Cinema chain installs P50s

empireEmpire Cinemas is one of the latest Safelincs customers to benefit from the minimal maintenance costs of P50 fire extinguishers.

The largest independently-owned cinema chain in the UK, Empire Cinemas has just opened two new cinema complexes at Hemel Hempstead and Catterick Garrison, and was determined that its new cinemas should have the most modern appliances fitted.

Safelincs supplied and installed P50 foam and P50 wet chemical extinguishers in the new cinema complexes as well as the linked restaurants and cafes. The appliances were selected primarily for their low maintenance costs. Unlike conventional extinguishers, P50s do not require an annual service by an external engineer; a simple check can be undertaken each year by one of the cinema’s staff, which is where the savings are made. The kitemarked P50 extinguishers are guaranteed for ten years after which they can be refilled and used for another ten years.

When the fire extinguishers in the all the other cinemas come up for renewal, it is intended to replace them with P50s.

“Safelincs were an easy company to do business with,” commented Steve Clode, Facilities Manager, Empire Cinemas. “The solution they have provided gives us the very latest in fire extinguisher technology, whilst enabling us to achieve significant cost savings over the coming years.”

Introduction to foam fire extinguishers

When foam fire extinguishers first came into being, it was fair to say that they weren’t a massive success. Indeed, these early variants produced foam which was thick, gloopy and, because of the high animal protein content, smelled absolutely terrible. Thankfully, today’s Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) extinguishers are a distinct improvement.

AFFF extinguishers are painted red with a cream panel and are widely considered to be one of the best all-round units available. AFFF foam extinguishes and smothers flames when it is initially sprayed onto a fire. After this, it seals in combustible vapours under the film of foam and penetrates any absorbent materials, cooling the fire as the water in the foam evaporates. The spray nozzle on foam extinguishers allows a fire to be coated quickly and evenly. Furthermore, some foam extinguishers have been dielectrically tested to 35,000 Volt and are safe near live electrical equipment.

Foam is particularly effective on Class A fires (those involving paper, wood, etc) so they are a very good choice for offices or similar environments which contain a lot of fabrics. When used on flammable liquid fires (Class B), AFFF foam forms a film that prevents re-ignition of the flammable liquids by sealing the liquids off from oxygen. Class B fires also include man-made fibres which might liquefy in the heat of a fire.