Will a Carbon Monoxide alarm detect gas leaks? Carbon Monoxide detectors will only be activated by the presence of carbon monoxide gas (CO), which is the result of incomplete combustion. CO can be released by faulty fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, boilers, and fire places. Carbon monoxide detectors will not detect gas leaks involving the natural gas (NG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which fuel household appliances, such as boilers.
Why has my CO alarm not gone off during a gas leak?
An odorant is added to LPG and NG gas supplied to homes, because the gases are highly flammable and explosive. The unpleasant, sulphur-like smell is designed to alert occupiers to any leaks. Many people worry that there is a problem with their CO detectors when, even though they can smell gas, their CO alarm has not gone off.
However, in these scenarios, the CO alarm is not faulty. The detectors in these devices are only triggered by carbon monoxide, which is released by faulty fuel burning appliances. Carbon monoxide is colourless and has no smell, and therefore cannot be detected by humans, unlike a gas leak. Ensure your CO alarm is in good working order by pressing the ‘test’ button regularly. You should also check that the alarm is still ‘in date’ (CO alarms usually need replacing between 7 and 10 years after installation).
How can I protect my family from carbon monoxide gas?
Carbon Monoxide has no colour, smell, or taste, but can kill within minutes of exposure. CO is a byproduct of incomplete combustion within faulty gas burning appliances, so there is no way to add an odorant to this deadly gas. The only way to detect Carbon Monoxide is with a CO detector. To protect your family from CO poisoning:
A carbon monoxide alarm can’t detect gas leaks, so how can a gas leak be detected?
Gas leaks can be incredibly dangerous, due to the explosive and flammable nature of component gases. While the strong smell added to these gases is designed to alert occupiers of the leak, this is unlikely to wake you if you are asleep. If you wish to protect your family against leaks of unburned gases, install a specialist gas detector in your home.
What to do if there is a gas leak in your home
If you smell gas in your home, it is likely that there is a gas leak. This could be in your home, or a neighbouring property. Open all windows and doors to dilute the concentrations of gas in the property. Do not light cigarettes or matches, or turn on any electrical devices. If possible, turn off the gas meter to stop more gas from entering, and alert neighbours to do the same until the source of the leak has been professionally identified.
Evacuate the property, and once outside the property, call your local GDN’s emergency number (Gas Distribution Network) as soon as possible.
The average person lives for 79 years and spends 70 of those years indoors – it’s no secret that people are spending more time than ever indoors with the technology we have at our disposal today. Therefore, it is more important than ever to have good indoor air quality in your home and workplace. Poor air quality has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and strokes as well as lung diseases such as COPD and cancer.
How air quality is measured
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a system that is used for reporting daily air quality. In the UK, it is measured on a scale from 1 to 10 and informs the public whether the air quality in their area is good, moderate, unhealthy, very unhealthy or hazardous. The AQI number is calculated based on the levels of 5 common air pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.
Indoor air quality can be measured using an indoor air quality monitor. These monitors detect the quantity of CO2 in the air, allowing you to keep track of CO2 emissions in your home. This informs you when CO2 levels get too high which would indicate you to take appropriate measures to reduce air pollution indoors.
Sources of indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources including from materials used in the initial construction of the building and chemicals in paint and carpets. Other actions contributing to poor air quality could include cooking, cleaning, wood stove burning, candle burning, using personal care products, moisture, keeping house plants that give off volatile chemicals, and more.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas that is produced when appliances such as boilers cookers, heaters, gas fires and solid fuel burners are faulty, have been incorrectly fitted, or not regularly serviced. Even a low level of carbon monoxide in your home could cause severe health problems. A CO detector is the only way to detect carbon monoxide as it is a tasteless, colourless and odorless gas. CO alarms can either be wall mounted or used as a portable device. Specific models are also tested for use when travelling and in caravans, tents or boats. A digital carbon monoxide detector will display the level of carbon monoxide in the air. Some indoor air quality monitors also monitor the presence of carbon monoxide.
There is also growing evidence that dampness and mould contribute to indoor air pollution. It has been suggested that dust mites and fungi, which favour damp environments, produce several allergens as well as toxins and irritants. This can have serious effects on respiratory health. Dampness is also an indicator of poor ventilation which may result in increased levels of a wide range of potentially harmful indoor pollutants. Today’s houses are more air tight, which is more energy efficient. But, this impacts air flow and it’s important to be mindful of the need for ventilation.
