Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
April 2, 2020

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FPA issues security and arson protection advice during the COVID-19 outbreak

Amongst other support resources, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) has compiled a guide to managing risk for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, entitled: “Unauthorised occupation of non-residential premises”.

Available as a free download, the FPA is showing its support to businesses, many of whom have been forced to temporarily move out of their properties at speed, potentially leaving vacant buildings at risk of fire, criminal activity and malicious damage. The guide from the FPA explores what measures can be applied to help manage this risk.

Insurers report that there is often a significant increase in the frequency and severity of claims for damage and clear up costs arising from unauthorised occupations of vacant properties. Indeed, there have already been some reports of increased security being needed due to a ‘surge in break-ins’, due to the effects of the coronavirus.

The main areas covered by the guide are:

  • The growing challenge of unauthorised occupations: Insurers report that there has been a significant increase in the frequency and severity of claims for damage and clear up costs arising from unauthorised occupations of vacant properties.
  • Evolution of the problem: Frequently reported are occupations by large numbers of well organised groups making use of empty buildings for dumping by fly tippers in return for cash payment.
  • Vigourous action required: In the light of how this problem is developing, managers and owners would be well advised to revise their risk assessment and, if necessary, take rigourous action to reinforce the physical resistance of their vacant building.
  • Importance of planning: Advance planning covering the preparations that need to be made in advance of an occupation, the actions required should an occupation occur and those needed to protect the operation and assets going forward, is just as important as physical preparations.
  • The law and policing: As part of the advanced planning, managers and owners should acquaint themselves with the legal and policing environment they will find themselves in should the worst happen and trespasses need to be ejected.
  • Help and support: The advice and support of professionals, consultants and specialist services can be invaluable before, during and following an unauthorised occupation.

Jonathan O’Neill, the Fire Protection Association’s managing director says: “The Fire Protection Association published this guide in 2017, as part of our commitment not only to fire protection, but business resilience – and companies, building owners and insurers would be well advised to read it, to help with implementing their COVID-19 crisis plans.”

The FPA report is published by its sister organisation RISCAuthority – a scheme supported by a significant group of UK insurers that conducts research in support of the development and dissemination of best practice on the protection of property and business.

Read the full report

The Future of Fire Safety: download the eBook

Is the fire protection industry adapting to the post-Grenfell reality fast enough? At FIREX International 2019, Europe's only dedicated fire safety event, some of the world's leading fire safety experts covered this theme. This eBook covers the key insights from those discussions on the developments shaping the profession, with topics including:

  • Grenfell Inquiry must yield “bedrock change” – and soon
  • After Grenfell: Jonathan O’Neill OBE on how austerity and policy “on the hoof” are hampering progress
  • Hackitt’s Golden Thread: Fire, facilities and building safety
  • Fire safety community has to “get on board” with technological changes

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