FIRE damage costs are at their highest since records began – and businesses are being warned to be on the alert.
Statistics from the Association of British Insurers show a 20% rise in fire claims between the first half of 2007 and the first half of 2009 – with arson a main contributor to the increased costs incurred.
More than 40% of all fires in industry and commerce are now started deliberately and insurers are seeing an increasing number of arson claims crossing their desks.
One of the common causes of arson is through waste stored outside property in wheeled bins or on pallets.
Unoccupied and unfinished properties are also at increased risk of arson.
Where an attack occurs, the building should be re-secured and repaired and then regularly inspected as – once a property begins to deteriorate – an escalation in the frequency and size of incidents can be expected.
For occupied buildings, strict security checks should be put in place before the premises are closed at the end of the working day.
It is also important to maintain the efficiency of, or upgrade, the sprinkler systems since 99% of fires are controlled in buildings protected by sprinklers.