Fire safety in offices

Office fire safety is often taken for granted by staff. When you spend so much of your day in an office, it is easy to forget the risks that are present. Office fires are rare, but they can be devastating when they do occur. The following reminders relate to fire safety actions affecting your staff. A detailed fire safety assessment of your own premises can be found in your company’s fire risk assessment, which is a legal document and looks at all the fire risks in your organisation and the remedial actions and structural fire safety provisions.

Fire Drills

Every member of staff must be made aware of where the nearest fire exits are and which routes to take when exiting the building. The best way of ensuring that all staff know the escape routes is to carry out regular fire drills.

To start the drill, sound the fire alarm system by triggering individual alarms or manual break points (every time from a different location). Then check that all your staff and visitors have arrived at the assembly points. For this purpose it is important that visitor books are filled in correctly and taken by the fire warden to the assembly point during the drill. A visitor having left the premises without signing out will cause you a lot of headache during fire drills!

During fire drills, simulate one or two of the fire exits being blocked by fire. Place a fire warden in front of the fire exits, turning back members of staff trying to leave through this exit. It is surprising how difficult staff find it to identify an alternative, safe escape route.

Record the trigger points being used to set off the alarm system and record the fire drill in your fire safety logbook. Any failings experienced during the drill must be recorded and acted upon swiftly.

Escape routes

Staff escaping a building must be visually directed to the safest and usually quickest route leading to the nearest fire exit. Ensure that photoluminescent (glow in the dark) fire escape route signs are indicating the nearest exit and are clearly visible. You need to ensure that even if the mains power fails, all escape route signs are visible and that stairs and awkward floors are lit sufficiently to escape safely. You can achieve this by installing emergency lights or by installing illuminated fire exit signs in the first place.

Fire Extinguishers in offices

Portable fire extinguishers can be very valuable in stopping small fires getting out of hand and turning into large fires which threaten lifes, property and even the business’ survival. However, if fire extinguishers are used incorrectly or if the fire is too large to be extinguished safely, staff might get injured and fires might still get out of hand. Train your staff in the correct use of extinguishers. Where possible reduce the number for different fire extinguisher types to a minimum to avoid confusion. The new dry water mist fire extinguisher development allows to have just one extinguisher type covering most fire risks in an office. The application of this extinguisher type is also very safe and simple.

Ensure that you cover all risk areas with fire extinguishers. Ensure that your extinguishers were commissioned by a service engineer at your premises and are maintained in accordance to British Standards. Please note that where self-maintenance extinguishers are installed, a yearly visual inspection by your staff is still required and must be documented in your fire safety log book.

In addition, your own staff representatives must visually inspect all your extinguishers on a regular base to ensure that the extinguishers are not damaged in between the yearly maintenance visit or even empty.

Manual Call Points (MCP)

Make sure that all employees understand that the first thing to do if they discover a fire is to press the nearest manual call point (also called manual break points). This alerts all of your staff of the fire. New staff must be shown the call points during their induction period. Fire action signs help to re-inforce the correct behaviour in case of a fire.

Where office buildings are shared with other companies, make sure that a system exists of notifying all the companies in the building if there is a fire.

 

5 Year extended warranty on ALL essential fire safety goods

Many fire safety products purchased by our customers are long term purchases and so a long lasting quality is expected. Despite this expectation we were always surprised at the short warranties offered by manufacturers. How could a large fire safe costing hundreds of pounds be only warranted for two years? We saw this as a challenge and Safelincs has been researching alternative suppliers and forms of underwriting for its fire safety product range ever since. As a first step we introduced a 10 year warranty on our top range of fire extinguishers, an extended warranties for the Dorgard fire door retainers and as the final achievement we have now rolled out a free extended warranty on all essential fire safety goods. All these products will now have a warranty of at least 5 years. The extended warranties consist of the warranty offered by the manufacturer plus the additional free extended warranty underwritten by Safelincs.

Products that will be covered by the 5 year extended warranty are

  • all fire safes
  • anti-arson letterboxes
  • emergency lights
  • Dorgard fire door retainers
  • fire door closers (10 year warranty)
  • exit hardware (10 year warranty)

And of course all our smoke and CO alarms, as well as all our extinguishers, already have a minimum five year warranty.

These free extended warranties will ensure our customers get value for money and that they can be confident that when dealing with us they will always get a professional service and the best fire safety products available in the market.

