Evacuation of Disabled Staff

Evac-Chair Evacuation ChairsDo you fully understand your responsibilities when it comes to the provision of evacuation devices? If the answer is no, Safelincs can offer you guidance, explaining the legislation linked to evacuation devices, and highlighting the products available to help you meet your legal responsibilities.

To quote from the official government document- Fire safety risk assessment – Supplementary guide: Means of Escape for Disabled People:

“Where an employer or a service provider does not make provision for the safe evacuation of disabled people from its premises, this may be viewed as discrimination. It may also constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.”

Are you confident you have covered every eventuality when it comes to your evacuation plan? Evacuation planning must account for all possible scenarios. Failure to identify and eliminate any weaknesses in your plan is likely to be judged as a criminal offence if a fire were to trap a person that would have escaped if appropriate devices had been provided.

To learn more about your responsibilities as a business owner or manager, make sure you read our comprehensive guide which distils everything you need to know into a single article.

Safelincs are committed to raising awareness of potential evacuation issues, and are on hand if you have any further questions regarding evacuation devices. We are also currently offering a substantial discount on our bestselling evacuation device to support this campaign.

If you would like to take advantage of our special offers on leading products, or require further information about any of our products, feel free to contact us via support@safelincs.co.uk, or on 0800 612 6537.

 

Equal Fire Protection for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

deafgardRaising the alarm for deaf people in the event of a fire is not something that those unaffected by the issue would ordinarily consider. However, the specific problem of alerting anyone affected by deafness poses an obvious challenge that is beyond the capabilities of standard smoke alarms.

It is Deafblind Awareness Week, Monday the 22nd to Friday the 26th of June, and we are drawing the attention of businesses to some of the innovative solutions available to combat this specific issue.

Deafness poses a fundamental problem for standard smoke alarm systems because they are designed to raise an audible alarm in the event of a fire. If you have ever been in a large public building when a fire alarm system has been triggered, you may very well have noticed that the alarms were supplemented by strobe beacons. These are an additional feature that can be installed to alert anyone unable to hear the alarms, and are becoming commonplace in fire alarm systems covering public buildings.

Strobes are an effective way of adding a visual alert to a mainly audio driven system, but they rely completely on deaf or hard of hearing individuals noticing the lights. In a hotel or guest house the weakness is obvious as a strobe light is unlikely to wake a sleeping person. Indeed such buildings may only have audible alarms fitted.

That’s where the Deafgard from Fireco and the Ei175 system from Ei Electronics come into their own. Both of these systems feature a vibrating pad that is triggered in the event of a smoke alarm going off. These are designed to be placed under pillows and wake users in the event of a fire.

An Ei175 system is connected to and triggered by a smoke alarm and features a strobe light built in to the hardware. Up to 12 devices can be linked to this unit, allowing coverage to be extended across an entire building. It is also possible to integrate further strobes to give additional visual indicators. A wireless version is also available to reduce the installation costs.

Deafgards work on a different principle, in that they are wire-free and sound activated. When an alarm goes off within audible range of the unit, the Deafgard ‘hears’ the alarm and the vibration pad as well as the small strobe in the Deafgard are engaged. This has the obvious advantage that Deafgards are portable and can be used in multiple locations. This makes them a popular choice for hotels and guest houses looking to provide protection for deaf or hard of hearing guests, as well as deaf individuals that travel extensively.

These inventive solutions exist to ensure everyone is afforded an equal level of protection when a fire is detected. For further information or assistance, please contact our customer service team at support@safelincs.co.uk or ring us on 0800 612 6537.

The service-free extinguisher that can be fully recycled

p50-cutaway-newMost people would not consider their fire extinguishers as a candidate for recycling, but Safelincs are the leading retailer of a product that breaks the mould in more ways than one. This year’s Recycle Awareness Week takes place between the 15th and 21st of June, and there is finally a fire safety product available that will combine your commitment to recycling and the environment with good business sense.

Companies across the UK are striving to reduce their carbon footprint, and introduce innovative, money saving products wherever possible. Safelincs can offer the perfect product to meet all your needs.

Britannia’s P50 service-free fire extinguishers are manufactured in an innovative way. Like conventional extinguishers they are kitemarked and CE marked, but the way they are manufactured and assembled offers several major benefits over conventional units.
Instead of using a standard metallic construction, they are made from a blow-moulded inner plastic container for the fire fighting chemicals, cocooned by a super-strong aramid weave (the material used in bullet proof vests). On the outside a fire retardant polyethylene sleeve protects the extinguisher from cuts and UV light. The unit is finished with a corrosion-free brass head assembly and stainless steel handle. All components can easily be separated and completely recycled.

As the P50 extinguishers cannot corrode, the extinguishing chemical manufacturers and Britannia guarantee the chemicals for ten years. Due to this, no refill is required after five years, saving chemicals, travel miles for engineers and substantial costs. P50 extinguishers are also not serviced by external engineers, creating huge cost savings. Instead, they are visually inspected by the owner or their staff once a year. After ten years the extinguishers can be factory-refurbished to protect your business for a further ten years.

