Fire door closers – how to improve ease of movement within care homes

Freedor Fire Door CloserFor those confined to care homes moving freely within the immediate environment is essential for their well-being and self-esteem. However, fire regulations require that fire doors, such as they are installed in gangways and often in bedrooms, are kept closed to prevent the spread of smoke and flames in the event of a fire. The hydraulic door closers, usually installed for this purpose, make the fire doors difficult to open for the elderly and those who require walking aids. Installing a normal fire door retainer to hold the fire door open against the pressure of a traditional door closer does not fully address this problem, as it still requires the fire door to be opened in the first place before it can be retained in the open position.
This is why Free-Swing fire door closers are required. They allow the user to open and close the fire door like any other door – without any resistance. The door can also be left open in any desired position. If the fire alarm goes off the fire door will, of course, close and the occupants of the building are protected against the spread of fire and smoke.

Some of Safelincs’ free-swing door closers require wiring into the fire alarm panel to ensure the door shutting is closing the door when a fire is detected. Our Freedor free-swing door closer, on the other hand, does not require any wiring at all. Similar to the well known Dorgard manufactured by the same UK company, the Freedor ‘listens’ for the sound of an alarm system and will close the fire door, as soon as the acoustic signal is received. The Freedor unit is battery powered and is also suitable for retro-fitting on existing fire doors.

Harry Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director, Safelincs explains, “The Freedor overcomes the need to install a door closer as well as a retainer. It is fitted in the same position as a traditional fire door closer and deals with the entire issue of the safe opening and closing of fire doors. It is a huge improvement for care homes but also children centres and other public spaces where traditional door closers can lead to difficulties for users.”

If you require any further information call 0800 612 6537 where there are experts on hand to offer advice.

It’s worth reading the ads!

Harrow CollegeWhen Ian Kavanagh, estates manager at London’s Harrow College, was leafing through his copy of FM Magazine, a Safelincs advert for the P50 range of extinguishers caught his eye. It was particularly pertinent since he had just had the annual maintenance carried out on both the campuses the college operates.

He was aware that, following on from the maintenance, a considerable amount of remedial work was required which would include replacing a significant number of the appliances.

The P50s attracted his attention because they have been developed so that they only require an annual check by a member of staff; they do not require servicing by an extinguisher engineer or a discharge test over their entire 10-year lifespan. After 10 years the extinguishers can be refurbished for a further 10-year service-free life.

Since a considerable amount of his budget goes on fire extinguisher maintenance, Kavanagh could see that the P50s had the potential to save money in the future. He contacted Safelincs who arranged to visit and demonstrate the extinguisher. It was explained that the P50’s construction, utilising Aramid fibres (a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers used in aerospace, military applications and ballistic-rated body armour fabric), is 100% corrosion proof. This removes the necessity for an annual visit from an engineer, as is the case with standard appliances.

Safelincs then carried out an in-depth site survey to identify which standard extinguishers could remain in service and the number of P50s that would be needed to be installed.

“I was very impressed with the P50s and the potential savings they offered,” commented Kavanagh. “Safelincs provided me with clear, honest information and I was happy to place an order.”

Engineers from Safelincs moved existing usable extinguishers across the sites, in accordance with Harrow College’s wishes, and fulfilled requirements to stagger the replacement of the extinguishers. In all, 92 P50s have been supplied, and a full location sheet of extinguishers and marked up floor plans provided by Safelincs. This will ensure that Harrow College’s internal security team, trained to inspect the P50s, can print out a copy and ensure that all extinguishers are checked annually.

The standard extinguishers that are still in service are maintained by Safelincs’ BAFE approved service engineers in accordance to BS5306. They will advise the college when they need to be exchanged for P50s.

The total cost to swap over to the P50 extinguishers was not much greater than the quotation received from the previous servicing company, and in the coming years major savings will be made through a vast reduction in maintenance costs.

Fire risk assessments for Church of England retirement homes

Church of England Pensions BoardSafelincs has undertaken fire risk assessments for retirement homes operated by the Church of England Pensions Board.
There are seven supported housing schemes around the country in the Midlands, West Sussex, Devon, Gloucestershire, Surrey, North Yorkshire and Lancashire. Each has approximately 30 self-contained flats for retired members of the clergy. In addition, all of them have large kitchens where communal meals are prepared, chapels, small offices, dining rooms and most of them also have residents’ lounges.
Under the Regulatory Fire Safety Order 2005 it is a requirement for all employers or owners of premises to carry out a fire risk assessment (FRA) for every workplace or premises for which they are responsible.