Symptoms of bad air quality
Air pollution can shorten lives and damage the quality of life for many people. You may be in a polluted environment if you experience the following symptoms: headaches, eye / nose / throat / skin irritation, watery eyes, sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, chest pain, inflammation of airways. If you are experiencing symptoms of bad air quality, it is important to identify and remove sources of pollution.
How to prevent air pollution
There are several steps you can take to start increasing indoor air quality in your home. You must also limit your exposure to air pollution. Here is a list of things to consider when improving air quality:
Always use an extractor fan and open windows while cooking
Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi Debrah died at only 9 years old due to exposure of excessive air pollution in London. Since then, Ella’s law, also known as the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, was introduced to parliament in 2022 to urge the government to take action and bring air quality up to minimum World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
Ella’s law would establish the right to breathe clean air as a basic human right in an attempt to stop symptoms and death from poor air quality. This would mean that public authorities must consider clean air in the way they make decisions. If you would like to see Ella’s law made official, you can get involved and sign the petition.
Air quality guidelines
For a more detailed guide to indoor air quality regulations, visit the government website.
Make sure your home is a safe space for you, your family and friends over the festive period by following our Christmas safety advice. Christmas trees, decorations and celebrations can increase the risk of a fire starting in your home. Following these Christmas safety tips and having some key safety items to hand will help to ensure you can relax and enjoy the festive season.
Christmas fire safety tips
Real Christmas trees catch fire very quickly when they start to dry out. Always stand your tree in water to keep it fresh for as long as possible and position your tree away from heat sources including open fires. Never smoke or place candles near your Christmas tree.
Keep a Water Mist Fire Extinguisher close to hand. This versatile extinguisher will quickly and effectively extinguish a Christmas tree fire as well as most other fire risks found in the home including electrical fires. Water mist extinguishers contain only deionized water and so do not leave any messy residue to clean up. They are non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about children or pets coming into contact with the extinguishing agent.
It is also advisable to spray your real Christmas tree with fire retardant spray to prevent it from catching alight.
Christmas lights & electrical safety
Christmas tree lights (or fairy lights) can cause a fire or could trigger a spark which might ignite your Christmas tree if they are not properly maintained or used. Be careful no to overload plug sockets and extension leads. Use the electrical socket calculator if you are unsure. Check your fuses are the right type and if the bulbs blow, replace them straight away. Never leave fairy lights on when you go out or go to bed.
Replace Christmas lights straight away if you notice they are damaged or the electrical wire casing is cracked. When buying new Christmas lights, look for the CE mark to ensure they comply with European safety standards and read all labelling and instructions carefully before use. Watch the British Standards Institute Christmas light safety videos for further information.
Candles & decorations
Decorate your home with care to reduce the risk of a fire starting. Many Christmas decorations could easily catch fire so make sure they are not near heaters, open fires or candles. Never place decorations immediately above or around the fireplace when it is lit.
Place candles away from children or pets so they don’t get knocked over and ensure soft furnishing such as curtains or blankets are not nearby. Always make sure you put candles out before going to bed or leaving the house.
More than half of all accidental fires in the home are started by cooking. Usually this is because a cooker, hob or grill has been left unattended. On Christmas day, there can be a lot of distractions whilst preparing the Christmas dinner. Keep children and pets away from the stove and never leave your cooking unattended. Follow these basic cooking safety tips to ensure a fire doesn’t ruin your Christmas. Keep a fire blanket in the kitchen to quickly tackle any cooking, clothing or waste bin fires that start and have a burns kit to hand just in case anyone suffers from a burn or scold.
Never cook if you have been drinking alcohol, especially if you feel tired or drunk. Drinking alcohol causes drowsiness, slower reactions and confusion and will affect your coordination. You could fall asleep whilst cooking, and are more likely to knock pans or spill hot oil if you have reduced coordination.
Fire detection – plan ahead to stay safe
Making sure you have working smoke alarms fitted in your home prior to the Christmas period could save your life. Fit a heat alarm in the kitchen to quickly detect cooking fires without causing false alarms (heat alarms respond to a sharp increase in temperature not smoke and so will not sound if you burn the toast!). Test all alarms before Christmas and replace the alarm or battery if required. For further fire safety tips and advice tailored to your home, try the free online home fire safety check.
