No more extinguishers in schools?

Dry Water Mist Extinguisher Installed In A SchoolWe recently heard reports that a school had removed all of their portable fire extinguishers following a fire risk assessment. After our initial surprise at this story we had a closer look at fire extinguishers in schools. Certainly, schools are environments where the vast majority of people on site have no knowledge about fire extinguishers. There is also a risk of extinguisher misuse and with it a risk of injury. Added to this comes the difficulty that the surprisingly still popular CO2 fire extinguishers, which can cause significant injuries, have no pressure display to show that they have been discharged. With vandalism a concern, this is of course unacceptable. Is it therefore right to throw out all extinguishers?

We believe that schools should carefully re-assess what really is required, how they can minimise the number of extinguishers, reduce vandalism and costs. At the same time we feel that there are very valid reasons to still have portable extinguishers in schools. The number required could be reduced, though and safer ones than currently deployed should be installed. When assessing the need for extinguishers it is important to focus on basics. Portable extinguishers are not meant to fight fires once they have got established. They are designed to tackle small, smouldering fires, as soon as they have been detected. At this stage a fire can easily be tackled with an extinguisher by almost any member of staff and successfully extinguished; staff would of course ideally need a little training beforehand. A FIA (Fire Industry Association) study from 2010 clearly shows that fire extinguishers work. The study showed that the use of portable fire extinguishers was successful in about 90% of cases. The only type of extinguisher with a relatively weak track record at the time were CO2 extinguishers. We would therefore recommend that CO2 extinguishers are restricted to specialist applications, such as server rooms.

There is also a need for extinguishers that can be used on the widest possible range of fires and are completely safe if accidentally used by a child or aimed at a person. Luckily that type of extinguisher now exists. Dry water mist extinguishers can be used for all standard types of fires including even deep fat fryers and electrical applications and will not injure people if aimed at them.

We created an article that explores the best extinguishers to be used in schools. You can also ask our engineers and risk assessors to visit your school to recommend the best and most cost efficient fire fighting cover. We are there to offer you the best solutions. Putting a fire out whilst it is still small could save the school thousands of pounds in damages as well as saving lives.

Free fire extinguishers for customer

free-replacementsSafelincs supplies Handelsbanken,  a leading Swedish Bank with over 700 branches in 24 countries, 147 branches of which are in the UK, with fire safety products such as fire extinguishers.  Purchasing fire extinguishers from Safelincs gives Handelsbanken full protection. Should the extinguishers ever be used, Safelincs will immediately replace the extinguishers. So, when on the 21st of October a CO2 fire extinguisher was used by the fire brigade in one of the Handelsbanken branches, Safelincs immediately replaced the extinguisher, free of charge.

We want our customers to use their fire fighting equipment without ever having to worry about the aftermath. This applies not only to extinguishers – all fire safety equipment bought from us used on or affected by fire is covered by our free replacement guarantee.

Protecting your kitchen from fire

Whether at work or in the home, it is easy to equip your kitchen with adequate fire safety measures and it does not have to be expensive.

Blankets
A fire blanket is an excellent extinguisher for small fires that break out on hobs and in pans and should be present in every kitchen. A fire blanket excludes air from the fire, thereby starving it of fuel and extinguishing it. If a pan catches fire in your kitchen, turn off the heat (where possible without risk to you) and cover it entirely with the fire blanket. Always leave the fire blanket on the source of fire until everything has cooled down to room temperature! Do not be tempted to remove the fire blanket before cooling down fully, as hot fat might re-ignite.

Extinguishers
Another good fire extinguisher option for a small kitchen is an ABF rated foam fire extinguisher as it is ideal for tackling fires where fats are present. Larger kitchens will most likely require the specialist wet chemical fire extinguishers designed to deal with larger pan fires and industrial deep fat fryer fires. Another alternative are dry water mist fire extinguishers. These are excellent on fat fires but can also be used on almost all other fire risks found in a building and are entirely non-toxic, which is important in industrial kitchens. If you have expensive electrical items in your kitchen you might also like to consider buying a CO2 fire extinguisher as well as it will reduce any potential damage to your electrical appliances. CO2 extinguishers only contain an inert gas and do not leave any residues. Please note that CO2 fire extinguishers might still damage sensitive electronic equipment through thermal or electrostatic shock.

