This month, Adair Lewis sets his sights on fire in sports premises, and sports pavilions in particular

Sports pavilions risk review

to face the local butcher bowling them a googly. Fire losses are far from the mind, and it is perhaps not these small pavilions that are the cause of 1.6% of all large fire losses recorded. In the last ten years, 16 of the 93 major fires in sports premises occurred in sports pavilions; a category which also includes shower blocks and changing facilities. Nevertheless, it is surprising in some ways that there have been so many fires in such premises that have each led to a loss of over £100,000. Even greater is the surprise that the average loss in these major fires has been in excess of £385,000. Over 90% of the losses resulted from damage


to the building, with much smaller insurance components from business interruption and the contents of the structures – there was no loss recorded for loss of rent, and machine and plant. The latter itself raises an eyebrow as in most cases, boilers for showers would be expected to be provided. Overall, the loss per m2 compared with £976 per m2

at £1,324, for sports premises as

a whole, shows the significant monetary value of these often forgotten buildings. Sports pavilions are often isolated structures that

might be expected to be a target for arson attacks, and this is indeed supported by statistics, which reveal that nearly three quarters of the fires (74.6%) were deliberately started. Thus sports pavilions are nearly six times more likely to be the subject of an arson attack than sports premises as a whole. This illustrates quite graphically that anyone

with responsibilities for a pavilion relating to any sport should review fire protection and

52 MAY 2019

HE TERM ‘sports pavilions’ conjures up images of local rugby and football teams, or village greens with cricketers in their whites preparing

security measures that have been adopted. In most cases, money may have been spent on the facilities to support the sport, but a budget to protect the investment may have been forgotten or be too far down the list of priorities to be effective. Much more attention needs to be paid to protecting these forgotten facilities which, while often of simple design, do so much to support the activities of young and aspiring, as well as established, sportspeople. Not surprisingly in view of their causes, most of

the fires (56%) occur between 18:00 and 06:00, predominantly in the hours of darkness. Just 19% occurred during the day, with the remaining quarter at an unknown or unrecorded time. On only two occasions were problems encountered by the fire and rescue service (FRS) attending large fires at sports pavilions, due to difficulty gaining access to the premises. This may well have arisen as a result of pavilions in locked sports grounds. There were no problems associated with lack

of resources or water supplies. Overall, there were nine instances of problems encountered by FRSs when attending fires at sports venues. This is some 10% of the total and illustrates that, where it can be envisaged that difficulties may be encountered, advice should be sought from the local FRS. FRS advice should also be sought with regard

to minimising the incidence of deliberate fire raising. The insurer of the property and local police crime prevention department should also be consulted, and may well be able to give effective advice that is not necessarily costly. Such advice may include the installation of security lighting and CCTV cameras on vulnerable properties – security lighting has proven to be particularly effective in such situations.

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