Carbon monoxide safety tips for Christmas
During the festive period, there could be an increased risk of carbon monoxide gas in your home. Using log burners, open fires, heaters or boilers that have not been maintained throughout the year could produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
Sweep chimneys and service gas or solid fuel appliances such as boilers, heaters or cookers prior to use during the Christmas period. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every room where there is a gas or solid fuel appliance, or open fire.
Carbon monoxide gas is also known as the ‘silent killer’ as it can cause death and serious illness in people and pets. Get to know the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning and share them with your friends and family. Always ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home to alert you, your household and visitors to the presence of this dangerous gas.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Christmas!
Consider this advice during your festive preparations in December to keep you, your family, friends and pets safe. Why not share our Christmas safety tips with others using the share buttons below? We wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and new year!
How do I keep my pet safe at Christmas?
Christmas can be an exciting or anxious time for pets due to a change in routine, an increase in noise and people, and lots of new and interesting objects to stimulate the senses! Follow the RSPCA’s advice on keeping pets calm at Christmas and keep candles and decorations out of reach. Never leave your pet unattended near heaters or open fires and keep them out of the kitchen when you are cooking to avoid any mishaps or distractions.
Why are Christmas trees a fire hazard?
Real Christmas trees can catch fire very quickly especially when they start to dry out. Buy your real tree closer to Christmas so it doesn’t dry out too much and keep it well watered at the base. Artificial Christmas trees can also be a fire hazard if their flame retardant coating has worn off – check the lifespan of your artificial tree and replace if required.
Is it safe to leave Christmas tree lights on all night?
No, it is not safe to leave Christmas tree lights on all night. These lights can get hot and could start a fire. Switch Christmas tree or fairy lights off when you go to bed or leave the house.
What fire extinguisher can be used on Christmas trees?
A Water Mist Fire Extinguisher is the best fire extinguisher to have at home during the festive period. You can use a Water Mist Extinguisher to tackle all common household fires including fires involving Christmas trees and fairy lights. This type of extinguisher dispenses a fine de-ionised water mist. This is non-toxic and will not leave any messy residue to clean up.
From the 1st October 2023, new legislationcame into effect that states it is now a legal requirement for all businesses, including holiday home owners, to record a fire risk assessment.
Does my holiday home need a fire risk assessment?
If you have a small let property (that is not let as a principal residence), then the law applies to you. You need to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is carried out. Plus, you must also keep records of the FRA so that these can be checked.
You can complete one yourself, but you should read through the guidance notes carefully and understand the implications. If you do not feel confident to complete one then you can employ the services of a fire risk assessor. They will go through the potential risks and findings with you so you know what actions you need to take.
How do I carry out a fire risk assessment?
You will need to look at your property and identify all the things that could be a fire risk. Look at how to reduce those risks and quickly alert the occupants of danger. The fire escape routes should be maintained to allow guests to safely evacuate.
The main areas of risk that will need to be looked at are:
Electrical installations and equipment
Furniture and Furnishings
It is also important to think about the type of guests you will have in your property. The very young and old or people with a physical, visual or auditory impairment may need additional equipment to alert them of danger.
What fire safety equipment does my holiday home need?
It is important that you ensure that contractors are competent to carry out the work, as the ultimate responsibility for compliance of their work with fire safety legislation rests with you.
Remember, as holiday home owners, taking the time to carry out and act on your fire risk assessment protects you, your guests, your premises and your business.
How often do I have to check for fire risks?
It is good practice that between lets you check the property and go through each of the main areas to ensure there is no damage to electrical appliances. Also, check if any fire safety equipment has been removed or damaged as you will need to replace these before you can let out the property again.
Gas boilers should be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If you have open fires or log burners these should be swept annually especially before their first use as the weather turns cooler.
A fire risk assessment should be carried out annually. However, if there has been substantial building work or if there has been a fire then it will be necessary to do this before letting out the property again.
It is a legal requirement for businesses to ensure that they can evacuate all occupants of their building, both employees and visitors, in an emergency. The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 states that safe and effective means of escape must be available to all building users. The Equality Act 2010 highlights the importance of recognising the individual needs of people with disabilities. Responsible persons therefore have a legal duty to install evacuation devices if they are, or could be, required.
Unless the lift is suitable for emergency use, anyone who would normally use it due to mobility issues will need an evacuation chair. Other individuals may also need support to reach safety. Not all disabilities are visible, and evacuation chairs can provide a lifeline for people in a variety of circumstances.
