Bonfire Night – stay safe and have fun!

Bonfire NightIt’s that time of year where many of us will be looking forward to the celebrations of Bonfire Night. The tradition of wrapping up warm, toffee apple supper, sparklers, bonfire glow and spectacular firework displays all combine to bring crowds of people together, in awe of the decorative night sky that lies ahead.
Although public, organised events are the safest way to enjoy the festivities, many choose to have an intimate, family get-together and celebrate at home. Whatever you choose to do this Bonfire Night, remember to follow these simple safety guidelines from The Firework Code:
– Only buy fireworks that comply with BS 7114 British Standard
– Don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
– Keep fireworks in a closed box
– Follow the instructions for each firework
– Stand well back
– Never go near a firework that has been lit – if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
– Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket
– Always supervise children around fireworks
– Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
– Never give sparklers to children under five years old
– Keep pets indoors
Last year, nearly 1000 injuries were caused by fireworks in October and November, with almost half of that figure being children. Don’t spoil your evening with unnecessary injury – stay safe and have fun!
To celebrate Bonfire Night, Safelincs are running a limited time special offer on selected fire safety and first aid products. Make sure you’re prepared and keep your family safe. Act responsibly and enjoy your evening.

Introduction to the Dräger Parat C hood

draeger-parat-cThe Dräger Parat C is a fire escape hood that fully covers the head, providing 15 minutes of respiratory and eye protection from the toxic gases and fumes produced by fire. The Parat C can be purchased in four different versions; a standard single pack, a soft pack for easy storage, a traveller pack and a twin pack supplied in a wall mounted box.

The hoods are quick to deploy and easy to use, are supplied in one universal size suitable for all ages (including small children), and can be worn by persons with long hair, glasses or beards.

These fire hoods are used for the escape from buildings with long escape routes, are ideal for fire marshals and staff assisting other people to escape from buildings filling with smoke (e.g. teachers in schools). They can be used where smoke from a fire is affecting escape routes. Please note that the hoods will of course not protect you from fire or high temperatures, as the rest of the body is unprotected. If smoke is intense the user needs to move close to the floor where oxygen and cooler air are present.

The Dräger Parat C is fitted with a CO-P2 filter which will protect from the toxic gases shown below:

Chemical Name Description
CO Carbon Monoxide Produced by all fires as a component of smoke, caused by the improper burning of carbon fuels. CO is colourless, odourless and tasteless but highly toxic.Human senses cannot detect CO – symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, stomach pains, breathing difficulties and eventually loss of consciousness.
HCN Hydrogen Cyanide Produced as a by-product of burning combustible everyday materials such as soft furnishings, insulation, clothing, etc. 20 times more toxic that CO. Targets the heart and brain and can incapacitate its victims within a short period of time.
H2S Hydrogen Sulfide Found predominantly in the oil and gas production industry, produced by decaying organic matter and characterised by its strong ‘rotten eggs’ odour. At high concentrations H2S can cause respiratory paralysis, asphyxial seizures and death.
N/A Particles Smoke is a collection of airborne solid and liquid particles, some of which can be highly toxic and cause poisoning when inhaled. When combined with the other by-products of a fire they can cause severe breathing difficulties, long-term illness, loss of consciousness and even death.

 

Watch this short introduction video showing how easy these hoods can be used.

It’s that time of year again…

Fire KillsThe clocks go back on Saturday 25th October and the Government’s Fire Kills campaign is once again reminding people to test their smoke alarms at the same time.

As well as running a high profile campaign each time the clocks change, Fire Kills uses social media to promote monthly humorous videos featuring unusual ways for testing smoke alarms. These have included use of a skateboard, a remote controlled helicopter and a human pyramid!

Those people wishing to test their smoke alarms regularly can take advantage of Safelincs free smoke alarm reminder service and set their own pattern for having their memories jogged. We’ll send a reminder email at a frequency set by you.

Smoke alarm ownership increased rapidly from 8% in 1988 to 70% in 1994 in England, and has continued to rise and it’s now over 88%. However, it’s crucial that they are tested regularly and the batteries changed each year (unless the smoke alarm is a ten year alarm with a sealed-in battery).

After ten years a smoke alarm should be replaced. (Anyone with an Ei mains alarm can replace just the sensor unit using the easichange product. No electrician required.)

