Nadine Coyle, Girls Aloud singer, and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

fireangel-digital-co-alarmGood Morning Britain spoke to Nadine Coyle, Girls Aloud singer, about her experience with carbon monoxide poisoning in a bid to raise awareness about this silent killer, which claims over 40 lives a year.

Nadine and her family were suffering from exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide and felt very unwell as well as experiencing some confusion. It was only when a routine check on the gas boiler was carried out, that a crack in the unit was revealed, emitting dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

At the time Nadine did not know about carbon monoxide poisoning and the house she lived in did not have a CO alarm fitted. Now Nadine wants to spread the word and prevent deaths caused by carbon monoxide.

CO is a deadly gas that humans are unable to detect. They only way of knowing if your appliance is faulty and leaking carbon monoxide is to fit a carbon monoxide alarm.

In the UK there are around 40 deaths a year caused by CO poisoning and approximately 4,000 people a year are treated in hospital with carbon monoxide related issues.

Don’t leave detecting carbon monoxide to chance, fit a carbon monoxide alarm today

Briton Supports Safelincs with Fire Door Safety Week 2015

Briton-2003Fire Door Safety Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of the lifesaving role of fire doors and the importance of installing and maintaining them to a high standard. Poorly fitted and damaged fire doors can affect their integrity; effectively stopping them from performing correctly.

Door closers play a vital role in fire door safety, enabling the door to close fully whilst not in use or when the fire alarm sounds. When shut, the fire door compartmentalises the room and acts as a barrier against the spread of fire. Without a door closer fitted, the door remains open and no longer protects the room and the surrounding area.

Briton provides a wide range of door closers including overhead, guide rail and free-swing options to suit various applications, all of which are third party accredited by leading certification scheme Certifire. The independent certification body provides assurance that Briton door closers perform to a high standard and are compliant with the necessary regulations when correctly installed.

To promote Fire Door Safety Week, Safelincs have partnered with Briton to provide our customers with exclusive discounts on their overhead door closers, extending the offer period for one month until the 20th October 2015. So don’t miss out on our limited time special offers!

Safelincs are proud to support a trusted and reliable brand and are pleased to hear Briton will be donating to the Children’s Burns Trust charity at the end of Fire Door Safety Week.

Not sure which Briton door closer is right for you? Check out the Briton door closer selector, or call our customer service helpline on 0800 612 6537.

Fire Door Safety Week: Have You Checked Your Fire Doors Recently?

freedor-on-firedoorFire doors are absolutely crucial when it comes to delaying the spread of fire throughout a building. Effective compartmentalisation can be the difference between losing a single room, and losing an entire property to fire.
Fire Door Safety Week 2015 runs from the 14th until the 20th of September and is intended to help raise awareness of the importance of fire doors whilst encouraging building owners to check the condition of any fire doors they have installed.

Well maintained fire doors provide usually a minimum 30 minute barrier to prevent fire passing through, but to do so, the door must be closed. It is illegal to wedge open fire doors or hold them open with, for example, a fire extinguisher, and business owners leave themselves open to hefty fines and even jail sentences if they fail to prevent this from happening.

A simple way of addressing this problem is the Dorgard Fire Door Retainer and the Freedor Wireless Free Swing Door Closer, which  are legal ways of holding fire doors open. These devices allow doors to be retained in an open position, but automatically release the door in the event of a fire alarm, meaning the fire barrier is re-instated when a fire is detected. Commonly found in public buildings or commercial premises, they offer the perfect solution to a common problem.

Of course, making sure that fire doors are closed when needed means nothing unless the fire door creates a good seal. If you can see daylight at any point around the perimeter of your fire doors, then something is certainly wrong. Fire doors or their frames should feature an intumescent seal to prevent flames or smoke from passing through any small gaps. These fire door seals often feature a brush-like element which is intended to prevent smoke from getting past. This seal should snugly fill the small gap between door and frame.

A simple way to test the performance of the brush element of your fire door seals is to insert a postcard (or something similar) into the gap around the door. If the seal is in good condition, this should be held in place. If the seal does not grip the card then it may warrant replacement as the brush has likely worn over time. The condition of your fire door seals must be checked periodically. If they are found to be worn or missing, it is advisable to replace them immediately.

Fire door seals come in two main types: self-adhesive surface mounted seals, or rebated seals which are sunk into the door or frame. Once again, it is a legal responsibility to ensure your fire doors and their seals are in good condition. If it were found that the maintenance of the fire doors had been neglected, then the responsible person  could be prosecuted.

We hope this article encourages you to ensure your fire doors and seals are in good condition. Making sure your fire doors are in good order, and preventing them from being wedged open is a simple task that can make a world of difference in the event of a fire. Spend just a few minutes today to ensure your fire doors are protecting your property as well as they can.

For further information about fire doors and related products, visit our fire door help & information page, or contact us on 0800 612 6537.

Please also reference our fire safety forum section

 

Project SHOUT launches today

project-shoutProject SHOUT, a campaign to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (chemical symbol CO) poisoning, launches today, September 7th 2015. We are proud to support this initiative and help spread the word about the silent killer – carbon monoxide.

Here are some of the facts: Tragically around 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, 200 people require hospital treatment and a staggering 4000 people attend an A&E clinic with suspected CO poisoning. Yet there is still a lack of awareness of the dangers of CO.

How can we change these facts and figures? By spreading the awareness and knowledge that CO is a threat to anyone who has a fuel burning appliance in their home or lives in a home that is adjacent to a property with a fuel burning appliance.

CO is the result of ineffective burning of a carbon based fuel and it can leak into a home if flues are not working correctly or if, for example, gas burning appliances are faulty. Labelled as the silent killer carbon monoxide can not be detected by humans. It has no taste, smell or colour and can only be detected with the help of a carbon monoxide alarm.

Find out more about Project SHOUT. If you want to protect your family from the dangers of CO, take advantage of our special offer. For help and advice contact us on 0800 612 6537 or visit our carbon monoxide help pages.

Staying safe in later life

fireangel-banner
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 website

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: http://www.safelincs.co.uk/evacuation-chair-training/ or call our friendly customer services team on 0800 612 6537.

References:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/50/contents
http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

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 support@safelincs.co.uk