Employees with a long-term illness
Some people with long-term illnesses, such as MS, Parkinsons, and COPD, may need support to evacuate. Employees with long-term illnesses may not always need mobility support, but flare-ups could occur that mean support is required. Personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) for these employees should reflect the needs of individuals on a case-by-case basis, and be updated as circumstances change.
People with injuries
Temporary injuries, such as fractures, may prevent someone who is usually fully mobile from being able to evacuate. Injuries which limit mobility should be addressed with temporary PEEPs. Actions to ensure the safety of the individual must be taken. It may be possible to provide the injured person with a ground floor office to enable independent evacuation. If this is not possible, an alternative option for evacuation such as an evacuation chair should be considered.
People recovering from illness
People recovering from illness or surgery may have limited mobility, and therefore need support to evacuate. Employers should conduct back-to-work interviews to determine whether an evacuation chair will be required to meet the needs of any employee returning to work following serious illness or surgery.
People with autism or other learning difficulties
Neurodivergence affects everyone differently. Some people with autism or another learning difficulty may never need support to evacuate a building. Some may sometimes need support, and others may always need support. PEEPs should be in place for employees who could or would need support due to anxiety, overwhelm, and distress caused by an emergency. PEEPs will also reveal whether an evacuation chair is suitable or could be required.
Due to stress, exhaustion, or limited mobility, evacuation chairs may be required to meet the safety needs of pregnant people. This is particularly important for buildings with multiple flights of stairs. Ongoing risk assessments for pregnant employees should reflect whether mobility support might be required in an emergency.
Partially sighted people
Some people with visual impairments may be able to use the stairs day-to-day, but would not feel comfortable doing so in an emergency due to crowds or smoke. Installing evacuation chairs to support partially sighted people to get to safety should be a consideration.
Bariatric people may struggle to descend stairs safely in an emergency, even if they usually take the stairs. A PEEP should be in place for any employee identified as vulnerable during a fire drill, or through self-identification. This will reveal whether a specialist bariatric evacuation chair is required.
Older people may have visual impairments, frailty, Alzheimer’s or complex health problems which limit their mobility, and ability to evacuate quickly. In public buildings such as shops, museums and community centres, as well as offices which take visitors, an evacuation chair could be required to assist with the evacuation of older people. It is reasonable to assume that visitors to public buildings would have enough mobility to use an evacuation chair. However, in a hospital or care setting, evacuation sheets should be installed for those who are bed bound, and would not be able to use a chair.
Safe Evacuation Plan
In conclusion, if it is possible that someone entered the building with a mobility aid which would not operate in the event of a fire, like a lift or escalators, you should be prepared to evacuate them with an evacuation device. PEEPs should identify requirements of employees or known building users with additional support needs, and individual needs must be met. In public buildings where the number of people needing support to evacuate is unknown, this needs to be factored into the GEEP (General Emergency Evacuation Plan). Ultimately, personal circumstances change, and anyone could need an evacuation device at short notice, so PEEPS & GEEPS should be regularly revised. Installing at least one evacuation chair in your building prepares your organisation for the safe evacuation of everyone inside.
Fire doors are essential for every building, preventing the spread of smoke and flames in the event of a fire. By holding back fire and smoke, fire doors provide time for building occupants to evacuate. This time also limits damage to other areas of the building. In the event of a fire, more time to escape reduces the risk of fatalities – Fire doors are given a rating (for example FD30 or FD60) which determines the length of time the fire door will hold back fire and smoke.
It is essential to install the right type of doors, based upon the findings of the fire risk assessment. It is a legal requirement to meet minimum standards of fire safety; doing so protects lives and property in the event of a fire.
What does an FD30 rating mean?
An FD30 rating means the fire door has been tested in controlled conditions, and is shown to effectively prevent the spread of smoke and flames for at least 30 minutes. Similarly, an FD60 fire door will effectively prevent the spread of smoke and flames for at least an hour. FD ratings of up to 240 are available for high-risk environments, providing four hours of protection.
Is FD60 better than FD30?
FD60 fire doors can prevent the spread of smoke and flames for twice as long as FD30 fire doors. This allows them to protect life and property for more time. Whether this higher level of protection is required, however, will depend upon the findings of the building’s fire risk assessment (FRA). This considers a range of factors, including the configuration of the property, its use, and its occupants.