We have just made protecting yourself even more affordable

Kidde Smoke Alarm and CO Detector Special OffersNow that the heating season is truly under way it is time to review your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure you are fully protected. Smoke alarms and CO detectors should be tested once every half year but as a minimum one test per year should be carried out. To ensure that your alarms are not running out of battery power and to avoid that you get woken in the middle of the night by a low battery beep, alkaline batteries should preemptively changed once a year. The lifespan of your alarms also need checking. While smoke alarms are designed to last a full ten years, most CO detectors only last 5 to 7 years.

Any units that are out of date or fail their test need to be replaced. If you find any areas of the house that are not protected yet, you should consider purchasing new smoke and CO alarms to fill these blind spots. To make this more affordable, Safelincs, in partnership with Kidde Safety Europe, one of the leading manufacturers of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, have introduced two great special offers.

At entry level we are now offering a standard smoke alarm together with a 7 year life CO alarm for just £13.49+VAT.

To stop you having to purchase new alkaline batteries every year and to make sure you get the maximum life out of your alarms we are also offering a top of the range 10 year smoke alarm with sealed 10 year battery and a 10 year carbon monoxide detector with a sealed 10 year battery to give you maximum protection and convenience for only £27.49+VAT.

When you can protect your home and family for a decade at a cost of under £30.00 there really is no excuse for not taking action today!

We are also here to help you with your regular testing regime. We can remind you free of charge when your next test is due – at a test frequency chosen by you.

Emergency lighting – a guide

Emergency Light - A GuideSafelincs operates a fire safety forum where people’s fire safety questions are answered by professionals. One of the frequently raised topics has been Emergency Lighting. To give you a broader understanding of emergency lighting, this blog compiles the typical queries and answers raised through the forum.

What is emergency lighting?

Emergency lighting is lighting that comes on when there is a mains power failure. Emergency lights are powered by rechargeable backup batteries which are either located inside the emergency light or in a central battery location with connections running to each emergency light. Emergency lighting is a general term and is sub-divided into emergency escape lighting and standby lighting. Standby lighting is used to continue normal work during a powercut and, as it is not a legal requirement, is not covered in this guide.

What is emergency ESCAPE lighting?

Emergency escape lighting comes on automatically when the mains power fails and gives off sufficient illumination to enable occupants and visitors to evacuate the premises safely.

Emergency escape lighting itself is sub-divided again into

  • open area lighting (bulkheads and other emergency lights)
  • escape route lighting (typically illuminated fire exit signs with a running white man on a green background)
  • high risk task area lighting (to allow the shut down of dangerous processes)

Publicly accessible buildings as well as most businesses are required by law to provide emergency escape lighting.

What key types of emergency lights are there?

There are two key types of emergency lighting: maintained and non-maintained.

Maintained emergency lights stay on constantly at all times and stay lit for the minimum emergency duration (usually 3 hours) after a mains failure. Maintained emergency escape lights are used in places of assembly like theatres, cinemas, entertainment halls but also shopping centres and similar venues. They allow the public to familiarise themselves with emergency routes and have the advantage that any failure of the emergency lighting bulbs can be spotted immediately.

A non-maintained emergency light will only light up in the event of a mains power failure and will also stay lit for the minimum emergency duration required. Non-maintained emergency lights are likely to be found in offices, shops and factories.

Does all escape route lighting have to be illuminated?

If sufficient open area emergency lighting is in the vicinity of a fire exit, non-illuminated fire exit signs can be sufficient in locations of minor importance. Photo-luminescent  fire exit signs would be preferable in this case, although it has to be ensured that sufficient light is reaching the photo-luminescent sign to ensure it is ‘charged’ at all times.

Considerations

British Standard BS 5266-1: 2011 provides clear guidelines about the design and installation of emergency lighting. It should be remembered that the British Standards specify the best practice for standard situations, however, a higher standard may be required for a particular installation.

The actual degree of illumination should be closely related to the nature of both the premises and its occupants.
Special consideration should be given to homes for the elderly, hospitals, crowded areas such as pubs, discos and supermarkets and to whether or not the premises are residential.

