A family of three, died in a house fire in Doncaster on March 29 2009. It has not yet been ascertained if the house was fitted with working smoke alarms or how the fire started. This tragedy will be heart felt by many people, not only those who live in the district of the incident but also many people who have children and can relate to the tragic loss of life.
Correctly fitting smoke alarms and a fire escape ladder could save your life. Ensure that you and your family know what to do in the event of a fire and practice your escape plan.
Fire is one of those things that we all think will not happen to us, don’t be caught out.
Our condolences go to the family and relatives at this sad time.
The removal of batteries from smoke alarms, or failing to replace old ones is the cause of many deaths and injuries in home fires.
Some people remove batteries from smoke alarms because their alarm keeps beeping. If this is the case check you have the right type of alarm positioned correctly. See our helpsheet for more details.
Alarms save lives, but a smoke alarm with the batteries removed or with flat batteries will not protect you and your family. Regularly test your alarm and replace the batteries whenever the indicator sounds. Never remove the batteries permanently.
Tonight’s Coronation Street (Monday, 30 March 2009) highlights the importance of smoke alarms. In this episode the character Peter Barlow falls asleep with a lit cigerette and sets his flat on fire, where he lives with his son. In this case, the smoke alarm has had the batteries removed and the pair are subsequently overcome by smoke and fire and have to be rescued by neighbours, and leaves the character’s son fighting for his life.
Don’t let this happen to you and your family!
There is a fire in your house, the staircase is full of smoke preventing you from escaping – unless you have a fire escape hood.
It is worn over the head and protects the head from heat and thermal radiation, the eyes from harmful irritant gases and can provide protection for 15 minutes from the most toxic gases produced in fires including carbon monoxide, acrolein, hydrogen choloride and hydrogen cyanide. The hood is easy to use, portable and can be easily stored in your home by your bedside. It can also be taken with you for use in hotels and transportation. Make sure you buy your fire escape hood from a reputable company and check it has the right specifications and is CE marked to EN 403:1993. See our fire escape hood information sheet for detailed specifications.
Don’t miss Horizon, BBC2, 21.00, tonight – “How to survive a disaster” – the ultimate guide to disaster survival using survivor testimonies from plane crashes, ferry disasters and even 9/11 and providing a guide to increasing your chances of survival through mindset, techniques and aides including fire escape hoods.
Robert Schenker, age 31, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after shoddy building work carried out on his chimney.
The builder, who had been hired by Mr Schenker to repair his chimney stack, was convicted of manslaughter and breaching health and safety laws. Whilst undertaking a routine task he allowed debris and fresh mortar to fall down the flue leading to the kitchen boiler. The mixture formed a solid blockage in the chimney preventing the fatal carbon monoxide fumes, produced by a gas boiler connected to it, from escaping upwards safely. Although the boiler was 30 years old, it had been functioning perfectly well. However, as it exhausted straight into the chimney so when the chimney flue became blocked, the carbon monoxide had nowhere to go but back into the house.
Shortly after the building work, Mr Schenker had told his neighbours that he had been feeling unwell for several days and was advised to phone the builder to check the flue was ok. The builder reassured him that everything was in order. Mr Schenker switched on his boiler and went to take a nap – from which he never awoke, killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.
HSE inspectors involved in this case were appalled by the poor workmanship and failure to carry out even the most basic checks to ensure the correct operation of the flue, which directly led to Mr Schenker’s death.
An inspector with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that Robert Schenker’s tragic and wasteful death could and should have been avoided by the builder taking straightforward safety precautions.
Mr Schenker’s brother, Max, said: “I hope that Robert’s tragic death will raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. I would ask everyone to invest in a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector that can alert you to danger if you fall asleep.”
Take carbon monoxide safety seriously.
For detailed information about carbon monoxide – what causes problems, symptoms of poisoning, and how to protect your family, view our safety information sheet.
Safelincs provide fire extinguisher servicing for the St Clements Church, Eastcheap, London. This church considers itself to be the church referred to in the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’. The rhyme begins with this church because when the Thames was wider than it is today, the wharf where the citrus fruit cargoes from the Mediterranean were delivered lay just across the street. It is said the church bells pealed when a cargo arrived. The earliest record of the rhyme as it is dates to around 1744.
During summer 2007, Kent Trading Standards (KTS) had reported about a CO alarm, supplied by Proteam UK Ltd, which failed to respond even to high levels of CO gas. The CO alarm was marked as being tested to EN50291 standard and falsely kitemarked. The case went to the Sevenoaks Magistrates Court and three weeks ago a verdict was reached. KTS won its case and Proteam UK Ltd from Kippings Cross was charged with four cases under the General Product Safety Regulations and one for Kitemark infringement. It was fined £65,000 with costs of £5,030.
We see this as an important reminder that critical safety goods such as CO detectors whould only be bought from reliable sources and quality brands.