Carbon monoxide likely cause of fishermen’s deaths

boatTwo young fishermen have been found dead on a trawler moored in Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire. Early reports suggest the men suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, having left an oven ring burning throughout the night to provide heat.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – and can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations.

Following a similar incident in April 2013, when  a mother and her 10 year old daughter died on Lake Windermere, MP Barry Sheerman, chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), urged boaters to safeguard against the noxious gas by following Boat Safety Scheme advice.

This advice can be found in a booklet Safelincs produced in conjunction with Boat Safety Scheme and CoGDEM  (The Council of Gas Detection and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring).

Printed copies are available free of charge from Safelincs.

Everybody – home owners and caravan owners as well as boat owners – should have a carbon monoxide alarm, but these are not a substitute for the good installation, regular servicing and proper maintenance of fuel burning appliances and engines.

Helpful Overview Guides for Defibrillators

Purchasing defibrillators for schools, sports clubs and businesses can be a challenge. What are semi-automatic and fully-automatic defibrillators and which of these are suitable for non-professional staff? When should a defibrillator be applied? What training is required and how do we look after the defibrillators’ maintenance?

To help with these questions we have created a thorough but easy-to-read guide ‘Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – a guide to their purpose, design and maintenance’.

Some of our customers have also been concerned about their legal obligations once they have installed a defibrillator. Could an AED cause harm to a person being resuscitated? Could there be litigation if a defibrillator should be used incorrectly?

Again, we have tried to answer these questions in a helpful and accessible manner in our guide ‘The use of automated external defibrillators: some health and safety / legal considerations’.

This guide will help you put your concerns in perspective and offers some easy steps with regards to minimising risks.

Defibrillators installed in charity’s offices

powerheart-aedSafelincs has won a tender to install a defibrillator in each of a leading charity’s nine UK offices.

A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. These machines are also known as  AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators).

Acting quickly when someone is in cardiac arrest and fighting for their life is crucially important.  Around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the UK every year.

“There are no laws in force in the UK requiring employers to provide defibrillators for their workforce, but we are seeing an increasing interest in them from organisations,” said Stuart Baxter, Business Development Manager at Safelincs.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the British Heart Foundation and Resuscitation Council UK all recommend the deployment of defibrillators in the workplace.

Extinguisher run over by van – still pressurised!

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!

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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.

Older People’s Day 2013

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

 

 

Check your smoke alarms when the clocks go back

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.

fire-kills-2Smoke 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.

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Confusion between NG/LPG gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning

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.

Fire Door Safety Week – 16 -21 September

Fire doors save lives and property. Fire Door Safety Week is all about raising awareness of this critical element of fire safety in every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. The British Woodworking Federation, with a number of industry partners has created Fire Door Safety Week to:

raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.

  • encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that aren’t satisfactory.
  • engage and educate people, helping with the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.

Safelincs supports this campaign and offers information about fire doors. Safelincs also offers a range of standard (FD30 – 30 minute) fire doors which are available in the most common sizes, styles and colours including 4 panel, 6 panel and glazed with a variety of shapes of pane.

In addition we can supply custom built fire doors to your particular specification. Our simple online system allows you to easily configure and order a custom FD30 fire door within minutes. You can choose it with or without frame with your specified features including veneer, design and glazing options.

All standard fire doors have a delivery lead time of 7-10 working days from the date of order. Customised made-to measure doors have a delivery lead time of 1-3 weeks.

Safelincs also provide a range of associated products including fire door closers, fire door seals and hinges.

It is illegal to wedge open fire doors but with Dorgard it is possible to hold fire doors open legally to make access to rooms easier. These fire door retainers will hold a door open but immediately a smoke alarm sounds the sonic waves trigger the release mechanism allowing the door to close.

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service chooses P50 service free extinguishers

The P50 service free extinguishers from Britannia are introduced into more and more public organisations and fire safety services. The latest formal introduction of these extinguishers, which do not require external servicing visits, was by the Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service who gave a written endorsement on the 6th of September 2013:

‘Following our supply of the P50 Powder fire extinguishers I can confirm that all Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service front line fire appliances now carry this extinguisher.

Feedback from crews using them at incidents have found them to be very effective leaving less residual media, they are lighter and easy for stowage than our previous steel bodied extinguishers.

Simple weekly visual inspections are carried out by operational crews and any refills are carried out by our fully qualified BAFE registered staff.

Massive savings in service costs over the 10 year period are hoped to be achieved.’

The weekly visual inspections are, of course, the standard regular visual checks that all extinguisher owners should carry out.

The P50s do not require annual servicing and do not have to be re-filled after 5 years.

 

Gas BBQ catches fire and goes out of control

bbq-fireMr PC, in London, bought a 4kg UltraFire powder extinguisher from Safelincs back in 2011. He contacted us again a few days ago to tell us how he had used the extinguisher to successfully put out a dangerous BBQ fire. As Safelincs offers free ‘after the fire replacement’ he, of course, asked for his free replacement extinguisher which we have sent him. This service, exclusive to Safelincs, ensures that our customers never hesitate to use their fire fighting equipment and that they are protected again as quickly as possible.

Mr PC had started his almost new gas BBQ (it had only been used once before) at around 5pm and was entertaining his guests when later that night at around 11:30pm the flames of the fire went from ‘controlled’ to ‘uncontrolled’, as the fat at the base of the BBQ caught fire. The lid of the BBQ was immediately shut to starve the fire of oxygen, however, the opposite happened. Drawing air from the holes in the bottom of the BBQ the fire really heated up with flames licking out from underneath the lid.

The gas was turned off but the fat fire still continued. Mr PC evacuated his guests, then fetched his 4kg powder extinguisher from his house and extinguished the fire.

The heat of the fire had been so extensive that the mesh of the BBQ was deformed by the heat!

So, while gas fired BBQs have the advantage of exact control of the heat while everything works as expected, it is still wise to position a gas BBQ away from the house, ensure that fat cannot build up and to have some form of fire fighting means ready.