Our extended 5 year warranty on all essential fire safety goods and our free after fire replacement policy are just two reasons why Safelincs continues to be the supplier of choice for fire safety goods for many businesses. Buy from Safelincs, the UK’s largest online fire safety supplier, to ensure that your products will still be working when you expect them to.

Know where you are going

Emergency lighting comes into play when the normal mains-powered lighting fails and will provide alternative adequate lighting allowing people to evacuate the building safely in the case of for example a fire. As a minimum requirement, buildings must have emergency lighting installed across all the escape routes and exits from every area of the building, with the lighting being of adequate intensity for people to see where they are going, and for a minimum backup duration of 1 to 3 hours. As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that emergency lighting provisions are in place and are in working condition as part of your fire safety precautions.

When deciding where to install emergency lighting, take into account any hazards along the evacuation route, such as corners, stairways or uneven flooring. You must also ensure that exit signs, fire alarm call points and equipment used for fire fighting, such as extinguishers or fire blankets, are adequately illuminated to be easily seen or located. We stock illuminated fire exit signs and emergency lighting from Ringtail, which are the best way of ensuring that the fire exit is as visible as possible.

As with all fire safety equipment, regular testing of your emergency lighting must be carried out to ensure that it is working correctly. You should test that the lights are triggered when the mains supply is cut, and also that all the lights are illuminated as they should be. Once the power is switched on again, ensure that the batteries are charging. You will need to test your lighting at least once a month and log the results. Once a year you will need to carry out a full drain for the specified lighting backup period (eg 3 hours).

Addressable Emergency Lighting

Utilising DALI technology, Safelincs can offer fully Addressable Emergency Lighting Solutions with a full range of emergency light that can also be incorporated in existing DALI networks and building management systems.
What is DALI?
DALI stands for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface and is a protocol set out in the technical standard IEC 62386. DALI is an international standard set out to guarantee the compatibility of products from different manufacturers.
DALI Addressable Emergency Lighting
After the initial installation of emergency lighting, there is a legal requirement for the building occupiers, owners and nominated responsible person(s) to ensure that the emergency lighting system within a building is tested and maintained in accordance with BS5266 – Code of practice for emergency lighting of premises. The associated maintenance and testing labour costs have resulted in the development of fully addressable emergency lighting solutions. These addressable systems perform the necessary scheduled tests in accordance with BS5266, each luminaire then reports back to the central panel or computer with the test results. If there are any malfunctions found with an individual luminaire the specific fault is highlighted at the centralised monitoring point, with the unique address of the luminaire at fault.

These systems have an increased initial cost, but can be easily justified with short payback periods due to reduced costs for testing the systems. The DALI addressable emergency lighting systems enable a lighting designer or planner to assemble a fully addressable system with the advantage of the DALI protocol enabling a mixture of manufacturer’s emergency luminaires on each addressable system.

APPLICATIONS:
Schools, Hospitals, Hotels, Local Authority buildings and any medium to large installations

Safelincs’ manufacturer Ringtail offers a complete addressable system incorporating the monitoring panel, the software and all luminaires. All of these can be incorporated into an existing DALI network. Each DALI system offers the following functionality:

Centralised fully automatic testing and monitoring incorporating

  • Full rated test at commissioning
  • Monthly function test
  • Annual duration test
  • Fully addressable
  • Flexibility for testing schedules, grouping
  • Diagnostic information for rectification of faults and scheduled maintenance
  • Easy commissioning features
  • Communication to proven DALI protocol

Ringtail DALI Luminaires can be linked to any DALI system, however, our complete addressable emergency lighting system incorporates a discrete touchscreen facility with the potential of up to 120 luminaires being controlled and monitored by each touchscreen. Each touchscreen is pre-loaded with its own software and provides a fully DALI emergency compliant system, a number of options are available allowing each touchscreen to operate as a stand alone system or alternatively, on larger installations, these touchscreen panels can be networked together via the building’s ethernet and back to a central monitoring PC. Up to 10 DALI panels can be networked, enabling a maximum of 1200 emergency luminaires to be monitored.

The system is unique in that until the luminaires have been commissioned onto the DALI network they revert to standard Self-test, this means that even before the DALI system has been commissioned that the site will have a fully compliant emergency lighting scheme complete with Self-test.
The DALI function is available on most of Safelincs’ emergency lights; please refer to each individual datasheet for full specifications. We are also able to offer a full range of DALI emergency conversions to existing and other manufacturer’s luminaires.