If the risk level is found to be low, 30 minutes may be enough time for a full evacuation. Ultimately, whether FD60 or FD30 doors are ‘better’ will depend entirely upon the requirements identified by the FRA.
Where should an FD60 fire door be used?
In high-risk environments, or properties containing high-value goods, FD60 fire doors may be essential to provide enough time for a complete evacuation, or an investment to protect valuables.
The FRA will determine whether FD60 fire doors are required to manage the level of risk identified in a property. Appendix C: Fire Doors of Approved Document B: Fire Safety also sets out guidance for the minimum levels of protection required in different areas of a building. For example, a fire door in a compartment wall separating two buildings should provide sixty minutes (FD60) fire protection, while a fire door providing access to an escape route only has to provide thirty minutes (FD30) fire protection.
Are my fire doors suitable?
Ultimately, the suitability of a fire door can only be determined by your fire risk assessment.
Read our help guide on levels of fire door protection for more detailed information. Our friendly fire door team are also available on 0800 612 4837 to offer advice, or to provide quotes. You can also get an instant online quote for our made-to-measure or standard fire doors.
If you know that your doors need to be replaced with doors of a different rating, our qualified fire door surveyors can take accurate measurements for fire door frames and leaves. Click here for more information about this fire door measuring service. If you are unsure of the suitability of your fire doors, book a fire door survey with our qualified team.
Safelincs have discontinued fire extinguishers containing AFFF foam due to the harmful nature of fluorine compounds its fire fighting foam contains. Imminent legislation is likely to prohibit the manufacture and sale of AFFF foam extinguishers in the UK before 2026. This will shortly be followed by a total ban on their use.
What is the AFFF Foam Extinguisher?
Fluorosurfactants and perfluorinated compounds have long been used in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) extinguishing agents, a popular extinguisher media, due to its effectivity and range of applications. Suitable for use on solid combustibles and flammable liquids, AFFF firefighting foam has been the extinguisher of choice in many settings. In many cases, AFFF foam has been placed in environments where only a class A risk exists. In these locations, a water extinguisher would have sufficed.
Why are AFFF Foam Extinguishers being discontinued?
The fluorine compounds (PFAS) which equip AFFF foam extinguishers with their firefighting qualities have been suspected of being harmful to the environment and living organisms. PFAS have now been confirmed as toxic compounds, which enter our ecosystems, accumulating in water, food, and air. Evidence has arisen that the environmental presence of PFAS is detrimental to ecosystems, and to human health.
Safelincs have taken the decision to discontinue the sale of all AFFF foam and water additive fire extinguishers containing PFAS chemicals ahead of the announced legislation. The proven lasting harmful impact of these ‘forever chemicals’ is unnecessary when suitable alternatives exist that present no environmental hazards.
What are the risks associated with PFAS chemicals?
PFAS are slow to degrade and are often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’, meaning that they remain in the environment for a long time, negatively affecting ecosystems. For humans, the risks of PFAS include increased cholesterol, lowered immune systems, and damage to the liver, thyroid, and heart. PFAS are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and can cause irreparable damage to foetuses.
What will replace AFFF Foam Extinguishers?
AFFF foam extinguishers can be replaced with water mist in most settings where fires involving class A or electrical equipment are a risk. AFFF foam has often been placed into environments where a water extinguisher would have been sufficient to cover class A risks. Eco-Foam Fire Extinguishers that are fluorine-free or powder extinguishers provide class B cover where a flammable liquid risk exists.
*Please note: although these extinguishers have been tested on Class B fires and found to be effective against them, British Standards do not currently allow the certification of B ratings for water-based extinguishers. The B symbol therefore cannot be displayed on the cylinder.
What is the environmental impact of AFFF Foam’s alternatives?
Water Mist extinguishers contain only de-ionised water, making them completely non-toxic and environmentally safe. These units therefore remain the most eco-friendly option, and are suitable for most office environments. The fluorine-free foams are significantly more environmental than AFFF foam extinguishers but are subject to water hazard class and therefore must be disposed of professionally when discharged.
Will the phase out of AFFF Foam compromise fire safety?
No, water mist and other fluorine-free foam extinguishers are an effective alternative for tackling fires involving common fire risks. Fire safety will not be compromised by new legislation, while environmental safety and sustainability will be improved.
When will AFFF Foam extinguishers be discontinued?
Safelincs have taken the decision to discontinue all AFFF foam and water additive fire extinguishers containing harmful PFAS chemicals ahead of the announced legislation.
