In order for fire doors to function properly, they should remain closed when the door is not in use. As obvious as this sounds, in a busy office building it can be difficult to ensure that fire doors are being closed. Therefore automatic fire door closers are installed to ensure that, after a door is opened, it naturally returns to a closed position where it can offer the maximum fire safety.
How do fire doors closers work?
Door closers work by using the energy built-up when opening the door, to close it. Fire door closers have different closing strengths depending on the weight of the fire door. The closing strength is otherwise known as the EN power size. Smaller and lighter fire doors do not need as much strength in the fire door closer to shut the door. Many door closer models have an adjustable power size. The configuration of the door closers will also depend on the design of the door (inward/outward closing).
How do I check my door closer is working?
This fire door maintenance checker is a useful guide for checking all parts of your fire door to make sure they are compliant and operational. An unlatched or non-operational door closer will not shut the fire door if a fire breaks out. This could have disastrous consequences.
Which fire door closer do I need?
There are a number of different types of fire door closer available including closers that are even concealed within the doors themselves. Free-swing closers enable the doors to be held safely in an open position or to swing freely on the hinges. This can help to improve accessibility, particularly for anyone with mobility difficulties or in busy areas. In the case of a fire, the fire alarm will trigger these hold-open devices and allow the door closer to close the door.
Unlike other types of fire extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers feature a discharge horn as opposed to a hose. When a standard CO2 extinguisher horn is installed, it is fitted semi-tight, so that it can be swivelled but still holds itself in the chosen position. This is because during operation, the CO2 extinguishing agent causes a standard CO2 horn to frost over. If the horn is held during this time, it can potentially injure the user through freeze burn. An even better solution to this problem is to buy CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horns. These can safely be touched when fighting the fire, giving the user a lot more control when deploying the extinguisher. All Safelincs 2kg CO2 extinguishers have frost-free horns as standard.
Although the standard swivel horn is a popular choice and an economical solution, it does not have the necessary characteristics to protect the user from freeze burn injuries. The frost free horn is double lined and therefore has the insulation to eliminate these risks should the user accidentally hold on to the fire extinguisher horn during discharge. 5kg CO2 fire extinguishers are much larger in size and the discharge component for this is a hose and horn assembly. This does not have a frost free-horn, however, the horn features an integrated handle for safe use during operation.
Should you wish to upgrade the horns on any 2kg CO2 extinguisher to the frost free double lined horns these can be found in the tools and spares section of the website.
The fire triangle is made up of three elements, which are the three components needed for a fire to start and burn: fuel, oxygen and heat. Removing one of these elements will prevent the fire from spreading and causing irreversible damage. Fire protection equipment will help you and your staff break the triangle, reducing potential risks of damage to a building or loss of life.
The three elements of fire explained
Heat must be present for a fire to ignite. Flammable materials constantly release flammable vapours, where heat is present, these vapours will ignite and start to burn.
Once a fire has started, heat from the fire will dry and remove moisture from surrounding materials (fuel), which results in the fire spreading.
A fire needs fuel to burn and feed it. Fuel can be in the form of any combustible material such as paper, wood, textiles, oil, liquids etc. Removing the fuel will prevent a fire from spreading or starting in the first place.
Without oxygen, a fire cannot ignite and continue to burn. Oxygen is all around, making this one of the most significant factors of the fire triangle.
How does fire safety equipment break the fire triangle?
Installing fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets, can help stop a small fire from spreading. Fire blankets deprive the flame of oxygen by covering it, killing the fire.
Many fire extinguishers, such as foam and water fire extinguishers, work in the same way; either by covering the flame and its fuel to remove oxygen, or by cooling the fire and any nearby fuel, reducing the risk of the fire spreading. Water Mist fire extinguishers deploy a cooling mist, and are safe to use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V, making them an ideal extinguisher for businesses, education, hospitality and the care sector.
Although fire safety equipment can be a useful tool in stopping a small fire from spreading, a fire should only be tackled if staff are trained to use them, and are confident in what they are doing.
To prepare your staff to effectively extinguish fires, there are a variety of on-site fire safety training courses available. This includes fire safety awareness and fire warden training, as well as evacuation training to ensure that staff can escape to a place of safety until the fire is under control. These training courses will not only reduce the risk of a fire breaking out on your premises by enabling staff to reduce the risk of fire in their daily duties, but also improve responses and outcomes in the event of a fire.
Preventing a fire from starting in the first place is always the best form of fire safety. Encourage staff to keep an eye out for potential causes of fire, such as faulty electrical equipment or hazardous materials, and use flammable liquid storage cabinets to reduce the risk of these flammable liquids igniting.
Employers are required by law to ensure that all employees receive adequate fire safety training. Employers must also provide adequate equipment, such as evacuation chairs and evacuation sheets, to ensure everyone in the building can safely evacuate.
For more information about the best fire safety equipment for your business, or to arrange a site survey, contact us today.
