Business Continuity: Protecting business data against floods and fire

USB ConnectionThe recent floods in the south and south west of England have made businesses from all over the country re-assess their plans for business continuity. Bosses are considering what the vital elements of the business are and what needs to be preserved at all costs. Top of the list is usually preserving the IT and computer systems. Many organisations backup their systems offsite but there is still a need to ensure any onsite digital media and key documents are secured safely.

At Safelincs we are experiencing more customers who are asking for safes that are not only fireproof but will also resist water. We can offer them a range of safes that offer protection against both. Documents, CDs, DVDs and other valuables can be secured with fireproof safes that have UL certification and have passed water submersion testing to ensure their suitability. One particular range of waterproof and fireproof safes can protect hard drives which are still connected to the computer system. This is achieved with a USB connection to the safe and allows a business to protect hard drives without having to move them daily from the computer system to a secure storage location.

Prices start at under £160 for a smaller safe whilst the top of the range fire and water resistant safe has a capacity of 221 litres.

New Fire Kills campaign

firekillsTo complement the clock change campaign, which is designed to encourage people to test their smoke alarms at least twice a year, and to increase the frequency of testing, Fire Kills, the UK Government’s Fire Safety Campaign, has recently commenced a new initiative.

Running alongside the clock change campaign will be one that encourages householders test their alarms on the first of every month.

A series of comical video clips have been produced to reinforce the message. The first of these features an acrobatic troupe forming a human pyramid with the person on top testing the alarm.

Fire Kills undertook some research following last year’s March clock change advertising and asked what people believed to be a reasonable testing frequency. The main responses were 41% who said monthly, 24% when the clocks change 20% once or twice a year and 16% weekly.

Whilst the clock change campaign will continue the new monthly activities have been introduced to provide consistency in regular testing that is easily memorable and can be applied throughout the year.
Safelincs is also supporting the message of regular smoke alarm testing by offering a reminder service for smoke alarm testing.

Carbon monoxide likely cause of fishermen’s deaths

boatTwo young fishermen have been found dead on a trawler moored in Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire. Early reports suggest the men suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, having left an oven ring burning throughout the night to provide heat.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – and can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations.

Following a similar incident in April 2013, when  a mother and her 10 year old daughter died on Lake Windermere, MP Barry Sheerman, chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), urged boaters to safeguard against the noxious gas by following Boat Safety Scheme advice.

This advice can be found in a booklet Safelincs produced in conjunction with Boat Safety Scheme and CoGDEM  (The Council of Gas Detection and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring).

Printed copies are available free of charge from Safelincs.

Everybody – home owners and caravan owners as well as boat owners – should have a carbon monoxide alarm, but these are not a substitute for the good installation, regular servicing and proper maintenance of fuel burning appliances and engines.

Safelincs fire alarm panel servicing

Fire Alarm PanelSafelincs has for many years carried out fire alarm system installations and servicing. However, whilst we have been able to give online quotes for new wireless fire alarm systems we had not been able to provide simple online quotes for nationwide fire alarm system servicing without prior discussion with the customer and/or site surveys. This challenge has now been mastered and Safelincs can now offer clear pricing for fire alarm system servicing online; the price remains the same wherever our customer is based in the UK and whatever type of system is installed. The price is unaffected by the customer’s location and is calculated from the number of devices connected to the system.

Our service is carried out in accordance with BS5839-1:2013 and covers all tests and certification to comply with the standard. If defects are found, there is a fixed hourly rate to deal with the repairs (should you wish us to carry out the work). Any replacement components are priced at our competitive online sales prices.

We also offer our contract customers an out of hour emergency service to give you advice about silencing a false alarm. Should we be unable to rectify the problem over the phone we will attend the site within 8 hours.

To book our fire alarm system servicing, just fill in our email contact form on our fire alarm servicing page or contact us by telephone. We will then contact you with a service agreement to be signed and returned so that we can arrange the service visit, at the price already stated online.

