There are many compelling broadly ‘non-economic’ reasons why fire
detection and firefighting equipment should be supplied and maintained
by appropriately accredited businesses and done so in accordance with
the various guidance, standards and legislation that is applicable. Such
reasons include health and safety, legislation compliance, insurance
implications, etc., etc. These reasons are covered in our Guidance Sheet
Value of Accreditation & Compliance”.
However, in addition to these, there are also very, very compelling
One of the reports most widely recognised as being definitive in this
area is a report published by the
Department for Communities and
Local Government entitled
“The Economic Cost of Fire” (requires
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader). The section discussing the implications
for businesses starts with a dire warning:
“Fire can result in significant losses for businesses in terms of
lost production, market
share and customer goodwill. Even a minor fire at crucial stages of
mean very large losses for individual firms. In addition, fires
resulting in the closure
of firms could have significant effects on staff.”
The report goes on to discuss the annual cost due to fire in the UK,
which it estimates is nearly £8 billion. It also estimates
the consequential costs from fire in the UK as being well in excess of £3
billion per annum!!
Even in national terms, these are huge figures. However, how do these
figures relate to individual businesses? The report says that the average
cost of fire in a commercial building is estimated at £58,000.
This figure is large enough in itself, but is an average effect. What
of the effect of a serious fire? The best estimate here is that provided
by FETA (now the
of their publications. In this document, they estimate that:
“more than 75% of companies that experience a serious
fire go out of business either directly or as result of the fire or within
3 years of reopening”.
Now for something a little more positive: according to the
Fire Extinguisher Survey by FETA (now the
FIA) and IFEDA (requires
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader), 80% of all fires are successfully extinguished by fire
We all hope that fire doesn’t strike, but all of us should take steps
to ensure that we’re properly protected if it does - it’s a lot better to
experience one of the 80% of fires that are successfully extinguished by fire extinguishers
than to become one of the 75% of businesses effectively extinguished by fire.
The need for effective levels of properly maintained portable firefighting equipment
is abundantly clear.