Overcoming transport damage of fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are heavy products and contain elements that can easily be broken or bent in transit (gauges, release-pins and handles), especially if the carrier places the extinguisher on its head or drops the extinguisher. Any dents in the side of an extinguisher could render the extinguisher unserviceable and require a full replacement. Yet some online fire safety companies are sending out fire extinguishers without special protection. In the best case scenario, the customer finds the damage and the extinguishers are collected and replaced at great expense. In the worst case scenario, the customer does not detect the damage and the extinguisher might not operate correctly in an emergency. If for example the release pin is bent, the extinguisher cannot be deployed at all. This is a particularly high risk, if soft, thin release pins are fitted in cheap extinguishers.
To protect its customers from experiencing such transport damage, Safelincs has for many years worked on the packaging and design of its quality extinguisher ranges. All our extinguishers are shipped with the extinguisher heads of the extinguishers being protected by additional packaging material. The outer boxes are also thickened for increased protection.
Both the Gloria and the Ultrafire range of extinguishers are also manufactured with hardened, large diameter pins which prevent the bending of the pin in transit.
Our Ultrafire extinguisher range has been taking the protection to an even higher level since its launch in 2009. A moulded extinguisher head cover encloses the extinguisher head giving the gauge and pin full protection, transferring any transport pressure onto the strong shoulder of the extinguisher body. This additional protection means that the Ultrafire extinguishers are protected whether the extinguisher is transported on its head or dropped during transportation.
Safelincs offers the Ultrafire extinguishers to wholesalers, online retailers and fire safety trade as a solution for traders to reduce their current high costs replacing extinguishers damaged in transit. Trade customers can purchase our extinguishers in the knowledge that our extinguishers are of the highest quality and will arrive in perfect condition at their customers, even in harsh conditions.
And of course our end customers have benefited from receiving our extinguishers without any damage for many years!

Where to buy fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are required in all businesses, care facilities, offices, let properties and other organisations by law. Private householders also benefit from installing fire extinguishers in their houses or cars.

Small home and car extinguishers can be easily picked up at local handyman shops, DIY stores and of course the internet. The choice is usually restricted to simple 1 or 2kg powder extinguishers, sometimes even only BC powder extinguishers, which are very limited in their use as home fire extinguishers.

How do you access a wider range of fire extinguishers that will provide a solution to both specific business needs and also offer more choice for the home owner too? Traditionally, fire extinguishers were supplied by servicing companies and customers had to take out contracts for their maintenance. Prices were high and customers had little control about what was installed, what the costing levels were and what happened during the servicing. It was typical for the service engineers during extinguisher servicing to come up with a large bill to cover o-ring changes, replacement units and other hidden surprises.

Another route were travelling extinguisher service engineers who turned up uninvited at a customer’s premises and offered to service the extinguishers at a knockdown price before the end of the maintenance year. Once allowed in, these extinguisher engineers often found ‘faults’ on the products and condemn them, forcing the customer to buy new extinguishers from the engineer to maintain their insurance cover. These engineers do not always have BAFE certification and their extinguishers can be of uncertain origin and age.

The last few years, the internet has allowed customers to purchase fire extinguishers online. However, care should be taken. If used in a business environment, extinguishers must be commissioned by an engineer at the customer’s premises. Some online extinguisher sellers offer to label up the extinguishers in their warehouse prior to shipping. However, this practice is not in accordance to British standards and puts the customer at risk, as the extinguishers might get damaged in transit. A few smaller online fire safety companies also sell extinguishers in the state they were imported from eg China, which is with the standard thin cardboard box and without any valve protection.

Safelincs has, over the last ten years, developed safe solutions for extinguisher supply. We offer businesses the purchase of extinguishers with commissioning at their site. This means our BAFE registered engineers will commission the extinguisher at your place of work and will certify your correct extinguisher cover. When selecting our extinguishers, just tick the ‘commissioning’ or ‘installation and commissioning’ options during the checkout process.

When we ship our extinguishers we use strong cardboard boxes and special head protection for the valves.

We also offer clear pricing for everything we do:

– Our yearly extinguisher servicing charges are clear and we do not add hidden charges

– If you wish to spread the extinguisher costs we offer clearly priced, all-inclusive, extinguisher rental contracts.

And we offer a huge selection of extinguishers for almost all applications. You can choose from Gloria and Ultrafire extinguishers and we offer specialist ranges such as the dry water mist extinguisher from Jewel for installation in offices, schools, care facilities and households. We also sell self-maintenance extinguishers from Britannia which allow customers to cut out the yearly servicing charges and carry out the visual inspection themselves.

 

Evac+ emergency evacuation chairs

Under current legislation, it is the responsibility of the employer or building operator to ensure that their business complies with fire safety, health and safety and equal opportunity requirements.  If you employ mobility impaired persons, the responsibility of ensuring their safe escape from a multi-storey building in the event of an emergency, for example fire, can be daunting. The use of lifts in an emergency is usually not permitted and the escape route will therefore be over stairs.

