Smoke alarms suitable for children

Sleeping Child Researchers at Dundee University have worked hard to develop a smoke alarm with a low pitch alarm sound and a voice message that helps to wake up children if there is a fire at night. The most successful alarm version, the researchers found, was a combined low pitch sound followed by a female voice saying ‘Wake up, the house is on fire’. A laudable project and the fruit of it will hopefully help families in the future to improve the safety of their children.

While we are greeting this development as an important break-through, we analysed the issue at hand a bit further.

Having early notification of a fire is only one element to ensure you and your children have the best chance of surviving a house fire. Teaching your children, including very young ones, what to do on hearing the alarm will prevent them from panicking and from walking out of their bedroom into a potentially dangerous situation.

You may decide that the best route of action is for your child to stay in their bedrooms and to wait for you there or for them to make their way to your room ready to evacuate. No matter what your course of action, it is imperative that children have been given clear instructions and that the fire drill is practiced.

It is essential that both parents and children get notified of a fire immediately. The best way to achieve this is to have the smoke alarms interlinked throughout the house. So, if a smoke alarm is triggered in a child’s bedroom or anywhere else in the house, the alarm would not only be raised in the bedroom of the child but also in the parents’ bedroom. Interlinking gives the maximum warning time to the parents even if, for example, a fire starts in the downstairs kitchen. This is crucial when every second counts.

Interlinking can be achieved in a traditional way with wires spanning from alarm to alarm, however, easier options are now available with battery powered radio-interlinked smoke alarms being a simple-to-install solution.

Whilst we wait for this new smoke alarm to progress through the developmental stages we should make sure that our own current fire safety precautions and evacuation plans are reviewed and where possible improved upon.

For further advice about fire safety in the home you can visit our fire prevention page.

What are Generations and do They Matter for Nest Products?

It is well known that computer-based technology advances very quickly, with products being outdated and replaced by a newer version, or ‘generation,’ almost every year. Nest Labs’ range of ‘smart home’ products is no exception to this as the oldest two have already undergone a few iterations of redesign and improvement.

Safelincs has a close relationship with Nest in the UK and gets its stock directly from them, so you can be assured that you’re buying the latest models. However, if you already own Nest products that may be older models you have nothing to worry about as there is no issue mixing new and old generations of Nest devices in your home.

Nest Protect
Nest Protect

The Nest Protect combines an industrial-grade smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector with voice alerts, status and testing via a smartphone app, and a range of extra features like a motion-sensing nightlight. With the second generation, you can even hush false alarms from the app.

The 2nd generation Nest Protect has been redesigned with a more curved and smooth profile, a clear difference from the 1st gen’s mostly square form. However, the new design isn’t just a prettier face; it has become an even more formidable guardian for your home as it is the first domestic smoke alarm to sport a ‘split-spectrum’ smoke sensor.

Utilising two frequencies of light, it can more accurately detect finer particles released by fast-flaming fires. The new Nest Protect also has a special wire mesh to decrease false alarms caused by dust or bugs. Furthermore, by changing the materials and components used in manufacturing, the 2nd gen Protect has a lifespan of 10 years compared to the 1st generation’s 7 years.

Nest Learning Thermostat

While the new Nest Learning Thermostat is a little slimmer than gen 2, the most noticeable difference is the much larger screen – 8.25cm vs 7cm – and they haven’t forgotten to increase the resolution to take advantage of this upgrade. Nest has also replaced the proximity sensor in the latest model which enables the thermostat to detect you across the room and wake up the screen, showing you the current time or temperature.

Some more functional updates in the 3rd generation involved not only upgrading the integrated WiFi chip, to support 5GHz for futureproofing against newer routers and to reduce dropped connections, but Nest also added support for OpenTherm. If your boiler supports this technology, the Nest Learning Thermostat can now help you manage your hot water as well as central heating.

If you do not recognise your Nest thermostat here, please visit https://nest.com/support/article/How-can-I-tell-which-Nest-Learning-Thermostat-I-have. You may have an older generation thermostat which was not made for compatibility with European systems.

