Local firms warned to be on alert for malicious firestarting

ANGUS businesses are being urged to put security measures in place as Bonfire Night fast approaches, bringing with it an increased risk of fire and anti-social behaviour.

Over the three-week bonfire period each year Scottish Fire and Rescue services attend hundreds of additional emergency calls to fires involving bonfire material, rubbish bins, refuse skips and unoccupied buildings many of which can spread to occupied houses and business properties.

The Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC) is prompting businesses of all sizes to review fire risk assessment and security policies to help reduce the possibility of accidental or deliberate fire-raising, which could threaten the health and safety of staff or financially cripple the business.

Station Commander Richard Norman, Fire and Rescue business liaison officer at SBCC, said: “This year November 5 falls on a Monday so there is a higher risk of the associated antisocial behaviour over the weekend before, starting on tonight (Friday) and for the following week.

“Bonfire Night is a great opportunity for family and friends to get together and we want this to continue but, we needn’t compromise ours or the safety of others to enjoy ourselves.

“Fireworks are dangerous explosives which people can naively underestimate and there are unfortunately others who deliberately use this period as an excuse to create trouble for others.

“The implications of fireworks getting into the wrong hands could literally cost someone their business. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses of all sizes consider some simple steps to safeguard in the case of disorder.”

The Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland has worked alongside the SBCC to put together a series of guidelines for businesses which will dramatically reduce the chances of someone starting a fire deliberately.

Richard added: “Although good physical security measures are important in protecting your business against thieves, vandals and fire-raisers there are a number of measures that you can put into place to reduce the risk of any fire occurring at all.

“Simple things like checking housekeeping routines, routinely reviewing the security of your entire site and most importantly, the night before bonfire night consider where you leave waste, waste bins and where cars are parked.”

For more information on the Scottish Business Crime Centre visit www.sbcc.org.uk.