Fire Safety Unit

Wilful fire-raising

Guidance on limiting the risk of wilful fire-raising

Limiting the risk of wilful fire-raising

The possibility of deliberate fire raising will be considered as a component of the fire safety risk assessment particularly in areas with a known history of vandalism or fire-raising. However, it is incumbent upon Heads of Management Units and Fire Coordinators to understand the impact this may have on the University. Therefore, appropriate security measures, including the protection of stored materials, the efficient and prompt removal of rubbish, and security against unauthorised entry or access, require to be fully managed appropriately.

Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because the fire may develop rapidly and may be intentionally started in escape routes. Where there is easy access for the opportunist premises may be targeted specifically or at random. Deliberately set fires in the locality may indicate an increased risk to premises.

Additional measures which should be considered to reduce the potential for fire raising include the following:

  • Ensuring all external lighting (security) is working and entry points, including windows as well as doors, are secure; however, escape routes must be maintained where any person is working late or alone;
  • Regular arrangements must be made for the removal of all combustible refuse;
  • Upholstered furniture should be maintained so that there are no tears which have caused the filling material to be exposed;
  • Encouraging staff to challenge persons seen acting suspiciously;
  • Keeping flammable liquids stored securely so that intruders cannot use them;
  • Fitting secure metal letterboxes on the inside of letter flaps to contain any burning materials that may be pushed through; and
  • Ensuring that storage areas are secured where practicable.