Borrowed lighting may be suitable in small premises (eg small shops) where there is light coming into the building from a dependable outside source, e.g. street lamps and will adequately illuminate escape routes. Alternatively, single ‘stand-alone’ escape lighting units may be sufficient in small premises and these can sometimes be combined with exit or directional signs.

An emergency lighting system should be installed by an electrician who specialises in emergency lighting.
They would need to be conversant with BS 5266-1- 2011 Emergency lighting-Part 1: Code of practice for emergency lighting of premises.

The question of the requirement for emergency lights in schools is a bit of an anomaly.
As a school is only occupied during the hours of daylight, emergency lighting is not therefore required. However, should the school be used out of hours, in the hall for example, then emergency lighting should be installed in the hall and the exit routes from it. The ‘responsible person’ should have the final say on this and might want to consult the local fire officer.

Toilet facilities for use by disabled people and/or any multiple closet facilities without borrowed light should have emergency escape illumination from at least one luminaire. Organisations may have to provide emergency escape lighting in each cubicle if there is no borrowed light.

What are the rules for rented properties?

For residential properties landlords are deemed to be the ‘responsible person’ for all fire safety and emergency lighting.

Single occupancy houses and houses of multiple occupancy up to two storeys high only need conventional lighting, whereas three and four storeys may require emergency escape lighting if the escape route is complex and there is no effective borrowed light.

Bedsit houses of multiple occupation of one to four storeys (with individual cooking facilities within bedsits) require conventional lighting and emergency escape lighting if risk requires such or there is no effective borrowed light. Bedsit houses of multiple occupation of five or six storeys with individual cooking facilities within bedsits require conventional lighting and emergency escape lighting

Two, three or four storey houses converted to self-contained flats require conventional lighting and emergency escape lighting if the fire risk assessment requires it.

Five or six storey house converted to self-contained flats require conventional lighting and emergency escape lighting. Importantly, common escape routes should be well lit.
There are guidelines to help understand the provision required and landlords need to be aware of their responsibilities to carry out a fire risk assessment, and make sure their property has adequate and appropriate fire safety measures in place.

How do you maintain emergency lighting?

Emergency lights have to be tested regularly unless they are self-testing emergency lights.

Emergency lights with internal backup batteries display a small green LED that indicates that the internal battery is being charged. Older models may have a red light. However, you still have to check the function of the emergency light regularly, as the LED only confirms that the unit charges rather than that the battery will last the full period required or that the bulb is in working order. 

All emergency lighting systems must be tested monthly. The test is a short functional test in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004.
The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this test while minimising damage to the system components, e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs shall be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly. Emergency lighting key switches are available and allow for the interruption of the power to the emergency lights without affecting the power supply to the normal lighting circuits.

A test for the full duration (usually three hours) of the emergency lights must be carried out once a year. The emergency lights must still be working at the end of this test. The result must be recorded and, if failures are detected, these must be remedied as soon as possible.
Any batteries that do not last three hours should be changed immediately.
Life expectancy will vary depending on the make of the battery – with some makes it is four years, some five years. When the life expectancy date expires the batteries should be changed. It is a good idea that when a battery is changed the date of installation is written on the battery for future reference. Safelincs supply spare batteries.

If the fitting has a fluorescent tube the life will depend on whether the unit is maintained or non-maintained. Safelincs recommends that lamps in maintained bulkheads are changed every six months. If a fluorescent lamp has blackened ends / starting to turn black the tube needs replacing.

The occupier/owner of the premises should appoint a competent person to supervise the testing of the system. This person shall be given sufficient authority to ensure the carrying out of any work necessary to maintain the system in correct operation. Competent can be defined as someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to maintain the system properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help that is required.

From a practical point of view, a normal caretaker would be able to use a test key to remove power from emergency lights and ensure that the emergency lights stay on the required period. When it comes to repair of failing emergency lights it would most likely that an electrician would be needed unless the caretaker has sufficient qualifications to replace batteries and lamps.

It is important, though, that all tests are recorded in the fire safety log book.

The longevity of emergency lights is better if lamps are changed before they are fully failing. However, this recommendation probably only applies if an organisation has a contractor for the maintenance of emergency lighting and the costs of a call-out were to be substantial. In such a case pre-emptive maintenance (changing while the light is still working) makes sense.