One of Safelincs’ professional fire risk assessors visited each of the seven locations, undertook a site analysis, recorded the findings and explained them to the person with responsibility for each site. The assessments looked at measures to reduce the risk of fire on the premises, reducing any potential spread of fire and the effective means of escape should a fire break out. Hazards were identified and eliminated or reduced.

A written FRA report was produced along with the necessary forms to allow each site to update its report in the future and to document any corrective actions that were carried out.

Safelincs obtained the work through the Parish Buying website, operated by the Church of England, which offers negotiated rates from core suppliers contracted by the Church of England on behalf of parishes, church schools and other church organisations. Safelincs is the selected supplier for all fire safety and H+S items and services. This includes a range of over 3500 fire safety products, such as fire safes, fire doors and fire alarm systems.

Ian Grace, Supported Housing Operations Manager for the Church of England Pensions Board commented: “Safelincs staff were courteous, easy to do business with and completed the work in a timely fashion.”

Emergency lighting – Looking back at DALI emergency lights in Westfield Shopping Center

Westfield Shopping CentreThe Westfield Shopping Centre in London is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe with 280 retail outlets and 50 eateries. At the time of construction in 2011 the focus was on innovation and sustainability. Fast forward three years to review our involvement in the success of the building.

In 2011 Safelincs won the contract to supply Westfield with high quality DALI addressable emergency lighting connected to a DALI digital lighting control system. DALI systems reduce the inspection and maintenance requirement for lighting, especially emergency lighting.

The use of natural light and efficient lighting amongst other energy saving measures ensured that Westfield achieved an ‘excellent’ BREEAM (environmental rating).

All Safelincs emergency lighting units were manufactured with integrated control and diagnostic capabilities adhering to strict efficiency specifications without compromising performance.
We upgraded our MP8 and ES8 emergency lights to DALI technology which were then used on all emergency exit routes, final exits and communal spaces in the shopping centre. DALI systems perform the necessary self-diagnostic tests in accordance with BS5266. Each emergency light sends its self test results to the central panel and if a malfunction is found with an individual lighting unit, the specific fault is highlighted.
MP8 were supplied in a chrome finish, complimenting the shopping centre’s interior design.Our maintained (always on) version of ESW units were placed outside of all final exits. Protected up to IP65, the ESW is a tough waterproof unit ideal for external installation.

The use of DALI addressable emergency units into the lighting control system made a very complex system easy to manage. The emergency lighting supplied by Safelincs has delivered long term value for our customer – in terms of operational savings, fire safety and energy savings. We look forward to being involved in future projects such as this.

A buying guide for security safes and fireproof safes

Fireproof SafeThere is a huge choice of safes in the market and it is difficult and sometimes confusing to make a buying decision without some guidance. We have therefore compiled a short buying guide to help you, although you can of course ring us for advice if you prefer. We are always happy to help.

You may want to purchase a safe due to either an event that has triggered your need to buy a safe or simply because your insurance policy states that you need to have one for your property or business. Ultimately, you purchase a safe to protect an item from being stolen or damaged in the event of a burglary, fire and increasingly flooding.

Most safes will show an insurance rating designed to indicate the level of security that the safe will provide. The higher the insurance rating normally means the more secure the safe is, however you should always check with your insurance underwriter that they will actually cover you for the value you need. Just like all insurance the value may vary depending on you individual circumstances.

You may initially only need a safe to protect cash and valuables, however, many people eventually keep the following items in their safe, so it is important to chose a safe that is big enough!

  • Certificates
  • Deeds
  • Contracts
  • Passports
  • Photo’s – digital or paper
  • Videos – digital
  • Licenses
  • All items/documentation that will help you start again after a fire
  • Backup drives for computers and servers
  • HR files

When purchasing a safe consider what would happen if you lost the key or forgot the code to gain entry. Not all brands offer a key replacement or code retrieval service, which you may need very quickly to gain access to your safe. Safelincs’ suppliers provide a key replacement and code retrieval service to ensure that you can access your safe again quickly (special exceptions apply). You will need to keep some evidence, such as an invoice, about your purchase in a safe place, however this should not be in the safe itself, so that when the need arises you can quickly request a new key or a new access code.