Extra care called for during firemen’s strike action

Fire services across the country praised citizens who were asked to take extra precautions to stay safe during firefighter strikes that took place over the Christmas and New Year period.

The precautions outlined are those which everybody would do well to heed – strike or no strike! These included not overloading plug sockets (particularly pertinent during the festive period when extra lights are in use), ensuring smoke alarms are fitted on every level of a property and not cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Also making sure everything is switched off before going to bed and sharing an escape plan with everyone who is living or staying at the property.

There was also plenty of advice for businesses which again is relevant at all times of the year. These included:

  • Being safety conscious when carrying out checks at closing time
  • Making sure alarm systems are set before leaving
  • Keeping all fire escapes and entrances clear
  • Switching off electrical appliances at the plug when not in use
  • Not storing flammable goods under stairs or in enclosed spaces
  • Keeping smoking areas free of waste and emptying ash trays
  • Keeping all areas tidy and free from clutter
  • Ensuring all staff know what to do in the event of a fire
  • Checking the fire safety risk assessment to ensure everything is covered

The ongoing industrial action is being taken in opposition to the government’s decision to raise firefighters’ retirement age from 55 to 60 and to increase their individual pension contributions.

Graham Stagg, Chief Fire Officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Although our crewing levels were significantly impacted, we were able to use our own operationally trained managers and on-call firefighters to crew fire engines during the strike period.

“Whilst our day-to-day services were severely disrupted by the strike, the commitment of our on-call, support and operational managers ensured we were able to fulfil our legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service.”

Helpful overview guides for Defibrillators

Purchasing defibrillators for schools, sports clubs and businesses can be a challenge. What are semi-automatic and fully-automatic defibrillators and which of these are suitable for non-professional staff? When should a defibrillator be applied? What training is required and how do we look after the defibrillators’ maintenance?

To help with these questions we have created a thorough but easy-to-read guide ‘Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – a guide to their purpose, design and maintenance’.

Some of our customers have also been concerned about their legal obligations once they installed a defibrillator. Could an AED cause harm to a person being resuscitated? Could there be litigation if a defibrillator should be used incorrectly?

Again, we have tried to answer these questions in a helpful and accessible manner. Our guide ‘The use of automated external defibrillators: some health and safety / legal considerations’.

This guide will help you put your concerns in perspective and offers some easy steps of how to minimise any risks.

New ten year first aid kit stops waste and litigation risk

DecaMed first aid kitSafelincs, together with Söhngen, the leading German manufacturer of first aid materials have introduced a comprehensive first aid kit, the DecaMed, where all sterile contents have a guaranteed lifespan of ten years plus. The ground breaking longevity is achieved by an aluminium-vapourised, non-sticking wound covering and sterile packaging.

One of the issues with keeping a first aid kit properly stocked is ensuring the contents do not exceed their
‘use by’ date. Most first aid materials have a lifespan of less than two years which means that they need to be regularly inspected and replaced to conform to health and safety guidelines. Failure to maintain the contents of a first aid kit can lead to prosecution should a user of the materials be infected or otherwise afflicted. This leads to the regular disposal of items within the first aid kits in public organisations and businesses creating continuous costs as the kits have to be refreshed and out of date items replenished.

DecaMed kit with 10yr life spanWith the German made DecaMed all sterile materials have a ‘use by’ date of over ten years. This includes bandages, dressings, wound covers and compresses. Consumables like plasters and gloves still need to be replaced as required.

“Knowing that the items in the first aid kit have such a long life saves time, money and wastage,” says Harry Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director, Safelincs. “We put this kit together so that companies and organisations would have a comprehensive first aid kit without having to constantly be concerned about monitoring dates and wasting money.”

Charity campaigns for defibrillators in schools

powerheartAlthough there are as many as 270 sudden cardiac arrests in British schools each year, there is no requirement for defibrillators to be kept on their premises. SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) UK is urging the Government to pass a law to ensure schools have these devices in place. A defibrillator, also known as an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. Acting quickly is crucially important – every minute without CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by 10%. SADS founder Anne Jolly said trials of the defibrillators in schools around the UK had proven to be a success. “We’re trying to stop young people’s deaths. We know, if a cardiac arrest happens, the faster a defibrillator is used on a person the better the chances are of them surviving,” she said.