There are  a number of evacuation solutions available in this situation. Safelincs offers a wide range of emergency evacuation chairs to match different types of stairs and gradients.  All of the chairs have the ability to descend flights of stairs with ease, ensuring a smooth and stress-free emergency escape for the passenger.  For the the Evac+Chair 300H MK4, 500, and 600H evacuation chairs, this is achieved through the use of specially designed friction belts.  Taking into account the distribution of the chair’s weight and load, the friction belts ensure that the chair does not slip or accelerate too rapidly during stair descent.  When the passenger has reached level ground, the operator simply deploys the back wheels and pushes the chair to the safe assembly point.

The Evac+Chair 300H MK4, 500 and 600H emergency evacuation chairs have a number of features to provide comfort and support to the user.  The “sling style” seat combined with the forehead restraint and safety buckles allow for the passenger to sit back in the chair without the worry of being tipped forward during descent down a flight of stairs.  The material of the sling seat is padded, ensuring user comfort.  For some mobility impaired persons, the movement from a wheelchair to a sling style seat can prove a difficult task.  The Evac+Chair comfy seat has been designed to clip easily on to the 300H MK4, 440 and 600H evacuation chairs, which provides a flat surface ideal for stability and support when mounting the evacuation chair.  The Evac+Chair comfy seat can be purchased as a retrofit.

Other evacuation chair accessories available are the Evac+Chair stand and storage cabinet.  These products are designed for use with the 300H MK4 emergency evacuation chair and are suitable for internal use.  The evacuation chair stand is ideal in locations where wall mounting is not an option.  The evacuation chair storage cabinet is a popular accessory used in schools, prisons and other applications where tampering may be an issue.  The cabinet is fitted with a secure key lock and can either be wall mounted or left free-standing.  Both the stand and the storage cabinet, paired with the photoluminescent sign, help to highlight the location of the emergency evacuation chair to all occupants of the building.  They also help to deter unauthorised movement from the chair’s strategically placed position.

Since the introduction of the original Evac+Chair 300H MK4 emergency evacuation chair, the manufacturers evolved the chair’s features and produced three more chairs to suit the needs of different buildings and users.  The 500 emergency evacuation chair has the ability to cope with a higher passenger payload of 440lbs/200kg, meaning that the chair can cater for a heavier person.  The specially designed friction belts have also been developed so that it is suitable for use on regular and steep 45° stairs.

The 600H evacuation chair carries the traditional benefits of the 300H MK4 model, with the addition of two extra handles suitable for up to 4 operators as needed in the event of emergency.  The inclusion of two additional handles means that the 600H chair can be used for escape locations with difficult access i.e. unmoveable obstructions, so that the passenger and chair can be lifted until the evacuation stairway is reached.  As well as for use at locations with difficult access, the 600H evacuation chair is typically installed where you may need to go up flights of stairs for escape e.g. from basement level.  The additional handles allow for the mobility impaired person to be carried, until the wheels and/or motion friction belts can be used again.

Finally, Evac+Chair has produced the IBEX TranSeat 700H evacuation chair designed to ascend as well as descend stairs.  The IBEX TranSeat has a top extendible handle, and the load bearing tracks mean that no heavy lifting is required on stairway ascent.  During ascent, the operators release the brake that may have been previously set for descent, so that they do not experience any restrictions when moving the passenger up the stairs.

It is important that operators are aware of the correct handling of any emergency evacuation chair to ensure the safety of the passenger and to avoid any injury or strain during use.  Safelincs offers on site evacuation chair training, carried out by experienced and professionally qualified trainers.  The certificated course includes both theoretical and practical training tasks and is available for a maximum number of 6 participants per session.  You can book the evacuation chair training online or call our dedicated customer service team on 0800 612 6537.

Safelincs certified as Fire Safety Equipment Design and Development company

To reflect Safelincs’ increasing involvement in designing and developing fire safety products such as extinguishers and fire escape equipment, our design and development facilities in Alford were audited by BSI and added to the scope of our ISO 9001 accreditation. Safelincs is developing a number of fire escape systems for new-build residential housing and is transferring a number of products from foreign manufacture to UK based manufacturers using improved designs created by Safelincs.

We are welcome contacts by inventors looking for a fire safety company as a partner to turn their ideas into reality. We are also happy to design customer specific modifications of standard fire safety products.

