metres away from buildings. This will help prevent damage to your property if there is a fire in the containers.
- If your refuse container has a lockable lid, make sure you lock it. If you haven’t got a lockable refuse container, consider getting one.
- Make sure that your refuse container doesn’t overflow with rubbish. If this is happening regularly, change your container for a larger one or buy an extra one.
Lol Craven, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Arson Reduction Manager, said: “Arson has a devastating effect on any business and we need both employers and employees to be vigilant and follow this simple advice to help protect themselves and their business.
“Working together as a community we can put a stop to arson. If anyone has any information about suspected arsonists, you should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or call the Police on 101.
“We also operate a Community Call-back Scheme, in which the Fire Brigade will ring back callers who initially reported the fire, to collate from them any further information that can be used as part of the fire investigation.
The Fire Brigade has produced a video to highlight the devastation caused by arson – it can be viewed at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/arson along with other campaign information.