Staying safe in later life

As more of us are living alone as we get older, we need to ensure that, as we retain our independence, we also remain safe.
The 2011 census found that 9.2 million (16 per cent) of people, normally residing in England and Wales, were aged 65 and over, an increase of almost one million from the previous census in 2001. Of those, around 31 per cent were living alone.

As we grow older we want to maintain our independence for as long as possible, but it has to be taken into account that some of us will not be as alert as were when we were younger. The early onset of dementia is not always detected and can manifest itself in carelessness around the home. In addition, older people are often released from hospital earlier than they would have in the past and not always with sufficient carers to look after their safety and well-being.

Protection from fire

Accidental fires are a major concern for those living alone and, on average, two people over 65 a week in Great Britain are dying in house fires. Concerned relatives will want to take precautions to ensure that every step is taken to safeguard their loved ones.

The most obvious action is to ensure that adequate smoke alarms are installed in a property – a minimum of one on every floor. There is a range of mains and battery powered devices available; of particular interest are radio-interlinked smoke alarms, which are connected through radio frequency signals to ensure the fire alarm is raised throughout the residence. This is particularly important if high risk rooms, such as kitchens, are a distance away from bedrooms.

Hearing disabilities mean that up to one in seven people may not be woken up by a conventional smoke alarm system. Smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing use high-intensity strobe lights and vibration pads, which are placed under the pillow at night.

Smoke alarms should be tested regularly, but for some of us this may be difficult if it involves being perched precariously on a chair! A friend or relative performing this task is the most sensible course of action. However, if an Ei radio-interlinked or hard-wired smoke alarm system is installed this can be tested remotely using a test switch that is either wireless or wired into the mains powered smoke alarm system in a convenient location. Turning on the “Test” switch will activate all interconnected smoke and heat alarms – equivalent to pressing the test button on an alarm.

Fire prevention in the kitchen

The kitchen is potentially the most calamitous area in the house with cooking appliances (mainly cookers and ovens) being the main source of ignition for more than half of all accidental dwelling fires, according to the most recent set of fire statistics for Great Britain.
Whilst a helpful fire prevention tool for all of us, stove alarms are particularly useful for those of us who may become distracted whilst cooking. A relatively recent innovation, these devices react and sound a warning when a cooker becomes too hot.

Specially designed for installation above a cooker, the Innohome Stove Alarm SA101 is simple to install. It attaches to the cooker hood using integrated magnets, however, it can also be fitted to the wall using screws. As they are battery operated there is no need for cables or an external power source. A loud 90dB 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. The device includes a heat sensor that detects the temperature and the rate of increase in temperature. It intelligently learns from and adjusts its sensitivity to the users’ cooking pattern. The alarm does not react to fumes from cooking fat or steam. The SA101 is compatible with gas, electrical and dual-fuel cookers.

A even more sophisticated device, but compatible only with electric cookers, is the Innohome Stove Guard SGK 500. This is also attached to the cooker hood or wall. The intelligent heat sensor assesses the temperature of the cooker top and its rate of rise and identifies when a hazardous situation occurs. On detection of a hazard, the heat sensor wirelessly communicates with a control unit, which in turn cuts off the electricity supply to the cooker. The control unit also enables connection to social alarm systems such as Telecare.

Carbon Monoxide

Special attention needs to be paid to regularly servicing heating appliances and ensuring chimneys are swept. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced if there is not enough oxygen during the combustion process. It is commonly produced in appliances fuelled by LPG, natural gas, oil, petrol, wood or coal that have been badly fitted, are damaged, badly repaired or poorly maintained. CO is odourless, colourless and tasteless – the most dangerous common airborne poisoning in the world. Around 50 people a year die from CO poisoning in the UK, although some experts believe that this figure may be far higher because the symptoms are not easy to detect, with deaths often being attributed to old age.

All homes should be protected by carbon monoxide alarms. Battery models can be bought for less that fifteen pounds and some models have longlife, sealed-in ten year batteries that provide long-term peace of mind. Mains powered models can be wired into the electric circuit or plugged into a wall socket.

