UK’s Chief Fire Officers and Safelincs launch new online fire safety shop

Chief Fire Officers AssociationCFOA, the Chief Fire Officers Association, through their subsidiary Blue Watch and in partnership with Safelincs, have launched a fire safety shop offering information and fire safety products for landlords, tenants and home owners. The site is a one-stop shop to allow residential users to select the products most suitable for their application, safe in the knowledge that the products have been carefully selected and are suitable for them. Each category of buyer has its own selection of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers to choose from.

The website will help increase fire safety awareness and raises funds for CFOA to allow it to promote its fire safety messages in an environment of government cutbacks.

Harry Dewick-Eisele, managing director, Safelincs, commented: “I am very pleased Safelincs has been chosen by the CFOA to create and run the Blue Watch Shop website. It is a testament to our reputation and high level of customer satisfaction that such a prestigious organisation has entrusted us to manage its sales operations.”

The site will sell a selection of smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms with Safelincs managing and fulfilling all orders on behalf of the CFOA.
Bluewatch Website

Safelincs helped UK Aid respond to Ebola crisis

World Health Organisation Ebola CrisisIn October and November 2014 Safelincs reacted quickly to requests from the Department for International Aid, to provide safety equipment for shipment to West Africa as part of the UK Aid response to the Ebola crisis.
Defibrillators, powder fire extinguishers, fire bells, mini megaphones and smoke alarms formed two large consignments shipped within days of receiving the requests with special transport directly to Cotswold Airport to meet aircraft for onward transit to Africa, where they were utilised in new health centres built by Britain to save those suffering from this deadly virus. All the items were shipped on fumigated wooden pallets to ensure adherence to export rules.

Harry Dewick-Eisele, managing director, Safelincs commented: “We are pleased that we were able to support the UK response to the situation in West Africa. Our staff pulled out all the stops to ensure that all items, together with the required paperwork were delivered within the very demanding time limit and in compliance with the export regulations.”

The outbreak of the Ebola virus primarily affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 21,000 cases and 8,400 deaths have been reported globally by the World Health Organisation. Since the strong commitment by the international community started in earnest, the rate of new infections has reduced significantly but the virus still remains a major threat.

It’s worth reading the ads!

Harrow CollegeWhen Ian Kavanagh, estates manager at London’s Harrow College, was leafing through his copy of FM Magazine, a Safelincs advert for the P50 range of extinguishers caught his eye. It was particularly pertinent since he had just had the annual maintenance carried out on both the campuses the college operates.

He was aware that, following on from the maintenance, a considerable amount of remedial work was required which would include replacing a significant number of the appliances.

The P50s attracted his attention because they have been developed so that they only require an annual check by a member of staff; they do not require servicing by an extinguisher engineer or a discharge test over their entire 10-year lifespan. After 10 years the extinguishers can be refurbished for a further 10-year service-free life.

Since a considerable amount of his budget goes on fire extinguisher maintenance, Kavanagh could see that the P50s had the potential to save money in the future. He contacted Safelincs who arranged to visit and demonstrate the extinguisher. It was explained that the P50’s construction, utilising Aramid fibres (a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers used in aerospace, military applications and ballistic-rated body armour fabric), is corrosion-proof. This removes the necessity for an annual visit from an engineer, as is the case with standard appliances.

Safelincs then carried out an in-depth site survey to identify which standard extinguishers could remain in service and the number of P50s that would be needed to be installed.

“I was very impressed with the P50s and the potential savings they offered,” commented Kavanagh. “Safelincs provided me with clear, honest information and I was happy to place an order.”

Engineers from Safelincs moved existing usable extinguishers across the sites, in accordance with Harrow College’s wishes, and fulfilled requirements to stagger the replacement of the extinguishers. In all, 92 P50s have been supplied, and a full location sheet of extinguishers and marked up floor plans provided by Safelincs. This will ensure that Harrow College’s internal security team, trained to inspect the P50s, can print out a copy and ensure that all extinguishers are checked annually.