In the long run LED light are more economical than fluorescent tubes as they save electricity not only when the light is on but even during the trickle charging of the batteries. However, the real saving from LED emergency lights comes from not having to replace the tubes on a half yearly or yearly basis. The LEDs will last a lot longer, hence saving costs for maintenance call-outs and replacement tubes.

Many systems will have fish tail key switches in the power supply leading to suitable groups of emergency lights so that you don’t have to switch off the power at fuse level when you want to check them. If you have a system that can only be tested by switching the lighting power supply off altogether you would only be able to do your tests when the building is empty and if you have suitable portable light or suitable daylight in all locations you are checking. If you have dangerous processes in your company lighting might have to be on all the time, so that a central switch-off would be inappropriate.

 

More Fire Stations to close

Fire EngineIn the wake of government cutbacks, up to seven Merseyside fire stations have been threatened with closure. The closure plan – which will lead to 100 firefighter job losses as retiring staff are not replaced – is expected to save £3.4m in 2015/16.

Many other areas are facing similar cuts as austerity measures continue to bite. At the beginning of the year Britain’s oldest fire station, in Clerkenwell, closed along with nine others in the London area. London Fire Brigade is cutting 552 firefighter jobs and reducing the number of fire engines by 14, saving £45m over two years.

London Fire Brigade said the cuts will not affect the service it provides because the number of fires has fallen by 50% over the last 10 years.

Improvements in passive fire protection such as fire resistant soft furnishing and the reduction of the number of smokers as well as changing diets with less deep fat fryers and fat being used have played important roles in this improvement.

The widespread installation of smoke alarms and the early warning these give have also had a major impact. Smoke alarm ownership increased rapidly from 8% in 1988 to 70% in 1994 in England, and has continued to rise in recent years to 88% in 2011. However, whilst only 12 per cent of dwellings report not having a working smoke alarm in England, more than one third of fires occurred where no alarm was installed. There were also numerous cases where fatalities have occurred despite smoke alarms being present, however, they either weren’t working or the batteries had been removed.

This emphasises how important it is to regularly check that smoke alarms are actually working by pressing their test button. Safelincs provides a free service to regularly remind householders via email to check their smoke alarms are working.

Having a working smoke alarm is, however, only the first step. Without having the ability to extinguish a small fire, even an early detection will not stop a building burning down. Portable fire extinguishers can be used to tackle small fires at an early stage, as long as the right medium is used.

In domestic situations Safelincs recommends the innovative water mist extinguisher which works by creating a very fine ‘dry’ mist which can be used on just about every type of household fire including electrical and deep fat fryer fires – with absolutely no chemical residue.

The authorities are adamant that the fire service cuts will not affect response times but the cutbacks will have acted as a wake-up call to many to enhance their domestic precautions.

OxySure – Emergency Oxygen on Demand

OxySure Emergency OxygenFollowing the success of our first aid section, especially of our defibrillators, we have introduced a new medical emergency product range – Oxygen Care.  Oxygen is essential for our bodies to function correctly. A wide range of injuries or illnesses such as asthma, near drowning, cardiac problems or smoke inhalation restrict this critical oxygen supply, and within just 3 minutes of starving vital organs, irreparable tissue damage can occur.
Recognising the importance of providing the body with immediately accessible oxygen, OxySure is a safe, easy to operate emergency oxygen system, which can be used by anybody without previous training, by following a simple three step process:
1) Plug in the mask
2) Turn the knob
3) Place the mask over the nose and mouth of the patient
OxySure then provides a 15 minute supply of medically pure oxygen. This instant supply of oxygen helps to bridge the time gap until first responders arrive.
OxySure uses a revolutionary non-compressed technology, in which two inert powders, contained inside a disposable cartridge, are stored separately until the moment of activation. Once the knob is turned, the powders are combined to create medically pure oxygen. After use, the cartridge can be safely disposed of in regular household waste and a replacement cartridge is inserted.
Without the need for traditional pressurised cylinders, OxySure creates no fire risk or explosion hazard, and is safe to store in any indoor or public access location including the home, offices, sport centres, schools, restaurants, airports etc.
OxySure is there to help from the onset of a medical emergency. It provides lifesaving oxygen when you need it most until the arrival of the emergency services.
To find out more about OxySure, please visit our website or call 0800 612 6537 and our friendly customer services team will be happy to help.