LPG and Natural Gas

Natural gas and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) are used for heating, cooking or heating water. As we are getting older, we are becoming more likely to forget to switch off a gas appliance or to light it in the first place. If, however, a gas cooker is left on without being lit, an explosion could eventually occur. Devices for detecting such escaping LPG or natural gas in domestic properties are available and warn us of such an occurrence. The AMS S/200P gas alarm is simply plugged into a socket and delivers a visual (LED) and audible warning upon detection of flammable gases. It also features relay outputs for interconnection to external devices.

Safety checks

If you are caring for an elderly friend or relative it is advisable to do a quick safety check around the property. Are the escape routes uncluttered and easy to navigate? Are plug sockets overloaded? Some of us have a tendency to hold on to treasured electrical items such as old radios. These may well be far more sturdy and reliable than those on the market today, but how safe is the wiring?

How safe is the furniture? Items that have been bought many years ago will probably not meet the latest fire ratings. Impregnation sprays are available to protect soft furnishing, bedding and curtains as well as decorations against catching fire (useful on Christmas trees and decorations as well as soft furnishings). They come in three versions: ‘standard’ for treatment of decorations, real Christmas trees, paper etc., ‘washable’ (can be machine washed) for treatment of bedding, curtains etc. and ‘special’ for treatment of artificial flowers, plastic decorations etc.

Finally, is it a good idea to install a fire extinguisher, in case all the precautions fail? Fire services have traditionally preached that people should get out of the house straight away if a fire breaks out. However, a survey carried out by the FIA found that over a twelve month period over 1,600 injuries were prevented and 24 lives saved by the use of fire extinguishers. The general interpretation of the statistics was that an extinguisher (irrespective of size) will put out a small fire. Once it becomes too big it becomes difficult to tackle with any number of extinguishers and the building should be evacuated.

If a fire extinguisher is to be installed, the latest water mist appliance is the most versatile for the home. It works by dispersing microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials very rapidly. It can be used on just about every type of domestic fire, including deep fat fires, and can be safely operated on live electrical appliances, as it only contains de-ionised water which is unable to carry electrical current. There are no chemicals involved, so if it is discharged in a cooking area there is no danger of contaminated food.

If you have any specialist questions, please contact Safelincs on 0800 612 6537 and our friendly staff will be happy to help.

Sales of CO alarms help children’s charity

captSeveral years ago, Safelincs began working with the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), a charity committed to reducing the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. Given the nature of our business, we felt that this was a very appropriate organisation to work with.
CAPT wanted to raise awareness of the dangers from carbon monoxide (CO) and worked with us to set up a page on its website selling CO alarms sourced through Safelincs.
In addition two of the CO alarms from the range sold on Safelincs’ own website include in the price a donation of £1 to CAPT. Every quarter Safelincs writes a cheque to CAPT based on sales; the most recent donation of £585 being the largest yet.

Harry Dewick-Eisele, managing director, Safelincs, commented: “We have seen a steady rise in the sales of CO alarms over recent months. This may be as a consequence of some of the tragic accidents involving carbon monoxide that have gained national attention – notably the recent court case surrounding the heartbreaking case of two children who died of poisoning whilst on holiday in Corfu. ”

“CAPT does a great job raising awareness of potential hazards for children and young people. We are very pleased to be able to support this charity whilst simultaneously increasing the coverage of carbon monoxide protection.”

Launch of new FireAngel platform

FireAngel WebsiteSafelincs has launched a website dedicated to the sale of FireAngel fire and carbon monoxide detection products; this follows the signing of a two year contract between Safelincs and Sprue Safety Products, the company behind FireAngel, in July 2015. Sprue and their FireAngel alarms have long been on the forefront of design and technology, a fact which is recognised by a large number of fire services which install and recommend FireAngel products. Included in the range is a selection of high tech smoke alarms, applying technologies such as Thermoptek and Thermistek fire detection, which cut down the number of false alarms from smoke and heat detectors. FireAngel also offers a large number of carbon monoxide detectors, including sealed ten year CO alarms, offering total peace of mind.

As part of the contract Safelincs will also promote and sell First Alert, BRK and FireEye smoke and CO alarms, all part of Sprue’s significant alarm portfolio.

Safelincs’ Managing Director, Harry Dewick-Eisele, commented: ‘I am very pleased to be working together with the UK’s most advanced smoke and CO alarm developers. Sprue’s products bring together customer focus and functionality expressed in beautiful design combined with technology which pushes the edges of protection equipment further. Together, we should be able to increase both Sprue’s and Safelincs’ market share to even higher levels.’