Recycling and fire safety have rarely gone hand in hand. The service-free extinguisher made from fully reusable materials bucks this trend, and offers an environmentally responsible extinguisher for companies. The P50 extinguisher components are 100% recyclable and corrosion free, making the P50 a suitable extinguisher even in challenging environments.

A simple and free training session provided at the time of installation by a BAFE-registered Safelincs extinguisher engineer passes on all of the knowledge necessary to inspect your extinguishers in-house. We will issue you with a training certificate and of course your full extinguisher certification to declare your site covered in accordance to British Standards requirements.

As well as being environmentally friendly and cost saving, Service-Free extinguishers installed by Safelincs are also supplied with a ten year warranty and a free-after-a-fire-replacement scheme, meaning you are guaranteed to remain protected.

Safelincs offer a free site survey to companies looking to upgrade their current extinguishers to service-free units. Make the change during Recycle Awareness Week – for further information contact our specialist team via servicing@safelincs.co.uk, or on 0800 612 6537.

Do your children know what to do in the event of a fire?

Child Accident Prevention TrustSafelincs is engaging with Child Safety Week- an annual initiative promoted by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). This year’s event runs from 1st of June 2015 and is intended to raise awareness of general safety issues relating to children.

The organisers, CAPT, praise the event as a time when “an incredible range of professions and organisations, as well as families, carers and the media all do their bit to keep children safe from the pain of serious accidents.” They also proudly report that three quarters of parents engaging with Child Safety Week believe they have learnt something new, or plan to do something differently as a result of awareness gained from the campaign.

Safelincs’ field of expertise is fire safety. As such we would pose the question- do your children know what to do in the event of a fire? Nobody expects to be caught in a fire, and complacency can easily set in. If you have discussed fire safety with your children in the past, would they still remember that conversation in the event of an emergency?

You should always ensure your children recognise the sound of your smoke alarms, and that you have a family evacuation plan in place. Identify the safest route to escape from your property, and then consider what you would do if this route was blocked. Identifying a secondary escape route is incredibly important as fire is unpredictable.

Practice makes perfect, so once you have a plan run through it until you are sure everyone knows what to do. Also make sure to practice evacuation at night as well as during the day- fire can strike at any time.

Perhaps most importantly, test your smoke alarms. If your smoke alarms fail to sound in the event of a fire, all of your preparation has been in vain. Most fire related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation rather than exposure to flames, with children being especially vulnerable. Raising the alarm quickly is absolutely vital. Make sure yours are working with regular tests.

We hope you will take our advice on board in the spirit of Child Safety Week. It is all too easy to panic when faced with an emergency. Take just a few minutes this week to familiarise your family with an escape plan.

Safelincs support CAPT; we donate £1 for a range of CO alarms sold.

Raising Awareness of Heart Rhythm Week

Arrhythmia AssociationHeart Rhythm Week is a yearly event designed to raise awareness of how to detect, protect and correct heart rhythm disorders. Taking place this year from the 1st until the 7th of June, we support this vital awareness week, helping to increase public awareness and increase the number of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) available in communities.

Would you know what to do if you witnessed someone having a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)? A survey carried out by the Arrhythmia Alliance in 2013 showed that over half of the UK’s population underestimate the importance of swift first aid for people suffering cardiac arrest. The significance of defibrillators as first aid equipment is also highlighted by some stark statistics comparing survival rates relative to the available treatment.

The chances of survival for people suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest can range from an average of just 9% for those attended to by CPR alone, to 74% for people treated by a defibrillator within 5 minutes. This statistic is a powerful indicator of the difference a readily available defibrillator can make.

Safelincs underpinned its commitment to raising awareness of this issue by running a competition for schools to win a defibrillator. We invited schools across the country to submit a short video demonstrating the benefits of having a defibrillator in their school. The winning entrant was Ravensdale Junior School, and we took great pride in presenting them with a defibrillator earlier this year. Watch their winning entry here.

For further information about defibrillators, please visit the defibrillator section on our website.

Carbon Monoxide Danger on Holiday

Family vacationA recent ruling against a well-known holiday operator has again highlighted the very real dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning for holidaymakers. The heartbreaking death of two young children on vacation with their family in Corfu occurred in October 2006. The return to prominence of this terrible and avoidable tragedy serves as a potent reminder of the risks of carbon monoxide whether at home or abroad.
Whilst general awareness of the threat posed by CO is rising, sadly most people simply fail to consider the issue when travelling. At home you are personally able to ensure that fuel burning appliances have been installed correctly and that they have been adequately maintained, however on holiday we rely on those managing the holiday accommodation to do this for us. Carbon monoxide is often cited as the most common cause of accidental poisoning. Children, babies and pregnant women are especially vulnerable, but everyone should take steps to protect themselves against the dangers of this invisible, odourless and lethal gas.
At high levels of exposure, carbon monoxide can kill within minutes. Just a single night’s sleep in proximity to a faulty boiler can prove fatal. The faulty appliance need not even be in the same room, as, frighteningly, CO is capable of reaching life threatening levels even when seeping through walls from adjacent areas.
The only way to ensure you are protected against this danger is to carry a portable CO alarm when travelling, and ensure it is active when you sleep. You may find advice elsewhere stating that colour changing dot type indicators are suitable to take on holiday, but this is simply not the case. People are by far at their most vulnerable when asleep, and these types of indicators cannot wake you in the event of carbon monoxide reaching dangerous levels whilst you sleep.
For as little as £13.67, you can ensure your family is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning throughout your holiday. Please make sure you add a carbon monoxide detector to your holiday checklist. It may be the most important thing you take with you.
For further information about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the symptoms you should look out for, please visit our CO information website.