The standard extinguishers that are still in service are maintained by Safelincs’ BAFE approved service engineers in accordance to BS5306. They will advise the college when they need to be exchanged for P50s.

The total cost to swap over to the P50 extinguishers was not much greater than the quotation received from the previous servicing company, and in the coming years major savings will be made through a vast reduction in maintenance costs.

More Fire Stations to close

Fire EngineIn the wake of government cutbacks, up to seven Merseyside fire stations have been threatened with closure. The closure plan – which will lead to 100 firefighter job losses as retiring staff are not replaced – is expected to save £3.4m in 2015/16.

Many other areas are facing similar cuts as austerity measures continue to bite. At the beginning of the year Britain’s oldest fire station, in Clerkenwell, closed along with nine others in the London area. London Fire Brigade is cutting 552 firefighter jobs and reducing the number of fire engines by 14, saving £45m over two years.

London Fire Brigade said the cuts will not affect the service it provides because the number of fires has fallen by 50% over the last 10 years.

Improvements in passive fire protection such as fire resistant soft furnishing and the reduction of the number of smokers as well as changing diets with less deep fat fryers and fat being used have played important roles in this improvement.

The widespread installation of smoke alarms and the early warning these give have also had a major impact. Smoke alarm ownership increased rapidly from 8% in 1988 to 70% in 1994 in England, and has continued to rise in recent years to 88% in 2011. However, whilst only 12 per cent of dwellings report not having a working smoke alarm in England, more than one third of fires occurred where no alarm was installed. There were also numerous cases where fatalities have occurred despite smoke alarms being present, however, they either weren’t working or the batteries had been removed.

This emphasises how important it is to regularly check that smoke alarms are actually working by pressing their test button. Safelincs provides a free service to regularly remind householders via email to check their smoke alarms are working.

Having a working smoke alarm is, however, only the first step. Without having the ability to extinguish a small fire, even an early detection will not stop a building burning down. Portable fire extinguishers can be used to tackle small fires at an early stage, as long as the right medium is used.

In domestic situations Safelincs recommends the innovative water mist extinguisher which works by creating a very fine ‘dry’ mist which can be used on just about every type of household fire including electrical and deep fat fryer fires – with absolutely no chemical residue.

The authorities are adamant that the fire service cuts will not affect response times but the cutbacks will have acted as a wake-up call to many to enhance their domestic precautions.

P50 service free extinguishers ideal for prisons

HM PrisonsSeveral HM Prisons recently started the process of introducing the P50 service free extinguisher manufactured largely from composite plastics and aramid fibres (such as Kevlar). These kitemarked extinguishers are 100% corrosion proof and do not require annual servicing nor refilling after five years. In their first ten years of life they are simply visually inspected by the customer’s own personnel. This reduces external visits from contractors and makes the annual vetting of contractors, their equipment and any new fire extinguishers by security personnel unnecessary.

P50s delivered to a prison can easily be x-rayed, as there is no metal cylinder preventing the scan. Equally, when after ten years the extinguishers are being refurbished, the replacements can be brought on site without necessarily opening the extinguishers. While the extinguishers can be refilled easily, a special clamp is required to  open the extinguisher, without this the inner and outer body spin against each other without opening the cylinder head. Unauthorised attempts to open the extinguisher for storage of drugs and other illegal items are hence made more difficult. The dual pressure indicators of the P50 are magnetic so security staff can easily verify if a gauge has been tampered with.

The body of the extinguisher, due to it being manufactured from spun fibre has a degree of elasticity which reduces risk of injury if a person is attacked with an extinguisher.

While the main application of the P50 extinguishers lies in the FM market, churches, offices and agriculture, prisons are now becoming an important market for this product. If you would like to know more about the P50 extinguisher, please contact Safelincs on 01507 462176 or email service@safelincs.co.uk

P50 service free extinguisher called into action

drain-picJust a month after it purchased a P50 service free fire extinguisher from Safelincs, Abbey Metal Recycling called it into action.