Nest Cam
Nest Cam
The Nest Cam comes in two versions, Indoor and Outdoor, though both are on their first iteration so no matter where you see them or how long you’ve had one, it’s still the latest model. The black Indoor model is almost shaped like an inverted raindrop and has a noticeably slimmer and sleeker profile compared to its weatherproof brother, which appears more like a white coffee cup with no handle.

Regardless of which model you purchase you’ll get a bunch of great features like snapshots of activity over the last 3-hours, optional subscriptions for 10- or 30-day full video history, the ability to view live video from anywhere over the Internet, and 2-way voice communications between the Nest app and your Nest Cam. The only functional differences between the two are their mounting options and that the Outdoor model’s components are weatherproof.

To summarise, while Nest’s offerings have gone through a varying number of upgrades you can rest assured that, as long as you don’t accidentally purchase a first generation Learning Thermostat, all of your Nest gadgets will work together seamlessly. If you really want to have the latest models, though, Safelincs has you covered.
For any questions or to place an order you can call us on 0800 978 8202 or email support@safelincs.co.uk.

What are deed boxes

We all own documents that we either cannot afford to lose, such as passports, marriage certificates, insurance documents and bank documents or that we just cannot bear to lose because of their sentimental value to us, such as important personal letters. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to lose one of these items will be well aware of the inconvenience, chaos and upset this can cause.

You would not dream of exposing your valuables to theft by leaving them unattended on a window ledge. By the same logic, surely you would not willingly leave your most important documents exposed to fire or water damage either, would you?

Having read this far, you might already have begun creating a mental shortlist of the items you would choose to protect. Now imagine losing them all – at the same time. It is a scary prospect, or at least it would be were there not such a simple and cost effective means of avoiding this potential nightmare: deed boxes.

Deed boxes are designed to take valuable documents and protect them against fire damage and water ingress. Interestingly, the name ‘deed box’ persists despite the deeds of a house, the most important deeds most of us will come across in our lives, are these days usually stored by our solicitors on our behalf.

Safelincs offers a specifically designed Fire and Waterproof Deed Box which protects documents as the ones mentioned above. Suitable for A4 documents and with an internal cubic capacity of 5.4 litres, there is even ample space to store multiple CDs, DVDs or USB devices alongside your paperwork should you wish to. This protects your digital information from fire and water damage as well.
Fire and Waterproof Deed Box
This deed box offers all of the standard features experts agree you should look for when choosing a quality box. It can be secured by a key lock (two keys supplied) and is UL certified to protect your valuables from fire for a minimum of 30 minutes. It also protects its contents from water submersion for up to 8 hours, and is supplied with an outstanding 5 year manufacturer’s warranty.

So who is this deed box made for? The answer is anyone that values peace of mind. You’ve read the evidence and understand what is at stake. Buy your deed box right now and take advantage of our free next day delivery service. From the moment you close the lid after placing your most cherished possessions inside, you will be able to enjoy the peace of mind that a quality deed box can provide.

For further information regarding this product, please visit our website or e-mail our friendly customer service team via support@safelincs.co.uk. You can also ring us on 0800 612 6537

Compact ladder provides ideal maintenance solution

Saffold Fold-Out Access LadderWhen a leading Scottish construction company required a discreet foldable ladder to allow access for maintenance to the attic areas of some care homes it was building, it chose the Saffold ladder from Safelincs.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP is a highly successful and evolving business which has recently been recognised as one of the top 90 businesses in Scotland for employment and diversity. One of its recent projects was the construction of a complex of eight care homes. Each had an attic area that required a compact and unobtrusive ladder to enable access for tasks such as service and maintenance.

The company chose the unique Saffold access ladder from Safelincs following a competitive procurement process. With a slim profile and sturdy construction this foldable ladder, which is used alternatively as escape or access ladder, provided the perfect solution. When the Saffold ladder is not in use, the anti-slip rungs are concealed within its own low profile. The closed ladder is only 74mm deep and has an appearance much like that of a drainpipe or cable trunking, enabling it to be inconspicuous.

