Follow our fire safety top tips for Chinese New Year: candles and fireworks are often used to celebrate Chinese New Year, as well as lanterns with naked flames. There is, therefore, an element of fire risk in these festivities – stocking up on fire safety products such as burns kits, fire blankets and extinguishers should be part of any event preparation.
In 2024, The Chinese New Year will begin on February 10th and will be the year of the Dragon. This sixteen day long traditional Chinese holiday is recognised worldwide by many people across Asia, and increasingly in the Western world, along with festivals and celebrations to mark the Lunar New Year.
Following our top tips for celebrating will ensure that everyone can enjoy this tradition safely.
Fire Safety Top Tips for Chinese New Year
Whether organising a large event with fireworks and flames, or a small home gathering with sparklers and candles, Chinese New Year celebrations come with a fire risk. We have put together top tips for fire safety to help you make your event a safe and happy occasion.
1. Before your event you will need to carry out a fire risk assessment. This free assessment form will help you identify your fire risks and document your actions to reduce these risks. As the organiser of a public event, you have a legal duty to complete a fire risk assessment.
2. Consider how you will raise the alarm in the event of a fire. If you celebrate at home, do you have heat and smoke alarms fitted? When planning a public event, consider using site alarms or a rotary bell and having site stands with all your fire safety and first aid equipment at strategic places.
3. Prepare for any activities involving flames with adequate supplies of fire safety equipment. We recommend having fire blankets, water mist fire extinguishers, and a burns kit on hand for any eventuality. Our water mist fire extinguishers are non-toxic. This makes them particularly suitable for events with large numbers of spectators, or where children and animals may be present. Water mist extinguishers are environmentally friendly and leave no residue when discharged.
4. Even for an outdoor event like Chinese New Year, pathways should be kept clear of debris to ensure that people can move to a place of safety in a fire. Where crowds are expected, fire assembly points and exit routes should be clearly signposted.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Safelincs would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year good health and happiness.
Bonfire night can be a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy autumnal nights outside. Whatever you’re planning for 5th November this year, read our top bonfire and firework safety tips for Guy Fawkes Night.
How do you keep safe on bonfire night?
Rather than run the risk of lighting a fire or fireworks at home, attend an organized event if you can.
If you do plan to celebrate bonfire night at home, follow these top tips to stay safe
It is not advisable to store fireworks for any length of time at home as they are explosives and could be very dangerous. If you are intending to store fireworks, ensure they are kept dry in a metal container. Store them in a place where the temperature does not change significantly (for example not on a window sill) and away from anything that could ignite or cause sparks such as electrical items, heaters, matches or lighters. Make sure they are not stored near other combustible materials like card or wood and place them out of reach of children and pets. Always follow manufacturer guidelines for storage periods.
According to the Equality Act 2010, schools and educational premises have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where necessary for anyone with a disability. So, what is a reasonable adjustment? And, what can schools and universities do to improve access for all and meet fire safety requirements in education?
What is a reasonable adjustment?
The Equality Act 2010 tackles disability discrimination in schools and other organisations or businesses across society. It sets out a responsibility to remove barriers experienced by someone who has a disability. Anyone who has a disability should be able to receive the same service as far as possible as someone who is not disabled. What is considered a ‘reasonable’ adjustment will depend on things like the size of the organisation, and the money and resources available. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend the setting.
Reasonable adjustments and fire safety in education
The adjustments you need to make to meet legal requirements for disability and fire safety will depend on what is set out in your fire risk assessment. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university.
What examples are there of reasonable adjustments in schools or higher education establishments for fire safety?
A reasonable adjustment can be:
A change to the way things are done such as a change to a rule or policy. For example, this might involve a change to an escape route.
A change to a physical or architectural feature in a building or outside areas. This could include using a fire door retainer on internal fire doors to allow easier access for all or installing visual fire alarm beacons with louder audible sirens for anyone who has a hearing impairment.
Provision of extra services or aids. This could include providing an evacuation aid such as an evacuation chair.
The type of changes and extra aids or services will depend entirely on your circumstances and the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university. Fire safety requirements will be set out in detail in your fire risk assessment and should be implemented.
Fire door retainers and the Equality Act 2010
Fire door retainers such as Dorgard are a cost-effective and easy to install solution for improving access for all in schools and universities. Fire doors are a necessity in many buildings but can be a barrier to anyone with a mobility impairment as they are heavy to operate and difficult to manoeuvre in a wheelchair.
Dorgard is certified and tested to British Standards EN1155:1997 and EN 1634. It is a legal solution for holding open fire doors. This allows easier access for everyone including any disabled users with a mobility impairment. When the fire alarm sounds in your building, Dorgard will release the fire door so that it closes and provides the usual protection. You should never wedge or prop open fire doors using an uncertified device or object. The fire doors will be unable to provide any protection if they are open when a fire starts.
The University of London’s College Hall has found Dorgard to be an effective solution to accessibility in their building.
We have created a helpful guide for school leaders and staff with fire safety responsibility in schools to condense the confusing legislation and recommendations that exist and have turned them into an easy to understand fire safety guide for schools. The article, created by a very experienced fire risk assessor with many years of experience in inspecting schools, addresses:
Current situation with regards to arson in schools
General fire precautions in schools
New school buildings and fire safety
What to do should your school experience a fire
Examples of typical fire safety violations in schools
Being the fire safety provider of choice both for the Church of England and the Catholic Church, one of Safelincs’ key roles is to supply fire safety goods and services to the thousands of faith schools, amongst others, in the UK. Providing guidance and support is just part of this. We offer schools many opportunities to save costs and to improve fire safety provision at the same time. To benefit from this support offer, contact email@example.com or ring 0800 612 6537. We are happy to help.
