Safelincs has formed a relationship with brain injury charity Headway to increase the awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, to raise funds for the charity and to emphasise the importance of installing a CO alarm.
Safelincs has created a Headway branded subsite selling CO alarms linked to directly from the Headway main site. We fulfil the orders and for every alarm sold we donate £2 to the charity.
Headway was formed in 1979 to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and to provide information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carers.
CO exposure can lead to anoxic brain injury because it binds very tightly to haemoglobin in the red blood cells and so reduces the amount of oxygen which can be carried in the bloodstream.
Carbon Monoxide is produced if there is not enough oxygen during the combustion process. It is commonly produced in appliances fuelled by Liquefied Petroleum Gas, natural gas, oil, petrol, wood or coal that have been badly fitted, are damaged, badly repaired or poorly maintained.
It is important that appliances are regularly maintained and to have a CO alarm installed. Fatalities have even been known to occur where the deadly gas has leaked from an adjoining property.
Safelincs also offers a dedicated information website to inform about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Safelincs supplies Handelsbanken, a leading Swedish Bank with over 700 branches in 24 countries, 147 branches of which are in the UK, with fire safety products such as fire extinguishers. Purchasing fire extinguishers from Safelincs gives Handelsbanken full protection. Should the extinguishers ever be used, Safelincs will immediately replace the extinguishers. So, when on the 21st of October a CO2 fire extinguisher was used by the fire brigade in one of the Handelsbanken branches, Safelincs immediately replaced the extinguisher, free of charge.
We want our customers to use their fire fighting equipment without ever having to worry about the aftermath. This applies not only to extinguishers – all fire safety equipment bought from us used on or affected by fire is covered by our free replacement guarantee.
When Stanbridge Associates, a Lincoln-based firm of accountants, specialising in the medical profession, moved to newly renovated premises in the city they needed to be sure that the premises were fulfilling all fire safety regulations.
The building, a Victorian office conversion, was visited by a fire risk assessor from Safelincs who carried out the full fire risk assessment. Safelincs also surveyed the fire extinguisher arrangements, carried out a fire alarm system test and made recommendations for improvements to suit the way the building would be used.
To allow for better wheelchair access, ventilation and all-round convenience without jeopardising safety or breaking the law, fire door retainers were fitted. These allow fire doors to be kept open safely, while automatically closing them in the event of a fire.
The existing fire extinguishers were replaced with P50 service free extinguishers which will save Stanbridge Associates the annual cost of servicing since they have been designed so that a simple visual inspection once a year is all that is required. This can be easily carried out by one of Stanbridge’s employees and the Safelincs engineer trained staff in this simple process at the time of installation. P50 extinguishers also do not require a refill after five years and can be refurbished after ten years to last a further ten years.
Safelincs put in place the necessary fire safety signs and, as a final touch, handed over a free emergency lighting test key, which means that Stanbridge will be able to test the emergency lighting system themselves in future without needing to call out an external engineer.
“Safelincs provided us with a ‘one stop shop’ to enable us to meet all our fire safety requirements when we moved into our new offices,” said Catherine Cullen, Account Manager, Stanbridge Associates. “Their professional, friendly approach not only completed the work on time but also saved us money.”
We were always convinced that our P50 service free extinguishers made from a Kevlar-type aramid were almost in-destructable. Nevertheless, when one of our engineers was visiting one of our customers, a refinery on the east coast, he was surprised when he was handed a fire extinguisher that had been run over by a van and that it was still fully pressurised!
This is not that surprising when you know that 1 in 500 of these extinguishers are tested by pressurising them 12,000 times from zero bar to 25 bar. And after they have undergone this harsh test, they are crushed flat by a steel blade before being re-inflated without being allowed to leak at 55 bar!
The P50 service free extinguisher is suitable for the harshest of environments, including outdoors.
Almost a quarter of the UK’ s population will be aged 65 and over by 2035. Older People’s Day challenged the stereotype of older people as frail, vulnerable and a burden on the rest of the population. Instead, it recognised the experience, knowledge and contribution that older people make to society and the economy.
However, research shows that older people are at the highest risk of fire in the home – those over the age of 80 are ten times more likely to die in a fire than those 30 or under, and older men are more likely to die than older women. Between April 2011 and March 2012 there were 380 fire deaths in Great Britain of which 178 (47%) were among people aged 60 or above.