Evacuation chair training – a legal requirement?

evacchairThe Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 recognises the importance to ensure all occupants, including occupants with disabilities, have reasonable access throughout a building, and places duties on all those that provide services to the public to make changes for disabled access where needed. These adjustments need to ensure that no person is at a disadvantage and requires the responsible person to provide a means of escape for everyone, including those with a disability.

In an emergency, lifts can usually not be used for evacuation, so stairs become the main escape route from the premises. For physically disabled people this can be a problem. In this situation evacuation chairs have to be considered in your evacuation planning. They offer safe evacuation for any people unable to use stairs. For evacuation to lower floor levels the chairs are usually operated by just one person. However, there are a range of evacuation chairs available, including chairs for evacuation to higher floors, on the market and Safelincs, as an approved partner of evacuation chairs from UK manufacturer Evac+Chair, is able to provide all of these. Please visit our website to see the full range of Evac+Chair models and accessories available.

Once you have chosen an evacuation chair as part of your escape route plan, do you need to provide training for your employees? According to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, equipment provided for use at work needs to be “used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.” This means that the employer, building owner, or the responsible person is to ensure all appointed employees (those responsible to use equipment in an emergency) receive adequate training as to the correct use of the equipment. By simply installing evacuation equipment alone you have not necessarily satisfied your requirements as the responsible person.

Should you have to renew your fire risk assessment, checks will normally be carried out as to whether training has been given for all the fire safety equipment located in the workplace. If an evacuation chair has been installed but no training has been provided for your employees, this would be seen as a  non-compliance and risk by the assessor.

When choosing an evacuation chair training course, ensure your employees receive comprehensive theoretical and practical training from a fully qualified and experienced trainer. At Safelincs, we offer nationwide on-site evacuation chair training, suitable for up to 6 participants per course and completed on a time and date to suit you. For more information regarding our evacuation chair training, please visit: or call our friendly customer services team on 0800 612 6537.


Freshers’ flu symptoms or CO poisoning?

fireangel-digital-co-alarmDid you know that the symptoms for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are very similar to those of flu? Many mistake the symptoms of headache, feeling drowsy and being nauseous with having flu when, in actual fact, these symptoms can also be the first signs of CO poisoning. How can we, as parents, ensure our sons and daughters do not mistake the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning for freshers’ flu? Making them aware of the dangers of CO poisoning could save their life.

Freshers’ week is an exciting time for new university students, however, for parents whose son or daughter has just left home it can be a different story altogether. You have been looking after and protecting your child for the past 18 years and giving up this roll can be hard. It can be easier to take a step back if you know that they have all the information they need to be able to make informed decisions at university. Providing them with vital health and safety information is pivotal to this.

Each year there are 50 preventable deaths from carbon monoxide, which is known as the silent killer. CO has no smell, colour or taste, making it impossible to detect with the human senses. How then, can you protect your fresher?

  • Encourage them to think about any symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness; do these symptoms improve when they are out of their residence? An improvement in symptoms when away from the premises can be an indication that there is CO present in the building.
  • Having a CO detector can be a life saver. The device will alarm and alert the student even at night. Carbon monoxide can seep through walls, so even if the landlord of your teenager’s room has carried out all the necessary checks and maintenance there is still a danger from adjoining buildings.
  • Get them to ask or check if all the safety checks and services have been carried out on appliances such as boilers, fires and cookers.

Fire crews were called out in October 2014 to a student house in Reading. The students living in the house were showing flu-like symptoms and felt very drowsy. Their carbon monoxide alarm alerted them to the presence of CO and they were lucky to escape unharmed. A leak of CO was discovered and had it not been for the CO alarm signalling the danger, the outcome could have been disastrous.

Make sure a portable CO detector is on your list of university essentials.

For more information please call 0800 612 6537

Chimney Fire Safety Week 2015

chimneyOver 7000 emergencies attended by the fire brigade during 2013/14 were classified as chimney fires in the annual fire statistics report. Poor chimney maintenance is a known cause of domestic fires, most chimney fires are preventable.