The Saffold access ladder can be released from either the top or bottom by removing an anti-tamper pin or using an optional key lock. The ladder opens out away from the wall with the rungs rotating into place as the rail extends to form a sturdy, fixed access ladder. There is also an option for a pull-out handle, which allows users to access the Saffold ladder from above, maintaining their safety before and during descent.

Although the Saffold ladder was originally designed for outdoor use, it is ideal for indoor application where its anodised aluminium finish looks unobtrusive and elegant. It provided the customer with an easy-to-fit access solution which is inconspicuous and space-saving while not in use but an extremely sturdy and safe ladder when deployed. The ladder can also be locked to stop unauthorised access.

If you are interested in this product, please call our team on 0800 077 6149 or email us on support@safelincs.co.uk

Fire prevention and fire fighting on wind farms

Wind Turbine FireResearch undertaken by Imperial College London in conjunction with Edinburgh University and the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden in 2014 found that fire is the second largest cause of incidents in wind turbines after blade failure. Considering the vast costs for constructing wind turbines, this statistic offers enough justification to consider specific fire prevention, detection and fighting questions.

Fires in wind turbines can start when flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and other flammable materials are in proximity to hot machinery or electrical equipment. Oils can catch fire if the gearbox or generator overheat, and high winds can potentially fan the flames. Lightening strikes can also spark a fire. Once started, the fire is unlikely to be brought under control due to the height of the turbines and the location of wind farms, which are normally a significant distance from the nearest fire services.

Fire precautions

Measures can be put in place to protect against lightning strikes. Fire-resistant hydraulic fluids and lubricant oils reduce the likelihood of a fire and the latest wind turbine designs incorporate heat barriers to protect materials that can burn. It is also recommended that manufacturers use non-combustible insulating materials. Intumescent materials (materials that expand if exposed to fire and therefore choke the fire) can help to suppress fires at an early stage. Systems can be installed to continuously monitor the condition of machinery so that maintenance and engineering work can be undertaken in a timely manner and the system can be shut down before a fire develops.

Should a fire break out there are fire detection systems that can be employed in conjunction with fire suppression systems and an automated shut-off. If a fire were to break out whilst an engineer was working within the nacelle (the outer casing at the top of a turbine) a fire detector would also give an early warning.

Fire suppression systems that are triggered by rises in temperature or by fire detectors are fitted in some turbines. Gas suppression systems work best in airtight environments. However if the ignition source has not been eliminated the fire may reignite once the gas has dispersed. Systems that are able to extinguish flames with water, foam or powder have the disadvantage that they might damage equipment. Automated suppression systems might also have to be disabled while engineer work in the nacelle to prevent suffocation, inhalation or, in the case of powder, obfuscation (a powder discharge in a small room can blind the operator).

Precautions for maintenance workers

For the periods of maintenance work a portable fire extinguisher should be provided. However, in the document Workshop Report: Escape from the nacelle in the event of a fire, produced by the G9 Offshore Wind Health & Safety Association it states that ‘a fire extinguisher should be considered as an aid to escape rather than a primary means of fire control/suppression.’

Safelincs spoke with representatives of one of its customers, energy company Vattenfall, regarding the siting of fire extinguishers. The company has turbines from a number of manufacturers. In some cases the portable extinguishers are situated as a permanent fixture within the nacelle. In other cases the engineer will carry an extinguisher with him as part of his tool kit.

Recommendation from Safelincs

1) For permanently installed portable extinguishers:

The downside of standard fire extinguishers is that they require an annual service carried out by a qualified extinguisher engineer and a refill needs to be undertaken for most extinguishers after five years with the unit replaced after ten years. Since a visit to turbines by an external extinguisher engineer is usually hard to achieve, a service-free fire extinguisher is a better solution.

Safelincs can offer a range of service-free foam extinguishers in 2 ltr and 6 ltr sizes. These fire extinguishers are manufactured in the UK from non-corrosive materials and feature duplicate pressure gauges. They only require an annual visual check by any member of staff, e.g. the turbine maintenance engineer. They also do not require a refill after five years. Instead, after ten years they can be refilled and used for a further ten years.