Safelincs supplies fully or semi-automatic external defibrillators with clear visual and audible step-by-step guidance to enable correct use of the equipment even under time pressure. Many of the defibrillators in the range come with a free place on a St John Ambulance defibrillator training course specific to  the model. For example, each fully-automatic Powerheart AED G3 Plus defibrillator purchased comes with a free Responder Kit and a place at a training course. Also available are wall brackets and carry bags as well as additional / replacement products such as batteries and adult and child defibrillator pads.

P50 service free extinguishers in the petroleum industry

Portable fire extinguishers in refineries and forecourts are exposed to weather and extreme temperatures and, on top of heavy handling, sometimes face a corrosive atmosphere. Traditional fire extinguishers, made from painted steel with an inner protective lining can corrode, often get dented, burst if the contents freeze and can experience detachment of the inner protective lining. All of these issues will lead to the extinguisher being condemned at the annual extinguisher service, resulting in you having to replace it.

This leaves the owners with replacement costs on top of the annual servicing charges, refilling charges every five years and the problem of supervising external subcontractors onsite. In larger refineries and production facilities the cost for supervision of every sub-contract engineer and issuing safety instructions can be significant.

During the annual service, traditional, stored pressure extinguishers are visually inspected from the outside and the pressure of the extinguisher is checked. Every five years, the extinguishers are opened, emptied and the inside is inspected for rust or lining detachment (showing as bubbles). The chemicals within the extinguishers are usually not re-used due to the fear of contamination from rust or the impact of moisture. In short, most of the inspection activities are linked to the fact the extinguishers are made of steel, can corrode and can be dented.

Britannia, a long established manufacturer of portable extinguishers in the UK, in partnership with Safelincs can offer a solution which addresses all these issues.

p50-extinguishersBritannia’s P50 fire extinguishers are made from composites and brass. The extinguishers have an inner 3-layered PA cylinder that contains the fire fighting agent and does not corrode or interact in any way with the chemicals. This cylinder is tightly wrapped in aramid fibre (Kevlar is the best know aramid), a fibre that is stronger than steel (per weight) and which takes up the pressure from the extinguisher. The extinguisher core is then contained and protected against UV light by a red plastic mantle. The head and valves are made from brass and stainless steel. The extinguishers are almost indestructible – even the most serious knocks will not damage the P50 extinguishers.

To test their resilience at the production plant, every 500th extinguisher is destruction tested: The extinguishers are pressurised 12000 times between zero and 25 bar. After this demanding test they are crushed flat by a metal blade and re-pressurised to over 55 bar without being allowed to burst or leak! In the tests P50 extinguishers actually only burst at around 85 bar!

These extinguishers cannot corrode and have a far superior pressure resistance than steel extinguishers. As the chemicals are not reacting with the cylinder, there is no need to refill the extinguisher after five years. The manufacturers of the chemicals have certified that the chemicals used in the P50 extinguishers will not require refilling for at least ten years. After the ten years, Safelincs, the main distribution partner of Britannia, offers an exchange service. The returned units are re-filled and can then be used for a further ten years!

As corrosion, lining detachment and dints will never be a problem for the P50 extinguishers; the only inspection requirement left is the verification of the internal pressure to detect any potential leakage. To give extra peace of mind Britannia has fitted two German-made pressure gauges to each extinguisher. Normal extinguishers only have one pressure gauge.

p50-gaugesThe requirement to regularly check pressure gauges applies both to traditional extinguishers and the P50. The general recommendation is that extinguisher gauges should be viewed in passing about once a month by end users to ensure that they are still showing the indicator needle in the green area of the gauge.