Fireproof Safes

There is a myth that all safes will offer a level of protection against fire, however, because steel is a good conductor of heat, ordinary safes become an oven if exposed to fire and will incinerate its contents unless the safe has a fire resistant barrier in the body and door.

Fireproof safes, also called fire safes, are designed to protect the contents from fire while still providing some level of protection from theft. It’s important that all safes claiming to offer a level of protection from fire have this independently certified from a 3rd party test agency. This is important because you want to be able to trust the safe you have purchased to perform exactly in accordance with the manufacturer’s claims.

Most fire tests will offer 3 levels of fire resistant in terms of time:

  1. Good = 30 mins
  2. Better = 60 mins
  3. Best = 120 mins

The temperatures vary slightly between tests but are mostly:

  1. 843°c
  2. 927°c
  3. 1010°c

The UL (USA) Class 350 test also includes a drop test after burning to ensure the door of the safe doesn’t open if dropped from a height (simulating a floor in a burning building collapsing). The 2 drop tests are:

  1. 15ft (4.5m)
  2. 30ft (9.1m)

Some fire safes in the market also protect its contents from water. There are two grades of water protection. Protection against immersion (flooding) and protection against spray (from a fire fighter’s hose).

We offer a range of specialist fireproof safes for the permanent storage and protection of hard drives. These hard drives stay inside of a fireproof safe and are powered and linked to via a USB connection that passes through the wall of the safe. This allows you to automatically create computer backups to external hard drives which are stored in a fireproof safe without ever having to move or unplug hard drives for backup purposes.

All safes purchased from Safelincs come with free delivery to your door. An indoor delivery can be quoted by us.

Safelincs offers a free replacement after a fire should your safe be affected by a fire.

Keeping a fire door open legally….and safely

Dorgard Fire Door RetainersFire safety company Safelincs operates a website www.firescout.co.uk that invites visitors to submit photographs of any potentially dangerous situations they have spotted. All entries are anonymous, the idea being to educate rather than ‘name and shame’. Safelincs then offers advice as to whether the situation could incur a fine and how much, if anything, it would cost to remedy the situation.
A common misdemeanour is to prop open a fire door, sometimes with a fire extinguisher – a double transgression!

Fire doors are an essential part of the fabric of a building and have two important functions in the event of a fire; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire or smoke and when opened they provide a means of escape. They are designed to be kept closed except when people are passing through them. In some businesses, and in places such as care homes or schools, closed fire doors can act as a hindrance to general mobility and moving around to perform essential tasks. However, there is a way in which the situation can be overcome without compromising safety or breaking the law.

Safelincs provide a number of products manufactured by specialist manufacturer Fireco which allow fire doors to be kept open legally and safely. Each of these products works by responding to the sound (anything above 65 decibels) of smoke or fire alarms; the mechanism holding the door open is released and the door closer on the fire door closes it to prevent the spread of fire and smoke around the building.

Dorgard, the first innovative product Fireco, is a wireless appliance that can be screwed the base of a door in less than five minutes. The standalone device will then hold the door open at any angle allowing freedom of access throughout the building. Utilising acoustic technology, Dorgard ‘listens’ for a continuous alarm of 65dBA or higher which, once heard, will automatically release the door. Dorgard is available in a variety of colours and finishes which will blend in with any décor.

Fireco also produces System X which extends the versatility of Dorgard by linking several different devices and by overcoming the issue of noisy workplaces. A transmitter is wirelessly installed next to a fire alarm sounder or hardwired into the fire alarm system. In the event of a fire, System X will wirelessly transmit simultaneously to multiple Dorgard X or Deafgard X units within a 100 metre range. Safelincs will visit an organisation’s premises and undertake a free survey and make recommendations for siting an effective system.

The latest product from Fireco is Freedor, a unique wire free solution that allows a door to free-swing just like a normal door and to be held open at any angle – automatically closing the door in a controlled manner when a fire alarm sounds. It utilises the same technology that is employed in Dorgard but is fixed unobtrusively to the top of the door. Using Freedor allows freedom of access throughout the building for disabled people and people less able to operate the doors, and assists businesses complying with the Equality Act 2010. The purchase price includes the installation through a professional installer.

All these products have applications in a wide variety of environments and allow easy movement through a building without compromising safety or contravening fire safety regulations.
To find out more about the Fireco range go to www.safelincs.co.uk and follow the link to Fire Door and Exit Equipment or call 0800 612 6537 where there are friendly experts on hand to offer advice.

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.