Chimney Fire Safety Week 2015 takes place from the 7th until the 13th of September this year. The event is intended to highlight the causes of chimney fires and emphasise how to prevent a chimney fire from occurring in the first place. The most common causes of chimney fires are inappropriately sized or poorly installed appliances, blocked chimneys from soot or bird nests and the burning of unseasoned or wet wood.

The best way to protect your home is to have your chimney swept regularly. The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps recommends that people burning wood or coal on a regular basis should have their chimney swept quarterly, whereas those burning smokeless fuel, oil or gas should aim to have their chimneys swept at least once a year.

Infrequent sweeping of your chimney significantly increases the risk of a fire, and the consequences can be devastating and costly. Even a successfully extinguished chimney fire creates a great deal of mess and is a traumatic experience.

Whilst having your chimney swept regularly will greatly reduce the risk of fire, it is still important to have a means of alerting your family in case fire strikes. Chimney fires are often reported as creating a disconcerting low rumbling noise accompanied by cracking and popping from within the chimney. If you are awake, these signs are often enough to alert you to the problem, but if you are asleep, your family are much more vulnerable.

An interconnected system of smoke alarms will quickly detect any smoke released as a result of the chimney fire and raise the alarm across your entire household. Speed of detection is key, as a swift escape and notification of the fire brigade will greatly reduce the danger to your family and damage to your property.

Your regular chimney maintenance and smoke detection system should also be supplemented by a carbon monoxide detector. Poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) is created by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, coal & oil. If working properly, your chimney will draw the carbon monoxide away with the smoke. However, if your chimney is partially blocked, carbon monoxide can seep out into your home rather than being drawn away. Carbon monoxide cannot be tasted or smelled and has dangerous health implications, leading to many deaths every year in the UK.

A house fire as a consequence of a poorly maintained chimney is a terrible thought, and should be enough to motivate anyone to take steps to protect their home from the risk. Having your chimney swept regularly, ensuring your smoke alarm system is in good order, and installing a carbon monoxide detector will ensure that you are giving your family the best possible chance of avoiding the dangers and trauma of a chimney fire.

For further information contact our customer support team via

New Passive Fire Protection Resource

passivePassive fire protection (PFP) is a broad term that covers a myriad of products and concepts. As part of our desire to provide the best service and resources to our customers, Safelincs has published a comprehensive help and advice section covering all aspects of PFP.
Broken down into a series of targeted guides, this help and advice resource builds on questions raised within our fire safety forum, where passive fire protection has always been a hot topic. Specific areas covered include building regulations, compartmentalisation, furniture labelling, intumescent materials and much more.
Passive fire protection is an essential part of fire safety and is intended to help delay the spread of fire throughout a building. The integration of PFP into the fabric of a building is a legal requirement in newly built or modified properties and all commercial or public buildings.
However, there are also steps homeowners can take to slow the spread of fire throughout their property. Our guide introduces products such as fire retardant sprays which can be used to treat items like bedding and curtains to increase their fire resistance.
If you have a specific or general question about passive fire protection, our new help section is sure to contain the answer. By building on the questions raised in our forum, we have been able to tailor the information provided to the needs of real people and respond to genuine questions that relate to PFP. This gives our new PFP help and advice section a level of relevance to everyday life that is seldom found in fire and safety guides.

Adding an extra dimension to fire safety

3D-PrintingSafelincs has broken the mould and become the first fire safety provider to offer free product templates for 3D printers. 3D printers allow three-dimensional objects to be printed easily and quickly in plastic or other compounds. The first products to be introduced are test keys for manual call points and emergency lighting systems. The regular testing of alarm and lighting systems is a core aspect of fire safety management within a business, and our free 3D models mean you can rapidly replace mislaid or broken test keys without having to wait for us to ship replacement keys to you.
The keys offer a simplified, yet functional design and are compatible with a range of common devices. The STL files needed to print these free 3D test keys are available to download directly from our website with no catch or conditions. Simply click download now, and then use the file to create your own test keys via your 3D printer.
As the UK’s most progressive and customer focused provider of fire safety solutions, Safelincs believes in engaging with new technologies for the betterment of the fire safety industry. Innovations such as service-free extinguishers and water mist technology have revolutionised the fire extinguisher market in recent years, and Safelincs have been at the forefront of this modernisation to offer the best quality and best value products to our customers.
We believe 3D printing will continue to grow in popularity and become a practical alternative when it comes to sourcing fire safety items, removing the need to wait for simple items to be delivered. As part of our commitment to combine best value with great service, Safelincs will continue to invest in the future of our industry and embrace new technologies for the benefit of our customers. Next time you need a test key for your alarm or emergency lighting system: print, don’t pay.