Fire risk assessments for churches

Safelincs has produced a series of videos about fire risk assessment in churches and general fire safety specifically for those with a responsibility for churches. Starting with a three minute video examining the risk assessment process for a church, it is followed by further videos of similar length concisely covering each aspect of church fire safety. These are:

• Sources of ignition
• Flammable materials
• People at risk
• Escape plans and evacuation
• Fire Exits
• Unsupervised visitors
• Arson risks
• Emergency lighting
• Fire safety procedures
• Fire doors
• Fire-fighting equipment
• Fire detection
• Testing of fire equipment

Churches and church halls all have a legal requirement to carry out fire risk assessments. Areas that need special attention are electrical wiring and the careful management of extension leads (frequently used since churches tend not to have many power sockets). Heating systems and any additional heaters need to be regularly maintained and of course candles, in regular use in churches, need to be adequately controlled.
Churches may be at increased risk of fire is when repair or restoration work is being undertaken.

Another consideration is that more churches that are incorporating cafes and hence cooking areas.

Whatever the size or age of church, these “bite-sized” videos will be invaluable for anyone responsible for the general management of a church.
church-fire-risk-assessments

Dorgard retainers hold open fire doors safely in educational premises

University of London College HallWithin schools, colleges and other education buildings there are always a lot of people moving around, especially at the start of lectures or break times. Often they are laden down with books and files and opening fire doors along the route, from one part of the building to another, can be a big problem. The issue of opening heavy fire doors also impacts on the independent mobility of disabled students.

In situations like this, some people will find a ‘solution’, like wedging a fire door open or using an extinguisher to hold the door open. They may not be aware that this action puts them and everyone else in the building in danger and that it is in fact illegal. Buildings like schools and colleges are compartmentalised to prevent the spread of fire through the building, gaining valuable time to escape. Fire doors are part of this compartmentalisation system and by wedging them open they are rendered inactive and will not be able to offer the protection they were designed for. Wedging fire doors open is therefore a serious a breach of fire safety legislation and could lead to the head of the college, school or university being prosecuted, fined or even imprisoned.

The Dorgard fire door retainer offers here a safe and legal solution. It is a fire door holder that once fitted to the door, will hold it open in any position chosen. It then ‘listens’ for the fire alarm and on hearing it will release the door and allows it to close automatically. It offers free access without compromising fire safety. The installation of a Dorgard takes less than 10 minutes and can be carried out by any DIY person.

Dorgard can offer you a cost effective solution to legally hold your fire doors open too. University of London’s College Hall have already made the switch and are enjoying greater access throughout their building with the peace of mind that safety is still paramount and that their fire doors will close in the event of a fire.

“The Dorgard offers a low energy automatic door solution that proved to be the most cost effective way of improving access and independence for wheelchair users.” University of London’s College Hall

Keeping holidaymakers safe for ten years

villa-plusIt’s nearly ten years since Safelincs first started working with Villa Plus, a company providing over 1,250 holiday villas across 14 European destinations. Safelincs is depended upon to ensure that all Villa Plus’ accommodations are equipped with the necessary safety equipment.

Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and domestic first aid kits are sent by Safelincs to a shipping company in the UK for distribution to Villa Plus properties around Europe. The goods are packaged separately in line with each region’s requirement and labelled accordingly.

“Safelincs extensive range of safety products and their ability to meet our specific shipping requirements to different regions makes them an ideal partner to work with. As we grow and launch villas in new and existing destinations Safelincs will be a valuable provider,” says Nick Cooper, Villa Plus director and founder.

Harry Dewick- Eisele, managing director, Safelincs commented: “We pride ourselves on putting customers’ first. Building long-term relationships with organisations such as Villa Plus is a clear indication that our priorities are correct.”

New fire safety legislation for landlords

landlord-offerIn a move to increase the safety of tenants in rented accommodation, a new law will require landlords to provide smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

The legislation, which is due to come into force in October 2015, is estimated to help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year. It will require landlords to ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of a premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

In addition carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in any room which is used as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel-burning appliance. Prior to any new tenancy beginning the landlord will be required to ensure that each alarm is in proper working order.
Testing regularly will remain the tenant’s responsibility.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face sanctions and could face a civic penalty of up to £5,000.

To ensure that smoke alarms are in a good working order and do not have their batteries removed by tenants it is best to install sealed longlife smoke alarms. Safelincs also offers sealed longlife CO alarms, again assuring landlords the safe longterm protection of their tenants.