Even a small fire can impact on an older person’s quality of life, resulting in an individual losing confidence in his or her ability to remain safe whilst living independently.
The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) was a key partner of Older People’s Day on October 1st and has drawn up a six-year Ageing Safely Plan. Mark Cashin, CFOA Lead for Home Safety said: “We are committed to engaging with older people and helping them to access the information, advice and tools they need to protect them from deaths and injuries caused by fire in the home.
“Older People’s Day allows us to work with partners across the country, and to showcase the types of activities, such as Home Fire Safety Checks, that our fire and rescue services do every day to help older people to stay safe, independent and ‘Full of Life’.”
Safelincs supports Older People’s Day and has a range of fire safety related products that help to prevent fires and related injuries for older people:
Smoke alarms for the hard of hearing
Stove fire alarms to notify you if your pan is boiling dry and overheats
Gas alarms to alert you if the gas on the cooker was left on
Fire Kills, part of the Department for Communities and Local Government, will again be running its campaign to encourage us to test their smoke alarms at the same time as we put our clocks back at the end of October.
Smoke alarm maintenance has long been the primary message of the Fire Kills national advertising. With smoke alarm ownership levels at around 88%, it is evident from the statistics and real-life cases that not all of these work. The latest evidence shows that you are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have a working smoke alarm.
Between April 2011 and March 2012 there were 380 fires deaths, many of which might have been avoided had smoke alarms been fitted. Indeed, there have been incidents where firemen at the scene of a tragedy have found that smoke alarms were present and the batteries had been allowed to go flat or, in some instances, removed to power other appliances.
The campaign will include advertisements on commercial radio stations. In the past it was felt that the campaigns lacked a catchy tag line which it now has – ‘Tick, Tock, Test!’
There will also be advertisements in the national press and and a social media campaign with videos on You Tube.
Safelincs has worked in conjunction with a local authority and the fire service to solve an issue that arose with a child suffering from severe emotional and behavioural problems.
The child resides with a foster family and everything in his bedroom has to be padded with any sharp objects removed to prevent him from harming himself. The same degree of prevention could not be carried out in the rest of the house which meant that the child needed to be confined to his bedroom at night.
The concern with locking a child or a person with behavioural problems in their bedroom is that if a fire should break out, the person would be trapped and unable to escape.
The solution was to fit a magnetic lock outside the child’s door. The strong electromagnet keeps the door closed, but if a smoke alarm anywhere in the house is triggered the electricity fails and the magnet loses power; releasing the door which can then be opened. There is a switch next to the bedroom door for opening of the door, as well as an override in the kitchen, so that the lock can be released manually at any point in time and from different parts of the building.
The bespoke solution was put together by Safelincs utilising existing products. The foster parents are now able to sleep in the knowledge that the child cannot come to harm in his own room.
“We worked closely with the fire service and the Children’s Services at the local authority,” explained Stuart Baxter. “Our solution could easily be replicated for people in similar circumstances.”
We get occasionally calls from customers worrying why their CO (carbon monoxide) alarm has not gone off when their house is smelling strongly of a gas leak from the gas supply system (e.g. if the pilot flame in a boiler has been extinguished).
A lady rung the other day, stating that the pilot light of her LPG heater had gone out, leaving unburned flammable gas leaking into the room. She had quickly identified the smell of the gas (due to the risk of explosion from flammable gases, the gas suppliers add odorant to their gas which adds a strong smell, allowing people to detect a gas leak swiftly). Our customer was worried, as she had expected that her CO alarm would also pick up this leak. This is, of course, a misconception. CO alarms only detect the poisonous, odourless by-products from burning processes called carbon monoxide (CO). CO gas is created when flammable gas is burned without enough oxygen. CO detectors cannot detect flammable gases.
The difference between NG/LPG gas and carbon monoxide
Chemically, carbon monoxide and flammable gases from a piped or bottled gas supply are very different.
Carbon monoxide consist simply of two atoms: 1x carbon and 1x oxygen.
Flammable gases (methane, propane, butane being the most common) have larger structures:
- methane (1 carbon, 4x hydrogen atoms)
- propane (3x carbon, 8x hydrogen)
- butane (4x carbon, 10x hydrogen)
If you wish to protect yourself against leaks of flammable, unburned gases, specialist gas detectors need to be purchased.