An arsonist scrutinizes your building differently than most people. They are predators who can spot weaknesses in your security, driven by the thrill of fire, to cover up another crime or blind rage.

If you have a hard time imagining your workplace as the target of some crazed arsonist, that’s understandable and common. But the spark may have nothing to do with your business. Workplaces worldwide are one disgruntled employee, civil unrest or rowdy party away from losing their building.

Unlike basic fire safety, arson is an attack. It is a war that workplace leaders, whether they are leaders in churches, schools or other organizations, must rise to face. Arson is a real threat. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “there were about 17,400 intentionally set fires in homes each year during 2010-2012. These fires caused 275 deaths, 800 injuries and $513 million in property damage and loss. During this same timeframe, there were 9,000 intentionally set fires in commercial buildings. These fires resulted in $282 million in property damage and loss.”

A regular fire can have many sources such as a lightning strike, faulty electrical wiring, or just bad luck when a series of unfortunate events mixes a heat source with fuel. Naturally occurring fires move quickly, doubling every 60 seconds but they move in predictable ways.

Arson, on the other hand, can occur at multiple locations within your business simultaneously and can move quickly if the arsonist leaves a trail of any kind of accelerant. Also, the location of the fire may have nothing to do with an expected fire prevention plan. The fire’s origin may have more to do with a location that is emotionally meaningful to the arsonist or their intended target.

Unlike standard fire prevention, arson prevention requires you to think like the enemy to protect your people from attack and this is what leadership is all about. The first fight you may have to take on is not against the arsonist but with your finance people who don’t see arson as a real risk. Your job is to convince them that preventative steps are necessary.

The good news is that you will probably be able to launch an effective defense against arson for little money. We here at the Soteria Group, are experienced with helping organizations prevent arson attack on a very tight budget. We have the experience to look at your physical site and see it through an attacker’s eyes.

According to, “Arson is the largest cause of fires in the UK. It poses a bigger threat to businesses than the other leading causes of fire (electrical, heaters and smoking related fires) together. The effects of an arson attack on a business are often irreversible, with loss of premises, data, stock and working hours meaning that some never recover.

Usually arson attacks occur when a building is unoccupied, particularly at night. This means that fires can go undetected and spread throughout a building. Without a proper fire detection system, this type of fire will only be noticed once significant damage has been caused.

Some businesses have a higher threat than others from arson. Buildings that provide recreational, leisure or cultural activities tend to have the highest threat. This is followed by schools, retail distribution centres, shops, pubs and catering facilities. Industrial premises and factories are also another type of business that could become victim to arson.”

Contact us at the Soteria Group for training on in-house and infrastructure procedures, site and facility maintenance, community awareness, and fire safety tips.

Your first step is to do a fire safety/arson threat analysis. This is where the Soteria Group excels. Please let us help keep your your workplace safe.

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