Following a pre-study on the dangers of PFAS and a consultation procedure, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has now submitted its regulatory proposals. A transition period is expected to begin early in 2024, with manufacture and usage restrictions being steadily introduced over the next 5 years. Some manufacturers, such as Britannia, have already stopped production of AFFF extinguishers. We expect that the use of AFFF Foams will be completely banned by 2028.
My organisation has AFFF foam extinguishers installed, what should I do?
If your organisation has AFFF foam extinguishers which will soon expire, these will need to be replaced. AFFF foam fire extinguishers and all other water additive extinguishers containing PFAS chemicals will soon be subject to further legislation restricting their sale and use. Choosing to upgrade to an environmentally friendly alternative now will save you money, and reduce the environmental impact of your business.
Contact our team for specific advice to support your business to transition to environmental alternatives. The best replacement for your premises must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, as this depends upon the risks identified at your site. For more complex sites, an extinguisher survey may need to be carried out to ensure all risks are being covered. Alternatively, Safelincs offer a free P50 Fire Extinguisher survey for those thinking of transitioning from steel extinguishers to P50s.
For more information about our extinguishers or to book a site survey to find the best solution for AFFF foam replacements, contact our team on 0800 612 6537, or use our online chat system.
Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is impossible to detect without an alarm and exposure can have serious health implications. Over 100 people in the UK have died from CO poisoning each year since 2010. The importance of having a CO alarm in your home should not be underestimated.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the Silent Killer, is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas. Highly poisonous to humans and animals, carbon monoxide is produced when fuels are burnt without enough oxygen present. Common sources of CO include faulty gas cookers, gas boilers, chimneys and log burners.
Do I need a CO alarm?
CO is impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Having your appliances properly serviced and maintained each year is important but it is not a guarantee that you will be safe. Faults can, and do develop between inspections, potentially exposing you and your family to this deadly gas.
If you’re a home owner without a CO alarm, you should strongly consider investing in one to protect your household. Even if your home is supplied and heated only with electrical appliances, the gas can travel through walls. Therefore, your neighbours’ appliances, over which you have no control, could put your home at risk. Adjoining garages that house vehicles and petrol-fuelled equipment such as lawnmowers can also be a source of CO.
This deadly gas starts with subtle symptoms, which can quickly become fatal if ignored. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion, shortness of breath and chest and muscle pain are the most common signs. They may be intermittent, but get worse the longer the victim is exposed to CO.
Having a CO alarm will alert you to any potential carbon monoxide exposure, and is the only way to know for certain if you are in danger. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to many other common illnesses, and can easily be overlooked.
If you think you have been exposed to CO, you should switch off appliances you think might be making carbon monoxide if possible. Open as many doors and windows as possible to improve air circulation, and leave the building as quickly as you can. Get medical advice immediately, and do not return to the building until you are certain that it is safe to do so.
What CO alarm should I choose?
Carbon monoxide alarms are affordable and do not require any wiring or installation.
Every device in our CO alarm range is certified to BS EN 50291 Part 1. This defines the standard that CO alarms must be made to for use in the home. We also stock a range that are suitable for camping, caravans and travel when gas cookers and heaters are commonly used (these alarms are certified to BS EN50291-2).
For improved peace of mind, an alarm with a digital display, such as the Kidde 5DCO carbon monoxide alarm, will enable you to see exactly what levels of CO are in your home. That way you can easily spot any issues before CO levels become dangerously high.
Just added to Britannia Fire’s range of P50 Service-Free Fire Extinguishers is the Fluorine-Free A-Foam Fire Extinguisher. Further to this, a P50 B-Foam Fire Extinguisher is coming soon. With the phase out of AFFF foam expected to begin imminently, these Fluorine-Free Foams provide a more environmental alternative.
What is the difference between AFFF foam and fluorine-free?
AFFF Foam contains PFAS chemicals that have been identified as being harmful to the environment, people, and wildlife. The most harmful component of PFAS chemicals is fluorine compounds. Some of these compounds have been discontinued by law since 2020, and other legal restrictions are expected to follow shortly. In light of this action, Britannia Fire have developed the P50 fluorine-free foam as an environmental alternative. This extinguisher contains no harmful fluorine compounds, and therefore will not be subject to PFAS regulations or other forthcoming regulations.
Is the P50 Fluorine-Free an eco-extinguisher?
