Safelincs opens development office in Hull

Safelincs have been in business for over ten years, providing businesses and home owners with the best quality fire safety products and services available.  We are always striving to keep at the forefront of technological developments and believe in investment in the future with already almost 40% of staff working in web and product development.  As a logical continuation of this we are now opening a development office in Hull in addition to our existing development team in Alford.

Hull is an ideal place for us to open the office; being a university city it provides a great base for prospective new employees. Finding new employees with the high end skills we are looking for can be a problem. Hull offers a great number of talented web developers, web designers and designers and Safelincs will now increasingly tap into this creative pool of talent.

Safelincs currently works on a large number of exciting new projects, including a reporting tool for fire safety deviations and smoke alarm recognition software.

Insurance companies and the Britannia self-maintenance extinguisher

The P50 Fireworld self-maintenance fire extinguishers from Britannia are an important alternative to conventional extinguishers which require servicing when used in a business environment. The potential cost savings of the self-maintenance alternative are substantial but some businesses are still a little unsure if they are simply allowed to make the change. After all, for decades, fire safety companies have preached about the importance of extinguisher servicing by servicing engineers.

The P50 Fireworld extinguishers break with this tradition and for the first time an extinguisher does not require any servicing, or refill during the 10 year lifespan of the extinguisher. This change of maintenance regime was only possible by Britannia in Norfolk totally re-designing fire extinguishers. The new extinguishers are corrosion-proof, do not age and the extinguishing agent is guaranteed by the chemical manufacturer for 10 years. And, rest assured, the P50 extinguishers fulfill all legal requirements, are certified to BS EN 3 and are accepted by insurance groups.

When a business purchases the P50 Fireworld extinguishers we will send out a service engineer to carry out a site survey to ensure you are fully covered. The engineer will also certifiy your extinguisher provision. He/she will train business representatives how to look after their extinguishers. And at the end the customer will also be handed a form to be sent to their insurance to inform the insurance about the changed maintenance regime. Whilst this is not strictly necessary we regard it as good practice to keep your insurance informed even though some insurances like the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (the UK’s largest insurance group for the church sector) have already formally endorsed the product and do not require notification.

The self-maintenance extinguishers have been successfully installed in many small and medium businesses, schools, supermarkets, ships and churches where they help to create savings, year after year.

CO or CO2 ?

A common source of confusion can be the difference between Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO?). Both gases are colourless, tasteless and invisible, but the similarity ends there. We have put together the following guide to help you recognise the differences.

Key Characteristics:

CO–     Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. CO can be produced by boilers, open fires and vehicles and is very toxic even at low levels. Detection of any level of CO warrants concern and the source should be identified as soon as possible.

In a residential setting Carbon Monoxide is the most pressing concern because levels as low 50ppm will harm you and just 700ppm (parts per million) can be life threatening. Initial symptoms of poisoning include headaches, nausea and breathlessness. The only way to detect CO is by installing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

CO?–   Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide can be produced in a variety of natural ways. CO? is a natural by-product of combustion and we all exhale it every day. It even has uses as diverse as giving drinks their fizz and extinguishing fires. Carbon Dioxide is not harmful in itself but an excess of CO? (above 3%) in an enclosed environment can lead to asphyxiation by reducing the level of oxygen available.

Carbon Dioxide detectors are usually used in commercial premises for example breweries or laboratories. Whilst CO? poisoning is something to be aware of it is unlikely to happen in a home environment.

As you can see, although their names are similar, the dangers posed by each gas are very different. It is important to be aware of the characteristics of each as they can both be harmful. The only way to be sure of staying safe is to make sure you have the appropriate detector fitted wherever you are.

National Chip Week 20-26 February 2012

National chip week is a fun week celebrating the British love of chips. There are many sites on web with hints and tips of how to cook the best chips but amongst all the fun there is a serious side to Nation Chip Week.

According to a report, Fire statistics: Great Britain 2010 – 2011, more than half of accidental fires in the home were due to cooking. As many people will be supporting National Chip Week by cooking chips there is cause for concern regarding household safety.

Old fashioned chip pans should be discarded as fat in them can become quickly overheated and burst into flames. Many people do not know how to cope with a chip pan fire and make the situation worse by trying to put the fire out with water. NEVER pour water on to a chip pan fire, this causes the fat to spit out of the pan and spread the fire.