For customers who still want to purchase the Original Equipment Manufacturers’ test keys from us, we are of course still selling test keys.

Finding a solution to cumbersome heavy fire doors

Dorgard-Main-PictureBusinesses, schools, hospitals and restaurants all have something in common – how to meet the needs of customers and staff while staying compliant with fire safety regulations. Cumbersome heavy fire doors fitted with a door closer ensure the safety of occupants and prevent the spread of fire but they cause issues for those moving from one area to another, especially when carrying heavy objects or for someone with impaired mobility.

Portland Youth Christian Outreach (PYCO), a small charitable organisation working with young people on the Isle of Portland, Dorset carried out their fire risk assessment and found that staff were wedging fire doors open to enable easy movement for staff and users and to enable staff to monitor activity in rooms. These wedges rendered the fire doors inoperative and could have led to serious prosecution for breach of fire safety related laws. Operations Manager at the centre, Zach  Williams said “Fire doors were often left wedged open as this was the only way that users could freely move around the centre and that staff could easily monitor what was happening in other rooms.”

The two main aims for the centre were to adhere to fire safety regulations and to maintain the free movement and monitoring possibility within the centre. It was identified that the Dorgard, a wireless fire door holder that is fitted to the bottom of your fire door would achieve these requirements. The Dorgard permanently holds fire doors open in the desired position. It then listens for the sound of a fire alarm and, on hearing it, lifts the plunger and allows the door closer to close the fire door. This prevents the spread of fire and smoke and gives protection to people within the building. Zach commented that “Fire doors make a real difference in protecting property, so these devices have made a great improvement to the safety of our building and all users. It allows both staff and volunteers to move around the centre with ease, without placing anyone, or the property at risk.”

Dorgard  is easily installed within 5 five minutes and, as it is battery operated, can be installed by almost anyone. This cost effective device helps with the flow of air within a building too, especially in the hot summer months.

Please view the Dorgard for more information or call 0800 612 6537. Watch this video to see how easy Dorgard is to install.

Donation opens doors

wheelchair-accessAlford Corn Exchange Community Group, a charity supported by Safelincs, took over the running of Alford’s historic Corn Exchange in April 2014. The building is a Town Hall and home to many groups and events. East Lindsey District Council, who had planned to close and sell off the building, handed the building to the group, leaving them with the responsibility of raising enough money to cover the running costs and to make improvements to the building.

To increase income the charity started to offer packages for weddings, funerals and parties. However, fire doors became a problem when events became larger in scope and visitor numbers. The building is fitted with heavy internal fire doors that close with force when you let go of the handle. Carrying food and drinks from the kitchen to the main hall was a real problem, as volunteers had to negate two heavy fire doors into the main hall.

Safelincs was contacted by Vice Chair Janet Taylor to see if there was anything that Safelincs could do to help. It was quickly identified that fitting Freedor, a wireless free-swing door closer that acts as door holder and closer in one, would resolve the issues at the Corn Exchange. Freedor is fitted to the top of the door in the same location as a normal overhead door closer and will allow your fire door to swing freely as any normal door.

The Freedor unit listens for the fire alarm and on hearing it it will automatically close the door and stop the spread of fire and smoke.

The Freedor ensures that occupants have free access to all areas of the building whilst staying compliant with fire safety regulations. The free swing action also enables people with impaired mobility to move from one room to another without difficulty.

Safelincs decided to support the great efforts of the charity and donated two Freedor units as well as the installation. Janet Taylor said “I would like to say what a difference the new door closers, that your company have generously donated and installed, have made to me and other volunteers who are working and serving food at the functions we are now having in the Corn Exchange.” She went on to mention that “Before it was never easy carrying trays etc into the main hall. I am sure that other caterers who hire our facilities will also appreciate what you have done.”

For more information about Freedor and other free-swing door closers visit