The P50 fluorine-free foams are free from any harmful fluoro compounds, making it a true eco-foam extinguisher. They are non-toxic, more environmentally friendly than AFFF foam, and will not be subject to any changes relating to the PFAS regulations.
It is important to check the firefighting medium in an extinguisher that is called ‘eco-foam’ or ‘enviro-foam’. Previously, these terms have been used to refer to a group of AFFF foam extinguishers that contain lower fluorine content. Any amount of fluorine is harmful to the environment; these extinguishers should not be considered to be ‘eco’ or ‘environmental’.
Is fluorine-free foam a like-for-like replacement to AFFF foam?
In many situations, the P50 Fluorine-Free A-foam can be used as a direct replacement for AFFF foam extinguishers to tackle class A and electrical fires. The 6ltr extinguisher has ratings of 34A, 13B, and electrical equipment up to 1000 Volts. Where there is a high risk of class B rating fires (flammable liquids like oil, alcohol, or diesel), additional protection may be required. This will soon be provided by the P50 B-Foam Extinguisher which has ratings of 27A, 144B, 25F, and electrical equipment up to 1000 Volts.
Public defibrillators save lives; research has consistently highlighted the need for more public access defibrillators. UK ambulance services attempt resuscitation of more than 30,000 cardiac arrest victims each year outside of hospital. In 90% of cases, this will be fatal; survival chances for victims decrease by 10% for every minute without a defibrillator (AED) being used on them.
In contrast, fewer than 350 people are killed by fire-related deaths each year, owing to fire safety legislation in the UK. More than 25,000 people die from cardiac arrests outside of hospital annually. If a defibrillator is used within one minute, survival rates are as high as 90%. Moreover, defibrillators should be as accessible as fire extinguishers.
Public defibrillators in the UK
Despite several campaigns to increase their numbers, there is no legislation in place to make defibrillators available beyond hospital settings. There is no legal need to install these life saving devices, and poor understanding of how to use them. Together, this is contributing to a high number of unnecessary deaths from cardiac arrest occurring outside hospitals.
At this time, 673 known PADs (public access defibrillators) were located in 278 Hampshire locations. Out of 1,035 emergency calls which occurred in one year, the caller could access a defibrillator in only 44 cases. The caller was actually able to use the defibrillator in only 18 cases.
How do defibrillators work?
AED’s work by giving an electric shock to the heart to restore its rhythm.
When the sticky pads of the defibrillator are correctly applied to the bare skin of the patient, the device can measure the heart rate. It can then determine whether a shock is required – if a shock is required, it will be delivered either automatically (by an automatic AED), or upon the press of a button (by a semi-automatic AED).
Fully automated defibrillators are ideal for public use, as they make administration of care as easy as possible. The units not only offer spoken and visual indicators about each step, they also automatically analyse the heart rhythm. The devices will automatically select the correct level of shock for the person who has suffered a cardiac arrest.
Anyone can use an AED, owing to the simple instructions that they are supplied with. However, many individuals lack the confidence to do so. People may worry that they will cause harm to the patient, with moral or legal consequences, or may not be comfortable performing CPR.
The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 protects those ‘Good Samaritans’ who have attempted to rescue a victim of cardiac arrest (or similar). If nothing is done to assist a victim of cardiac arrest, they will die; if something is done, they may live. Defibrillators will not administer a shock if one is not required, making it almost impossible to cause harm. The law has never been cited in court as no one has ever been sued for trying to deliver CPR, and it is unlikely that this would occur.
It is strongly recommended that organisations who have installed defibrillators provide AED and CPR training for staff. Training equips staff with the skills and confidence to attempt rescue, should the need arise. This training could save the lives of your staff, visitors to your site, or the general public.
The Circuit, or National Defibrillator Network provides NHS ambulance services and the general public with information about all of the public access defibrillators in the UK. In the case of a cardiac arrest, the ambulance services can direct bystanders to the closest device. This enables members of the public to deliver essential care while awaiting the arrival of paramedics. This initiative has so far made more than 46,000 publicly available; roughly half of all AEDs in the UK. This initiative is saving lives by improving access to these devices – for more information, go to https://www.thecircuit.uk/.
Are public defibrillators locked?
To prevent theft, vandalism, and misuse, many public defibrillators are locked. Ambulance services should be able to provide bystanders of a cardiac arrest with access details for the nearest public AED.