If you have a fire blanket: Open the blanket completely and be sure to shield your face and body from the fire. Protect your hands by ensuring, as you hold the blanket, that they are always behind the blanket. Cover the burning container completely, do not throw the blanket. Turn off any gas or fuel supply and leave the blanket in place until the oil or fat has cooled completely.

The only other extinguishers suitable for deep fat fryers are specialist ABF extinguishers, wet chemical extinguishers and as a new option dry water mist extinguishers. All of these can be safely used on fat fires.

Here are some tips to prevent a fire in your kitchen:- Never leave cooking unattended, if you must leave the kitchen turn the cooker off until your return.- Ensure that you have a working smoke or heat alarm fitted in your house. Heat alarms are specially suited for kitchens as they will not be triggered by burning the toast.- think of alternative ways of cooking food, buy oven chips or cook chips in a thermostatic fryer.- Ensure that your children know what to do in the event of a fire, practice your fire drill with them.- Check your smoke alarms are working on a regular basis, sign up to our reminder service to help you

Photoluminescent Fire Extinguisher Signs

Under the EN 3 standard, the front label of a fire extinguisher now carries all the necessary information regarding what types of fire it can be used on and the procedure for actually using it. This means that the extinguisher itself is a fire extinguisher sign and a separate sign, in accordance to EN3, might no longer be required. However, the official Fire Risk Assessment Guides state that suitable signs may be required to indicate the location of extinguishers.

What needs to be considered?

While additional fire extinguisher signs may formally not be required in your building, there are compelling reasons to include signs in your provisioning. Imagine that you are trapped in a building during a fire, the rooms and corridors are slowly filling with smoke and reducing the available light and visibility. If your extinguisher, correctly installed on its bracket, is on the other side of a room full of desks and chairs, it is highly likely that you won’t be able to see where it is. You may think that you will be ok as you have had fire drills and training and you know where the extinguishers are located. But in an emergency it is all too easy to get disoriented, for the thick choking smoke to obscure your vision and for panic to set in. In a situation such as this you will be thankful that you included some photoluminescent fire extinguisher signs and had them installed at eye level. They are cost effective, require no power source (light is soaked up during the day and discharged when it is dark).

A sign must be installed if the extinguisher itself is not directly visible. In modern offices where everyone has their own cubicle it would be very difficult to locate the nearest fire extinguisher in an emergency. In this kind of installation it would be necessary to install some fire extinguisher location signs that are visible from anywhere in the room. Panoramic photoluminescent fire equipment location signs are ideal as they are viewable from every angle and are visible in low light.

New UltraFire fire blankets with 5 year warranty!

Fire blankets are essential in kitchens to extinguish pan fires and fat fires safely or to wrap around burning people. In the case of a kitchen fire the blanket is placed over the pan or bin that is on fire, cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire which then extinguishes it. The blanket is left on the container until the liquid is cooled down sufficiently to prevent re-ignition.

Most fire blankets on the market come with only a one year guarantee, but with our new UltraFire fire blanket range we can now offer a full five year material guarantee! A real improvement for our customers who are always at the forefront of our thinking.  On top of this comes the fact that our UltraFire range of fire blankets are manufactured in the UK. The hard outer case makes them easy to keep clean and protects them from damage. The blankets are certified to BS EN 1869: 1997.

10 year self-maintenance extinguisher accepted by Boat Safety Scheme

Boat owners need to protect themselves and their property from fire just as any other home owner does. The damp conditions sometimes found with boating has always been an issue with regards to which fire extinguisher to install on your boat. Now with the official acceptance of the Fireworld P50 self-maintenance extinguisher by the Boat Safety Scheme this dilemma  finally has an answer.

The Fireworld P50 extinguishers, manufactured by Britannia, are non-corrosive. This makes them ideal for wet and damp conditions. They carry a 10 year guarantee and the tough plastic outer shell and inner Kevlar core, which is the same material as bullet proof vests, makes them durable and light weight.

There is another added benefit of installing the Fireworld fire extinguishers on your boat; they do not need to be serviced by an engineer. There is a yearly check that must be carried out but this can be carried out by yourself.  You will no longer have to arrange for a service engineer to come and service your extinguishers, which can be both costly and inconvenient.

If you are interested in finding out more about the corrosive-free self-maintenance fire extinguishers please go to http://www.safelincs.co.uk/britannia-fireworld-self-maintenance-fire-extinguishers/ or call our customer care team on 0800 612 6537

Foam or powder extinguisher, which one to choose?