Wireless smoke alarms in private households

Smoke alarms are some of the most important fire safety products in your home. Fires often break out after you left a room or have gone to bed. For example if you left the cooker on, left a pan on the cooker, forgot to extinguish some candles or to extinguish an open fire. Smoke alarms will notify you immediately if a fire starts and will give you valuable time to either fight the fire or flee the building. This early warning is crucial, as seconds count when fleeing from a fire, especially if you have to look after the safe escape of children as well. If your house or flat is too big to hear, for example, a heat alarm going off in the kitchen from your bedroom, you need to interlink your smoke alarms. This can be done with cable (battery or main smoke alarms are available with cable interlink) or with a wireless radio-interlink. Radio-interlinked smoke alarms communicate with each other through radio-frequency. If one smoke alarm detects fire, it passes the warning to all other smoke alarms in their system, so that all smoke alarms sound the alarm.

Radio-interlinked smoke alarms are available as ordinary battery smoke alarms, longlife battery smoke alarms with a guaranteed ten year battery life or as mains powered alarms.

Wireless smoke alarms can also be used in any outbuildings your home may have, like sheds, garages or workshops. You can expand the alarms’ coverage quickly and easily as and when you need to add new alarms.

Like any other smoke alarms, wireless smoke alarms need to be regularly tested to ensure that they are fully operational.

You can buy your wireless smoke alarms indiviually or in home fire safety kits, which reduce the cost of fire safety provision.

Protecting your kitchen from fire

Whether at work or in the home, it is easy to equip your kitchen with adequate fire safety measures and it does not have to be expensive.

Blankets
A fire blanket is an excellent extinguisher for small fires that break out on hobs and in pans and should be present in every kitchen. A fire blanket excludes air from the fire, thereby starving it of fuel and extinguishing it. If a pan catches fire in your kitchen, turn off the heat (where possible without risk to you) and cover it entirely with the fire blanket. Always leave the fire blanket on the source of fire until everything has cooled down to room temperature! Do not be tempted to remove the fire blanket before cooling down fully, as hot fat might re-ignite.

Extinguishers
Another good fire extinguisher option for a small kitchen is an ABF rated foam fire extinguisher as it is ideal for tackling fires where fats are present. Larger kitchens will most likely require the specialist wet chemical fire extinguishers designed to deal with larger pan fires and industrial deep fat fryer fires. Another alternative are dry water mist fire extinguishers. These are excellent on fat fires but can also be used on almost all other fire risks found in a building and are entirely non-toxic, which is important in industrial kitchens. If you have expensive electrical items in your kitchen you might also like to consider buying a CO2 fire extinguisher as well as it will reduce any potential damage to your electrical appliances. CO2 extinguishers only contain an inert gas and do not leave any residues. Please note that CO2 fire extinguishers might still damage sensitive electronic equipment through thermal or electrostatic shock.

Alarms
If you enjoy cooking, you will know just how quickly a normal smoke alarm goes off when your kitchen fills up with steam and smoke or smoke billows into adjoining rooms. It is for this reason that kitchens should only be fitted with heat alarms. A heat alarm only triggers an alarm when the temperature rises above 50 to 60°Celsius or if the temperature rises rapidly, so you can rest assured that it will only sound when there is an actual fire. Rooms and hallways close to kitchens should be fitted with optical smoke alarms rather than ionisation alarms, as they are less prone to false alarms.

If you are unsure about the best fire safety for your property, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

 

Fire safety in offices

Office fire safety is often taken for granted by staff. When you spend so much of your day in an office, it is easy to forget the risks that are present. Office fires are rare, but they can be devastating when they do occur. The following reminders relate to fire safety actions affecting your staff. A detailed fire safety assessment of your own premises can be found in your company’s fire risk assessment, which is a legal document and looks at all the fire risks in your organisation and the remedial actions and structural fire safety provisions.

Fire Drills

Every member of staff must be made aware of where the nearest fire exits are and which routes to take when exiting the building. The best way of ensuring that all staff know the escape routes is to carry out regular fire drills.

To start the drill, sound the fire alarm system by triggering individual alarms or manual break points (every time from a different location). Then check that all your staff and visitors have arrived at the assembly points. For this purpose it is important that visitor books are filled in correctly and taken by the fire warden to the assembly point during the drill. A visitor having left the premises without signing out will cause you a lot of headache during fire drills!

During fire drills, simulate one or two of the fire exits being blocked by fire. Place a fire warden in front of the fire exits, turning back members of staff trying to leave through this exit. It is surprising how difficult staff find it to identify an alternative, safe escape route.

Record the trigger points being used to set off the alarm system and record the fire drill in your fire safety logbook. Any failings experienced during the drill must be recorded and acted upon swiftly.

Escape routes

Staff escaping a building must be visually directed to the safest and usually quickest route leading to the nearest fire exit. Ensure that photoluminescent (glow in the dark) fire escape route signs are indicating the nearest exit and are clearly visible. You need to ensure that even if the mains power fails, all escape route signs are visible and that stairs and awkward floors are lit sufficiently to escape safely. You can achieve this by installing emergency lights or by installing illuminated fire exit signs in the first place.