Alarms
If you enjoy cooking, you will know just how quickly a normal smoke alarm goes off when your kitchen fills up with steam and smoke or smoke billows into adjoining rooms. It is for this reason that kitchens should only be fitted with heat alarms. A heat alarm only triggers an alarm when the temperature rises above 50 to 60°Celsius or if the temperature rises rapidly, so you can rest assured that it will only sound when there is an actual fire. Rooms and hallways close to kitchens should be fitted with optical smoke alarms rather than ionisation alarms, as they are less prone to false alarms.

If you are unsure about the best fire safety for your property, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

 

CO2 fire extinguisher horns

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.

Advice for tackling office based fires

Although water has been used to tackle fires for thousands of years, the type of fires which water-based fire extinguishers can defeat are somewhat limited, especially in an office environment.

Electrical appliances are a chief source of office-based fires. After all, most offices these days are full of computers, printers, monitors, scanners and photocopiers so this really should come as no surprise. Of course, using a water-based extinguisher has some major drawbacks in this type of environment.

Firstly, it is not always possible to turn off the power supply when a serious incident happens very quickly. So, even though water may well suppress or even extinguish an electrical fire, it will also conduct electricity, thereby putting your life at great risk. Indeed, the jet of water between the extinguisher in your hands and the target fire will connect you to the electricity and create a circuit that will result in you being electrocuted. However, there is a solution available. Water extinguishers with additives or even dry water mist extinguishers are safe to use near electrical items.

Secondly; even if you did have the presence of mind to switch off the power before tackling the fire with water, you will most likely cause further damage to the circuitry and electronics of other expensive equipment which may not directly be involved in the fire. Of course the same limitation applies to foam extinguishers and powder fire extinguishers.

Whilst water fire extinguishers are a very clean option and additives etc are available for them it is important to know their limitations to ensure both you and your work colleagues always remain safe.

In general we would for the above reasons recommend powder extinguisher, CO2 fire extinguishers and dry water mist extinguishersin offices. These types of fire extinguishers do not conduct electricity and will limit the damage that could be caused to office equipment.

Browse our pages further to learn more about occupational fire safety and fire extinguishers.

Introduction to CO2 fire extinguishers

CO2 fire extinguishers contain carbon dioxide 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 panel in the UK.

CO2 fire extinguishers suppress fires by taking away the oxygen element of the fire triangle. 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 extinguishers that work on cooling the fire, such as water as they frequently continue to smoulder and may re-ignite

CO2 extinguishers are mainly intended for use on Class B fires which contain flammable liquids such as petrol, oil and diesel, (not including cooking oil). Because carbon dioxide is non-conductive and leaves no harmful residue that may damage or contaminate sensitive circuitry, it is often recommended as being one of the best options for fighting electrical-based fires. 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.

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.

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Refurbished CO2 extinguishers contribute to reduce carbon foot print and costs

Many companies are looking at ways to save costs and to make reductions to their carbon footprint. Now, with the refurbished CO2 fire extinguishers, it is possible to achieve both.

The refurbished units, from Jewel Saffire, are environmentally friendly and very cost effective. The units go through a rigorous twenty-one step  process that is certified by BAFE. Once the units have passed intensive tests they are sand blasted before re-painting and are finally fitted with a brand new head valve assembly.

As these units are being re-used their manufacture has a considerably reduced impact on the environment. The raw materials and energy consumption used during the refurbishment process is just a fraction of that used during the manufacture of a new cylinder.

The units are not supplied with wall brackets, but are available with or without horns and hoses (in the case of the 5kg CO2 extinguisher), enabling customers to make even further cost savings.