The resistance to a corrosive maritime environment makes these extinguishers particularly well suited to the wind farm industry.

2) For extinguishers carried by the maintenance engineer:

The extinguisher in this case must be light, broad spectrum, safe for use on electricity, non-damaging to equipment and harmless in the case of inhalation. There must also be no risk of asphyxiation.

Safelincs can offer a range of portable water mist extinguishers, which can be used on grease, oils, electric equipment (up to 1000 Volt), fabric and plastics. The extinguishers create a very fine mist of de-ionised water that cannot conduct electricity. The inhalation of the water mist is not harmful and the mist does not leave a deposit.

For further information, please email support@safelincs.co.uk or ring us on 0800 612 6537

Hushing Interlinked Smoke Alarms

Interlinked smoke alarms are becoming more and more popular as they quickly alert you to the event of a fire across larger houses, where there is a risk that you might not hear an alarm going off in the kitchen when you are, for example, in a bedroom upstairs.

Whether connected to each other with wire or wirelessly interlinked through radio frequency, interlinked smoke alarms allow you to connect multiple units – including different types of detectors – which will all sound at the same time when a single alarm detects a potential fire. The heat alarm in the kitchen, the ionisation alarm in your home office, and the specialist strobe and vibration alarm in your elderly parents’ bedroom, for example, will all go off at the same time, if just one alarm is triggered by fire.

Most of us are familiar with the test button on smoke alarms which allows residents to test their alarms regularly, to ensure the components are working and the power supply, whether battery or mains power, is working. On top of this, however, many alarms have a “hush” button which allows you to silence an alarm that has gone off, for example, due to burnt toast.

So how do hush buttons work when you have several interlinked alarms?

It’s easy to assume that, as they are all connected, hushing one alarm will silence all of them, but it is equally logical that only the unit on which you pressed the hush button should be silenced – after all, you don’t want people to assume it was a false alarm if there really is a fire raging downstairs.

Interestingly, not all interconnecting smoke alarms hush in the same way. Here is an overview explaining the different approaches employed by the three main smoke alarm manufacturers in the UK.

Kidde Slick Wireless Smoke and Heat AlarmsFor Kidde smoke alarms, the originating alarm (the unit which detected a potential fire and triggered all of your units) will have its warning light flash faster than all other units while the alarm is sounding – enabling you to identify the smoke alarm that caused the alarm. Pressing the hush button on ANY unit will silence the ENTIRE network.

Ei160e Series Smoke and Heat AlarmsIf you have interlinking Ei Electronics smoke alarms, only the originating unit’s hush button will be able to silence the ENTIRE network. The other units in the circuit can be individually silenced. To identify the originating unit you need to look for the alarm whose warning light is flashing every second, compared to every 40 or so seconds on the other units.

FireAngel WST600 Series Radio-Interlinked Smoke and Heat AlarmsFireAngel smoke alarms, however, deploy an improved silencing protocol. If you hush the originating smoke alarm then, as with the other brands, ALL connected units will be silenced. However, if you hush any other unit, the ORIGINATING alarm will continue to sound but ALL OTHER units will be silenced. This allows you to quickly identify the originating alarm which is very helpful both in case of a false alarm or a real emergency.

If you require support selecting the best smoke alarm system for yourself, please contact the friendly Safelincs support team either by emailing support@safelincs.co.uk or by ringing 0800 612 6537

Carbon monoxide awareness campaign on buses

dominic-rodgers-trust-logoSafelincs are proud to support the Dominic Rodgers Trust in their Christmas campaign, launching on December 12th 2016, to increase the awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning. The initiative that is being run through First buses across Huddersfield, Halifax and Leeds will see a special promotion on the back of their tickets, reaching 1.5 million people.

Dominic Rodgers was 10 years old when he died in 2004 from carbon monoxide that seeped through his bedroom wall from a neighbour’s faulty appliance. His mum, Stacey Rodgers, has been campaigning tirelessly since the tragic accident to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, colour or taste and can only be detected by a CO alarm. As the symptoms of CO poisoning mimic those of flue, headache, dizziness and feeling nauseous, this campaign is very timely. The campaign offers travellers on First buses a 10% discount on a FireAngel carbon monoxide alarm.