Fire Extinguishers in offices

Portable fire extinguishers can be very valuable in stopping small fires getting out of hand and turning into large fires which threaten lifes, property and even the business’ survival. However, if fire extinguishers are used incorrectly or if the fire is too large to be extinguished safely, staff might get injured and fires might still get out of hand. Train your staff in the correct use of extinguishers. Where possible reduce the number for different fire extinguisher types to a minimum to avoid confusion. The new dry water mist fire extinguisher development allows to have just one extinguisher type covering most fire risks in an office. The application of this extinguisher type is also very safe and simple.

Ensure that you cover all risk areas with fire extinguishers. Ensure that your extinguishers were commissioned by a service engineer at your premises and are maintained in accordance to British Standards. Please note that where self-maintenance extinguishers are installed, a yearly visual inspection by your staff is still required and must be documented in your fire safety log book.

In addition, your own staff representatives must visually inspect all your extinguishers on a regular base to ensure that the extinguishers are not damaged in between the yearly maintenance visit or even empty.

Manual Call Points (MCP)

Make sure that all employees understand that the first thing to do if they discover a fire is to press the nearest manual call point (also called manual break points). This alerts all of your staff of the fire. New staff must be shown the call points during their induction period. Fire action signs help to re-inforce the correct behaviour in case of a fire.

Where office buildings are shared with other companies, make sure that a system exists of notifying all the companies in the building if there is a fire.

 

Fire extinguisher Lug and J brackets

It is a British Standard requirement that fire extinguishers are either wall hung or placed on a stand.  This is to ensure that fire extinguishers are kept in the correct location and to deter unauthorized movement.  There are two main types of brackets to suit most fire extinguishers; Lug and J brackets.

Lug brackets are specifically designed for CO2 fire extinguishers. They are shaped similarly to a letter “L” with a slight lip for the extinguisher to hook on to.  Usually, portable CO2 fire extinguishers are available in 2kg and 5kg sizes, of which the lug bracket for the 5kg CO2 fire extinguisher tends to be larger than the bracket for the 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher.  This is to accommodate the difference in cylinder size. We also offer aluminium and plastic wall brackets for anti-magnetic CO2 fire extinguishers used near sensitive scanning equipment in hospitals.

J brackets are suitable for most makes of powder, water and foam fire extinguishers.  Units are hooked on to the J bracket by a loop that is typically found on the back of the extinguisher cylinder.  Both Lug and J brackets are available in our extinguisher bracket section and are sold in packs of 20.

CO2 fire extinguisher horns

Unlike other types of fire extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers feature a discharge horn as opposed to a hose.  When a standard CO2 extinguisher horn is installed, it is fitted semi-tight, so that it can be swivelled  but still holds itself in the chosen position.  This is because during operation, the CO2 extinguishing agent causes a standard CO2 horn to frost over.  If the horn is held during this time, it can potentially injure the user through freeze burn. An even better solution to this problem is to buy CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horns. These can safely be touched when fighting the fire, giving the user a lot more control when  deploying the extinguisher. All Safelincs 2kg CO2 extinguishers have frost-free horns as standard.

Although the standard swivel horn is a popular choice and an economical solution, it does not have the necessary characteristics to protect the user from freeze burn injuries.  The frost free horn is double lined and therefore has the insulation to eliminate these risks should the user accidentally hold on to the fire extinguisher horn during discharge.
5kg CO2 fire extinguishers are much larger in size and the discharge component for this is a hose and horn assembly.  This does not have a frost free-horn, however, the horn features an integrated handle for safe use during operation.
Should you wish to upgrade the horns on any 2kg CO2 extinguisher to the frost free double lined horns these can be found in the tools and spares section of the website.

Fire extinguisher head cap removal and recharge bars

Safelincs supply fire extinguisher maintenance tools to service engineers and to companies carrying out their own extinguisher servicing. This blog describes one of the tools needed for servicing stored pressure extinguishers.
In order to conform to BS5306 requirements, many insurance companies stipulate that fire extinguishers need to be serviced annually.  It is during servicing that engineers may find that the existing fire extinguisher head cap needs to be replaced.  In order to do this, the engineer needs to have a head cap/valve removal bar, which is screwed into the extinguisher hose thread for use.  As hose threads differ according to the make of fire extinguisher, it is important that engineers use the correct removal bar for the fire extinguisher model.

As well as a tool for head cap/valve removal, some extinguisher bars can also be used in conjunction with a nitrogen regulator and hose.  These are known as “recharge bars” as they have the ability to work as an adapter to help re-pressurise the fire extinguisher.

In our range of extinguisher tools we offer head cap/valve removal bars suitable for Firechief, Thomas Glover, Gloria and Jewel Saffire/Ultrafire Redline fire extinguishers.