Q. What element of the triangle does a fire blanket remove?
A. Fire blankets suffocate the flame, removing oxygen from the fire.
Q. What do foam extinguishers remove from the triangle?
A. Foam extinguishers work in multiple ways to fight fire – the foam spray covers the flame and its fuel to remove oxygen, while also cooling the flame to extinguish it.
CO2 fire extinguishers contain carbon dioxide gas (CO2) under very high pressure (about 55 bar at room temperature) and can be easily recognised by their flute-shaped discharge horn. CO2 extinguishers are colour coded with a black field on the otherwise red extinguisher.
CO2 fire extinguishers suppress fires by replacing oxygen, without which there can be no fire, with the inert CO2 gas. Although the CO2 is very cold when it comes out of the extinguisher, this does not make it a suitable choice for tackling Class A fires, such as solid combustibles like paper, wood and fabrics. Class A fires require water-based extinguishers that penetrate/saturate the burning materialwork to prevent re-ignition. A still smouldering Class A fire could simply re-ignite once the CO2 gas has dispersed.
CO2 extinguishers are these days mainly used in office environments, where they can be used to extinguish fires in electrical equipment. This is due to carbon dioxide being non-conductive and not leaving any harmful residue that may contaminate sensitive circuitry. Please note, though, that the use of CO2 gas on electronics can still damage the circuits through static or temperature shock.
CO2 extinguishers can also be used by experienced operators on Class B fires which consist of flammable liquids such as petrol, oil and diesel, (not including cooking oil).
The properties of CO2 also make the extinguisher a good protective fire fighting device in places like laboratories, clean rooms, engine compartments, generator rooms, boats and flammable liquid storage spaces.
It is not easy to verify whether a CO2 extinguisher is still filled or has suffered a loss in pressure and content. At a filling pressure of 55 bar and room temperature the CO2 in the extinguisher is neither a liquid nor a gas. What this means in practice is that you cannot hear any ‘sloshing’ when you are shaking a CO2 extinguishers. It just feels as if it were empty! The only way to verify that the extinguisher is still charged is to measure its weight and compare it with its manufactured weight stamped on the cylinder. You need very precise scales for this. Also, the discharge horn of the extinguisher has to be removed for this purpose. This is dangerous and should not be done without prior training, as an accidental discharge without the horn can lead to serious injury. The Horn acts as a pressure reducer; when it is removed the CO2 extinguisher discharges like a rocket should the handle be operated!
When ordering CO2 extinguishers, make sure you buy a model with a frost-free horn, as the horn gets so cold that skin could stick to it.
Call our customer hotline now on 0800 6126537 to find out more about the benefits of CO2 extinguishers or take some time to explore our web pages and see our impressive range of affordable fire safety products in greater detail.
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.
Prepare for the summer season by installing a CO alarm for caravans. Because caravans are a confined space, the potential for the build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas is greater. If you have already fitted a CO detector, ensure that you carry out your pre-holiday safety checks. This should include checking or replacing the batteries and testing smoke, heat and CO alarms. It is also advisable to check when your alarms need replacing. Sensors in these types of alarms become less effective over time and will need to be replaced after 10 years.
Choosing a CO alarm for caravans and motorhomes
Not all carbon monoxide alarms are suitable for use in caravans or motorhomes. Choosing a suitable alarm is important because if the CO alarm you have isn’t recommended for use in camping environments, you may not be alerted to dangerous levels of CO gas. Choose an alarm that is:
Kitemarked to British Standard BS EN50291-2
Certified for use in caravans
Suitable for wall mounting
The Kidde 7DCO is ideal for caravans. It can be easily wall mounted using the fixings included in the pack. The digital display shows readings taken every 15 seconds and will indicate any changes to the level of CO gas detected. The alarm is supplied with 3 x AA batteries that are easy to replace when the warning chirp indicates that the power is low.
The Kidde 7DCO is certified for use in caravans and has a warranty for the full 10 year lifespan of the product.
A common source of confusion can be the difference between Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Both gases are colourless, tasteless and invisible, but the similarity ends there. We have put together the following guide to help you recognise the differences.
CO– Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. CO can be produced by boilers, open fires and vehicles and is very toxic even at low levels. Detection of any level of CO warrants concern and the source should be identified as soon as possible.
In a residential setting Carbon Monoxide is the most pressing concern because levels as low 50ppm will harm you and just 700ppm (parts per million) can be life threatening. Initial symptoms of poisoning include headaches, nausea and breathlessness. The only way to detect CO is by installing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.
CO2– Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Dioxide can be produced in a variety of natural ways. CO2 is a natural by-product of combustion and we all exhale it every day. It even has uses as diverse as giving drinks their fizz and extinguishing fires. Carbon Dioxide is not harmful in itself but an excess of CO2 (above 3%) in an enclosed environment can lead to asphyxiation by reducing the level of oxygen available.
Carbon Dioxide detectors are usually used in commercial premises for example breweries or laboratories. Whilst CO2 poisoning is something to be aware of it is unlikely to happen in a home environment.
As you can see, although their names are similar, the dangers posed by each gas are very different. It is important to be aware of the characteristics of each as they can both be harmful. The only way to be sure of staying safe is to make sure you have the appropriate detector fitted wherever you are.