Emergency lighting – Case study Trinity Square

Trinity Square DevelopmentNorthumbria University, home to over 35,000 students, has rapidly expanded over the last few years. Trinity Square student accommodation, part of the university completed in 2014, has been one of the largest building projects outside of London. Trinity Square can house over 1,000 students and offers a choice of studio apartments and accessible bedrooms.
This complex has over 300,000 square foot requiring over 4800 emergency and standard lights throughout the building. The emergency lights were required to illuminate exit routes and comply with BS5266-1 : 2011. As energy efficiency and sustainability were major considerations, all lighting systems had to adhere to strict efficiency specifications while remaining within a clearly defined budget.

Round slimline emergency lights XL and models of the same with LED were installed in bedrooms, staircases and corridors throughout the complex.
The units were supplied with a purpose made tray designed specifically for the Trinity Square lighting system. The bedroom lighting had to fulfil comfort and diffusion standards to CIBSE recommendations. The lighting units were therefore fitted with special diffusers to improve light transmission and to ensure wellbeing.  Despite using 26W lights instead of the standard 28W in the non-LED lights, the light transmission was increased by 54% compared to standard lights with standard opal diffusers.  Well balanced light significantly improves concentration and reduces fatigue.

Should you require information about emergency lighting and the options to create bespoke emergency lighting solutions, please contact us on 0800 612 6537

 

 

Ageing Safely Week

Ageing Safely WeekThe Chief Fire Officers Association and fire services across the country are supporting Ageing Safely Week which commences at the end of September.

The risk of dying in a fire for those aged 65 and over is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. Across the country fire and rescue services identify those who are most at risk in their community and undertake targeted prevention and protection activities. 23% of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035, therefore older people will increasingly be the focus of preventative fire safety.

The Ageing Safely Week, which runs from 29th September to 5th October, provides a platform for fire services to run initiatives and events that focus on such aspects of fire safety as getting chimneys swept, the safe use of electrical heaters and cooking safely.

Safelincs have a number of products that are particularly suited to maintaining the safety of senior members of the community. These include radio-interlinked smoke alarms, connected through radio frequency signals, which ensure a fire alarm is heard throughout an entire residence.

Smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing feature high-intensity strobe lights and vibration pads to wake the deaf person during the night if there is a fire alarm. We also have portable deaf alarm systems.

Innohome stove alarms provide reliable fire protection for the area of the home where elderly people are particularly vulnerable. A loud alarm is activated if the cooker becomes too hot or when an empty hotplate is left on, warning of a hazardous situation before toxic gases are produced or a fire starts.

Many homes now have a fire extinguisher and, whilst the fire service advice is to evacuate immediately, most people can prevent a small fire getting out of control. We would recommend a one litre water mist extinguisher which can be used on any type of household fire. This appliance utilises relatively recent technology that smothers a fire using microscopic ‘dry’ water particles. It works even on deep fat fryer fires and is safe to use on electrical fires.

Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector. There is a range of both battery and mains powered products that will give an early warning of the presence of this deadly gas.

In the middle of Ageing Safely Week, UK Older People’s Day takes place and the aim is to create some synergy between the two campaigns. Held on the 1st October, the same day as the International Day of Older Persons, it is a celebration of the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the economy. Its objective is to challenge negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes.

Esther Rantzen CBE, founder of The Silver Line helpline, is also supporting the Ageing Safely campaign. “Older people are more at risk from fires in their homes than any other sector of the population. The majority of those over 75 live on their own, and loneliness erodes confidence so seriously that it can lead them to neglect themselves, and put themselves in danger,” she says.

New defibrillator website launched

After months of preparation Safelincs has launched a specialist defibrillator portal called TheDefibPad. This new portal gives customers access to world leading brands and through our search refining system, makes selecting the best Defib for each application an easy and straight forward process.
Our product ranges include semi and fully automatic defibs, defib cabinets, defibrillator training devices, first aid supplies and all replacement items such as batteries and pads.

We like to stand out from the rest and unlike most suppliers of defibs we include FREE training, FREE replacement pads after two years, a FREE AED responder kit and FREE shipping with each defibrillator order.
If you would like to know more about our defib range, please call our customer care team on 0800 612 6304 or email support@thedefibpad.co.uk

The Defib Pad Launched