We get asked regularly about the advantages of foam extinguishers versus powder extinguishers. Both extinguisher types have pros and cons for their use. To start with it is important to know which type of fire you are most likely to have to tackle with your fire extinguishers before you can make a considered decision. The environment (type of building, room size) and the likely user are also important.

Foam Extinguishers

Foam extinguishers are suitable for class A (wood, paper, upholstery) and class B (petrol, liquifying plastic, paints) fires. The foam forms a blanket on the burning material, starving the fire of oxygen. Foam extinguishers also soak into the materials that are alight, which roots out deeper seated ambers. The water content of the foam evaporates in the heat of the fire and cools the fire down, preventing re-ignition.

The jet of the  foam targets only a small area, making the clean up easier than with a powder extinguisher. Due to the properties of the foam extinguishing agent there is also no risk of inhalation in confined spaces. However, it is worth keeping in mind that most foam fire extinguishers are carcinogenic, so a thorough clean up after use is important.

You will require a larger extinguisher to fight a fire with foam rather than with a powder extinguisher. Foam extinguisher can not be used on gas fires.

Powder extinguishers

Powder extinguishers not only fight class A and B class fires, they can also be used on class C fires (caused by combustion of gasses such as natural gas, propane, hydrogen). A powder extinguisher is suitable for a broad range of fires.

The powder does not soak into the burning material and does not evaporate to cool the fire. Instead it ‘knocks out’ the fire and forms  a blanket or crust over the fire to starve the fire of oxygen.

They are a more powerful extinguisher than their foam counterparts and the physical size can therefore be smaller than a foam extinguisher for the same application.

However, there are disadvantages. When deploying a powder extinguisher there is a lot of mess to clear up! The powder can be inhaled and care must be taken when they are used. This type of extinguisher leaves a lot of residue behind and is therefore not necessarily suitable to use in areas where food is prepared. The powder will also damage soft furnishing such as carpets, curtains and settees if not totally removed.

Powder extinguishers should ideally not be installed where children can reach the extinguisher, or where vandalism is possible. Care has also to be taken in historic buildings, as the powder can damage wood and surfaces.

Powders are ideal in garages, cars, industrial settings, workshops, while foams are ideal in areas with soft furnishing and areas of public traffic.

For a more detailed comparison visit our extinguisher advice section.

Know where you are going

Emergency lighting comes into play when the normal mains-powered lighting fails and will provide alternative adequate lighting allowing people to evacuate the building safely in the case of for example a fire. As a minimum requirement, buildings must have emergency lighting installed across all the escape routes and exits from every area of the building, with the lighting being of adequate intensity for people to see where they are going, and for a minimum backup duration of 1 to 3 hours. As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that emergency lighting provisions are in place and are in working condition as part of your fire safety precautions.

When deciding where to install emergency lighting, take into account any hazards along the evacuation route, such as corners, stairways or uneven flooring. You must also ensure that exit signs, fire alarm call points and equipment used for fire fighting, such as extinguishers or fire blankets, are adequately illuminated to be easily seen or located. We stock illuminated fire exit signs and emergency lighting from Ringtail, which are the best way of ensuring that the fire exit is as visible as possible.

As with all fire safety equipment, regular testing of your emergency lighting must be carried out to ensure that it is working correctly. You should test that the lights are triggered when the mains supply is cut, and also that all the lights are illuminated as they should be. Once the power is switched on again, ensure that the batteries are charging. You will need to test your lighting at least once a month and log the results. Once a year you will need to carry out a full drain for the specified lighting backup period (eg 3 hours).

Nationwide PAT Testing now available

Preventing faulty electrical devices from starting fires is part of fire safety planning. Testing your electrical appliances on a regular base is therefore part of every organisation’s fire prevention strategy. We have therefore expanded our nationwide services to include PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing). As with all our other services the PAT testing service is totally transparent. There are no hidden costs and you know exactly what you have to pay  before we come to carry out the testing.

There are two ways in which to arrange your annual PAT testing with us, either book it over the internet or call our team on 0800 612 4827.  Our charges start from as little as £1.20 inc VAT per item. This fee is inclusive of the engineer’s call out charge, any fuse or basic wire changes and the certification. As added extra we test for microwave radiation leaking.

Our engineers are trained to 2377 City and Guilds Qualification.