A recent fire at the National Archives in Kew, home to some of the UK’s most important historical documents, was tackled by 20 firefighters. The blaze was caused by two disused water towers at the site in Richmond, South-West London.
The National Archives is the official UK government archive and publisher and holds 11 million historical documents of national importance, some dating back more than 1,000 years. Among its collection are the Domesday Book, parchments, electronic records, photographs, posters, maps and paintings.
Fortunately everyone was evacuated from the building safely and no documents were damaged although the building was closed to the public for a short period for recovery.
This type of incident focuses people’s attention on the importance of preserving key documents and items of irreplaceable value, not just for large national institutions but also for businesses and individuals. For this reason more and more people are looking at ways to preserve such items in the event of a fire.
And, in the light of recent floods we are increasingly being asked for safes that will provide water protection as well. We have a range of fire and waterproof safes for paper documents and digital media that start at under £200. These fireproof safes with water protection have UL certification and have passed submersion testing to ensure their suitability.
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 comparing power consumption of emergency lighting, and more specifically comparing LED lighting with standard lighting, it is important to understand some of the terms used and what they actually mean in this context. Sometimes you will see the power consumption documented in W (Watts) and sometimes it will be stated in VA (VoltAmperes). Whilst this looks confusing, it is comforting that both terms are actually identical. Multiplying the Voltage (V) of the electrical supply with the Amperage (A), which represents the current flowing through the light, gives you VA (VoltAmperes) which represents power consumption and is actually the same as the ‘Wattage’ (W). So VA equals W; they are just different ways of saying the same thing.
The CS8 contains an 8W T5 lamp which, as the name suggests, consumes 8 Watts. The ballast (the electronics that run the unit and the trickle charge for the backup battery) consumes 12 Watts, which means the CS8 in maintained mode consumes 20W.
The X-GSA contains 12 white LEDs which together consume 0.9W. The ballast consumes 2.6W, which means the whole unit in maintained mode consumes 3.5W.
That is a difference of 16.5W, which is huge when you consider that maintained lights are lit constantly. So, a CS8 in its maintained mode is consuming over 5 times more energy every hour than the X-GSA!
It is also important to know that LED emergency lights last substantially longer than fluorescent tubes. An LED bulb will last over 5 times longer than a traditional fluorescent light.
Generally speaking LED emergency lighting is more expensive than the traditional equivalent, but when you factor in the substantially lower power consumption and the lower maintenance needs of LED lights, they are actually more cost effective in the long term.
Deep fat fryer fires and pan fires with burning fat are difficult to extinguish. The jet of an ordinary extinguisher can carry the burning fat out of the pan and spread the fire, making the problem worse. Any traditional water based extinguishers can also be dangerous, as water droplets sink into the fat and then erupt violently, spreading the fire. The five most commonly used methods of extinguishing fat fires are:
Wet chemical fire extinguishers are usually supplied with a long lance which helps to safely deploy the foam. The wet chemical forms a thick soapy foam-like blanket over the surface of the burning oil/fat which stops oxygen from reaching the fire and smothers the flames. This process is known as saponification, which is an endothermic process that not only ensures that the additive penetrates the fat/oil and creates a seal, but also cools it to below the ignition temperature, thus preventing the oil/fat from re-igniting
Fire blankets are spread over the burning pot or pan and exclude oxygen which suffocates the fire. It is crucial to leave the fire blanket on top of the container even when the flames have gone, as the hot fat would re-ignite again should the blanket be removed.
Kitchens produce great amounts of steam and cooking smoke and ordinary smoke alarms are not able to cope with these confusing signals. An ionisation smoke alarm or even an optical smoke alarm would quickly be set off when a kitchen is being used. At the same time fires regularly start in the kitchen, so rapid fire detection is important.
Luckily, there is an easy solution available. Heat alarms or heat detectors work by detecting either rapidly rising temperatures or trigger when a certain temperature is reached. Heat detectors do not get set off by steam or smoke or the normal cooking tempreatures. The thermistor in the heat detector head only detects the temperature changes mentioned above and ignores all other influences.
To notify the rest of the house of a fire in the kitchen you do not need to rely solely on the siren in the heat detector. You can interconnect the heat detectors with other smoke alarms in the house either with wire or through radio-frequency. The latter avoids you having to lay cables between alarms.
Heat detectors are also installed in garages and other areas where smoke or gases are present (with exception of bathrooms).
More information about the workings of heat detectors and other smoke alarms can be found in our smoke alarm guide.
Following a fire risk assessment, doors are sometimes re-designated as fire doors if the door and frame are substantial enough to be justifiably counted as a nominal fire door. The same applies to older fire doors which do not follow the latest specifications. In these cases, fire door seals are retrofitted, and to avoid having to cut a rebate in either the door or the frame, surface mounted fire door seals can be fitted. These are stuck to the frame or door with their self-adhesive backing and sometimes nailed as well to give them increased longevity.
Where a fire door rebate already exists, or the existing rebated fire door seal has been damaged, rebated intumescent fire door seals can be fitted.
We offer a range of fire door seals: fire only, or combined fire and smoke. Both variants contain intumescent material that swells if a fire breaks out to seal the gap around the fire door. Seals that cover smoke also contain a brush-type smoke seal to stop smoke travelling through the gap before the intumescent material expands. There are some applications where a gap should not have smoke seals: e.g. if the fire door has been installed on the exit of a room which has no smoke detectors on its own. In this case, the fire alarm system can only be triggered if smoke can leak out around the fire door and set off the fire alarm system in the circulation spaces, but these cases are quite rare.
Fire door seals are fitted on three sides of a fire door with the gap underneath the door not being covered, though there are products available to prevent smoke from escaping under doors if necessary.