Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Reducing arson and rubbish fires

Every year we attend hundreds of fires that have spread from nearby rubbish skips and bins. If your business or property is targeted by arson, you might suffer significant financial loss and people's lives may be placed at risk. 

You can help reduce the risk of rubbish fires damaging your property or business by following these guidelines:

Storing rubbish and flammables

Some simple steps can help reduce the likelihood of your property or business being affected by arson or accidental rubbish fires:

  • Locate bins away from your building.
  • Store flammable waste in metal rubbish containers with self-closing lids.
  • Some products and materials need to be stored outside. Limit the pile size and keep them well away from buildings both inside and outside any boundary fences.
  • Define safe designated smoking areas for staff or tenants.
  • Lock bin lids when you’re not using them.
  • Arrange to have waste collected weekly to reduce rubbish on site at weekends
  • Keep rubbish bins and skips well away from outside walls. 
  • Remove materials that can be used to set fires from outside the property.

Security and public access

  • Install and maintain security lighting and surveillance equipment.
  • Install and maintain adequate perimeter fencing so you can lock and secure the property at night.
  • Limit public access to your building and yards.
  • Involve the community. Ask neighbours to keep an eye on your property and alert the Police if they see any suspicious behaviour.
  • Be particularly alert during November and December. Fireworks, combined with the dry summer season, can often contribute to arson incidents.

Arson in schools

Arson is particularly common in schools, where children might light fires without understanding the potential consequences.

For more information view our Ahikura programme page.