For system enquiries, please contact us on 0800 612 2946 or email Sue@safelincs.co.uk

 

 

Emergency lighting guide

Planning your emergency lighting can be quite daunting and appear very complicated. We have developed an emergency lighting guide to help with all the issues of planning where to install your emergency lights.

The guide has been developed through answering customer questions on emergency lighting installation, ensuring that we are answering the questions you want to ask.  The guide covers topics such as planning, location, types of lights, signs and testing your emergency lights.

The emergency lighting planning section goes through six steps to ensure that you comply to the most update legislation, including the Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The guide is designed to help proprietors or people responsible for emergency lighting provisions to think about the many aspects of evacuation and escape.

The section on where to locate your emergency lighting covers every day areas such as corridors and junctions, where there may be a change in direction to stairways, steps and ramps as well as exits and fire and first aid points. There is also a section for areas that are not so common, covering large open areas, generators or heavy machinery, escalators and lifts. Each of the sections gives a comprehensive guide to which compliant emergency light is available, giving you the overview and possibility to choose the correct lighting not only for location but also in accordance with your budget.

Emergency lighting is only one section of this guide. The guide also covers the installation of safety signs, again giving advice in accordance with the Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  It covers the requirement of externally illuminated signs or  internally illuminated fire exit signs.

Once the type of emergency lighting has been selected and the correct emergency exit or fire exit signs have been purchased it is critical to have some knowledge of the testing requirements as set down in the British Standard BS 5266-1:1999.

The emergency lighting guide looks at monthly testing, half yearly testing and testing of appliances that are three years old. It is the role of the designated responsible person to ensure that the emergency lighting, once it is installed, is working according to the legislation. When purchasing emergency lighting from Safelincs you can choose to register for a reminder at the end of the checkout process and we will automatically send you reminders to test your emergency lighting when the lighting is coming up for testing.

For recording your emergency lighting tests you can also download our free fire safety logbook.

To make your assessment and planning of your emergency lighting as problem free as possible view the comprehensive guide

Self-Test LED emergency lighting – save time, money and the environment

Emergency lighting is an essential part of the fire safety planning in any commercial building and potentially saves life in emergencies. To a business however, it can be a costly drain on resources, requiring frequent testing (quite often outsourced), regular replacement of bulbs and lamps and the need to replace the complete lighting unit at the end of its life.

We offer two technologies that will help you save time, money and energy.

Self-test emergency lighting is fitted with a system that automatically conducts periodical tests to ensure that the unit is fully functioning and safe in an emergency.  If a fault is detected then an audio / visual warning is triggered. The installation of self-test units means that no engineer visits are required to test the emergency lights, saving time and money. You can also rest assured that your testing program complies with best practice.

On top of this we sell self-testing emergency lighting with LED luminaires which offer even more advantages over traditional lighting. LED emergency lights have a far lower energy consumption than fluorescent emergency lights, a longer life span, greater durability and increased reliability.

Combining the two features creates an opportunity for customers to buy and fit emergency lighting that is low maintenance and cost-saving. To find out more about the potential of these units see our ranges of self-test and LED emergency lighting units.

Quality Manager to Drive Supplier Performance

Safelincs’ quality can only be as good as the quality of its suppliers. That wisdom has long been understood at Safelincs. For years we have carried out regular supplier audits at our fire extinguisher manufacturing plant, the manufacturers of our emergency lighting ranges and at all our key fire safety product suppliers. These audits were up to now carried out by our MD, Product Manager and Warehousing Manager.

We have now formalised the responsibility for supplier audits, supplier quality and goods inwards control to a Quality Manager who will co-ordinate all the quality activities. Our focus on quality and continuous improvement will allow us to offer longer warranties, such as the ten year warranty for fire extinguishers, a five year warranty on the new Dorgard and lifelong warranty for a range of fire escape ladders.

Free Fire Safety Logbook from Safelincs

Safelincs is aware that in the current economical times, the purchasing of fire alarm tests records, emergency lighting test logbooks etc, is not at the top of the list. That is why we have made a FREE downloadable log book.

The Logbook includes fire safety advice in fire prevention, fire escape, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and general fire precautions.

Visit www.safelincs.co.uk/fire-safety-logbook to take advantage now!