The real difference to traditional steel extinguishers is the replacement of the annual service by an external engineer with a simple annual visual inspection by the end users or their representatives. This inspection is boiled down to a very swift visual inspection of gauges and the extinguisher outer body to check for any visual damage from the outside. This inspection is then recorded on the back of the extinguisher and in the company’s fire safety logbook. This visual inspection requires no skill or tools. Nevertheless, when Safelincs installs the extinguishers at the customer, they train site staff in the visual inspection process and will certify their training to confirm that staff are competent to visually inspect the extinguishers. As a back-up there is also a video on the Safelincs website that runs through the process.

The P50 extinguishers are kitemarked and LPCB approved. They are also CE marked and marine approved. All major insurance companies accept the reduced servicing regime, as long as evidence of the regular visual inspection is kept in the standard fire safety log books in the same way as for any other extinguisher types. Britannia offers a ten year guarantee for all P50 extinguishers, offering complete peace of mind.

P50 extinguishers are installed in refineries, petrol stations and many other outdoor locations. It was in one of the refineries that the extinguisher shown below was photographed after it had been run over by a van – it was still fully pressurised!

crushed-p50-extinguisher

Cost benefits:

These composite extinguishers cost in the region of £100-£150, depending from order volume, including site survey, installation, training and certification. They save the customer the costs of the annual service and the five-yearly refills/replacement. Due to the refurbishment after ten years (at around half the price of a new P50) the lifespan of the extinguisher is twenty years.

A simple and conservative calculation, comparing it with Safelincs’ own and very competitive standard extinguisher range, identifies the savings. We have only considered a ten year period, although the savings over 20 years are of course much larger: The savings indicated below are per unit.

Traditional 6kg powder (steel) P50 Composite
Cost Qty Cost Qty
Extinguisher cost £32.99 1 £145.00 1
Installation+ commission £9.99 1 0
Annual service £7.99 8 0
Call-out (averaged over 5 extinguishers) £5.00 11
5 yearly refill £39.98 1
Disposal £3.57 1 0
Total 10 year costs £205.45 £145.00

As mentioned above, the real savings are higher when a 20 year period is considered. Larger customers are also achieving much better purchase prices in the first place.

Also, the P50 extinguishers have substantially higher ratings than traditional extinguishers, so that fewer extinguishers are required, offering even further savings:

Model 6kg powder 6l foam
TG PowerX 21A 144B C 13A 144B
(not suitable for electrical)
P50 Composite 43A 183B C 27A 183B Electrical

The P50s have more than double the A rating, allowing drastic reduction of numbers in offices and work places.

The P50 foam is also suitable for use on electrical equipment, allowing the replacement of the CO2 extinguishers found in many locations. Traditional foam extinguishers often do not have that capability!

To help our customers with the cost of the introduction of the P50 extinguishers, we offer additional options:

  • Phased introduction: We replace extinguishers as they become due for replacement, rather than exchanging them all in one go
  • Payments spread over a number of years

We will, of course, also remove your old extinguishers free of charge and dispose of them responsibly.

If you wish to find out how much the P50 can save you, please contact Safelincs on 0800 612 6537 or email service@safelincs.co.uk

Safelincs rated ‘Excellent’ by Church of England customers

parish-buyingSafelincs are the contracted fire safety and H&S provider of the Church of England and the Church in Wales through their collaborative buying platform ParishBuying. We provide all fire safety products and services required in Churches, church schools, parishes, church buildings and offices as well as general H&S products such as first aid, PPE and winter safety products. Generous discounts for all Church organisations have been negotiated on top of the already competitive Safelincs internet prices.

The Church of England and the Church in Wales recently asked all their members about feedback about their service providers and Safelincs came out with the highest possible rating. Customers commented that Safelincs are ‘extremely helpful’, satisfied their needs entirely and that the service was ‘excellent’.

We are of course very proud about this feedback which has strengthened our philosophy of providing a personal service and best support on a nationwide scale.

The findings of the survey match the findings of our independent third-party ratingprovider, Trustpilot, which confirms our ‘excellent’ rating.