Read more information about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Setting new standards for health and safety

VattenfallVattenfall is one of Europe’s largest generators of renewable electricity. 100 per cent owned by the Swedish state it operates wind power turbines in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

Vattenfall is keen to set new standards regarding the Health and Safety in all of its locations for employees and also for contractors and visitors who may attend these sites.

In the UK this commitment has been demonstrated by the company taking the initiative to provide automated external defibrillator (AED) units in each of its site buildings and to provide units in lifting bags which technicians can lift up into the turbine nacelles when undertaking significant work. The aim of providing these AEDs is that anyone on site should have significantly faster access to life-saving equipment should they need it.

Zoll AED PlusSafelincs has supplied Zoll AED Plus defibrillators to Vattenfall, a life-saving piece of equipment which not only delivers a controlled shock to save a patient from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) but provides CPR feedback and instructions to the first aider. The help feature gives audible and visual prompts for the rate and depth of chest compressions being administered during rescue. This AED is a semi-automatic device which can be used by minimally-trained members of staff.

Bournemouth University cuts extinguisher maintenance costs

bournemouth-universitySafelincs has installed several hundred P50 service-free extinguishers at Bournemouth University’s campus in Poole. The new appliances replace units that required annual servicing by an external maintenance company. P50s are corrosion-proof and do not require maintenance by an extinguisher engineer or a discharge test over their entire 10 year lifespan. Instead, they only require an annual visual inspection which can be carried out by the university’s staff.

After 10 years the extinguishers can be factory-refurbished for another decade of service-free life. (At the end of their life they are recyclable). Manufactured in the UK, the extinguishers are Kitemarked by BSI to EN3.

Included in the purchase price of the extinguishers is a site survey, the installation and certification of the P50s and a concise training session for the staff members that will be carrying out the annual visual inspection. Brackets and signage are, of course, also included.

“Whilst the P50s are more expensive than standard extinguishers, significant savings will be made due to us not having to bring in external engineers,” explained Rick White, Maintenance Services Manager at Bournemouth University.

“The annual check is very straightforward and can be undertaken by our own people. All the administrative hassles of booking external maintenance are a thing of the past.”

If your organisation would like to benefit from this cost saving solution, please contact Safelincs on 0800 612 6537 or email support@safelincs.co.uk and we will advise you about the best solution for your organisation.

Care home residents give Agrippa seal of approval

agrippa-closerResidents at the Westwood Care Home have given the Agrippa free-swing fire door closers their approval, as they provide the option to have their fire doors partially open leaving them feeling less shut off from the rest of the home, whilst retaining some privacy. The Agrippa door closer allows a fire door to be used just like a normal door without the resistance usually associated with fire door closers. However, the moment the closer ‘hears’ a fire alarm, it changes its operating mode and turns into a traditional door closer, closing the fire door to stop the spread of fire and smoke.

Based in an Edwardian Town House in Chorley, Westwood Residential Care Home has chosen to have the wire-free fire door closers installed onto resident’s doors.

Stephanie Crane, Director at Westwood said: “We were searching for an alternative solution to our existing door holders as they were damaging the carpets in the home. The residents at the care home needed a solution to make their doors light and easy to move, whilst closing in the event of a fire.”

Westwood offers a personalised 24-hour quality care service for up to twenty people over the age of 65, delivered by a highly-trained and well experienced team of staff.

The Agrippa fire door closer is a battery powered device providing a safe and legal solution to holding open and closing fire doors. The door closer is discreetly installed at the top of the fire door providing restriction-free movement to make the door light and easy to move.

The closer complies with the Building Regulations Approved Document M Section 3.10 Parts K & L, which state that fire doors should self-close when activated by the fire alarm, when the power supply fails or by a hand-operated switch.

The closer is part of the Agrippa suite of products, which also includes an acoustically triggered fire door holder and pillow fire alarm.