Late one afternoon at the end of April, a member of staff was cutting a sub-frame with a disc cutter. A spark ignited a pool of oil on the surface of water inside a gully pot which drains into an inceptor tank. Within seconds a small fire broke out, but it was quickly extinguished using the powder P50. There was no damage to the gully pot or drain gate and nobody was injured.

Abbey Metal Recycling is a family owned and operated metal recycler based in Cinderford in Gloucestershire. With over forty years’ experience in the metal recycling business, it has earned a strong reputation within the industry for its dependable service.

The company purchased the P50 as it is an appliance which, due to the nature of its manufacture, requires only an annual check by a member of its own staff rather than a costly yearly visit from an external extinguisher engineer. All the components in the P50’s construction are non-corroding and this, together with a ten year warranty, make it an attractive proposition for the environment in which it is utilised by a recycling company.

Furthermore, Abbey Metal Recycling benefited from Safelincs’ free replacement / repair policy for all fire safety items sold by Safelincs which are utilised or damaged in a fire situation. Abbey’s P50 was therefore immediately replaced free of charge.

Quick thinking and Safelincs save the day

Mercy Ships Land Rover in front of one of Mercy Ships’ hospital shipsIn 2008 Safelincs donated vehicle extinguishers and telescopic ladders to Mercy Ships, a global charity operating a fleet of hospital ships and land-based programmes bringing medical aid and the hope of long term sustainable development to some of the world’s poorest regions.

Extinguishers installed in Land Rover fleet’Earlier this month one of these extinguishers was dramatically called into action when a fire broke out in one of the Land Rovers operated by the charity in the Congo. Quick thinking by one of the Mercy Ships workers, who was passing the vehicle on its way out of port, allowed the fire to be quickly extinguished. An official from the charity stated that without this prompt action there could have been injury to the patients on board and the vehicle would probably have burnt out.

The source of the fire – the Land Rover’s AC unit“It’s good to know that something we contributed back then has helped save the day,” commented Harry Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director, Safelincs. “The Land Rover is now back in service, but without our donation and one individual’s quick thinking it could have been a different story.”

P50 service free extinguishers in the petroleum industry

Portable fire extinguishers in refineries and forecourts are exposed to weather and extreme temperatures and, on top of heavy handling, sometimes face a corrosive atmosphere. Traditional fire extinguishers, made from painted steel with an inner protective lining can corrode, often get dented, burst if the contents freeze and can experience detachment of the inner protective lining. All of these issues will lead to the extinguisher being condemned at the annual extinguisher service, resulting in you having to replace it.

This leaves the owners with replacement costs on top of the annual servicing charges, refilling charges every five years and the problem of supervising external subcontractors onsite. In larger refineries and production facilities the cost for supervision of every sub-contract engineer and issuing safety instructions can be significant.

During the annual service, traditional, stored pressure extinguishers are visually inspected from the outside and the pressure of the extinguisher is checked. Every five years, the extinguishers are opened, emptied and the inside is inspected for rust or lining detachment (showing as bubbles). The chemicals within the extinguishers are usually not re-used due to the fear of contamination from rust or the impact of moisture. In short, most of the inspection activities are linked to the fact the extinguishers are made of steel, can corrode and can be dented.

Britannia, a long established manufacturer of portable extinguishers in the UK, in partnership with Safelincs can offer a solution which addresses all these issues.

p50-extinguishersBritannia’s P50 fire extinguishers are made from composites and brass. The extinguishers have an inner 3-layered PA cylinder that contains the fire fighting agent and does not corrode or interact in any way with the chemicals. This cylinder is tightly wrapped in aramid fibre (Kevlar is the best know aramid), a fibre that is stronger than steel (per weight) and which takes up the pressure from the extinguisher. The extinguisher core is then contained and protected against UV light by a red plastic mantle. The head and valves are made from brass and stainless steel. The extinguishers are almost indestructible – even the most serious knocks will not damage the P50 extinguishers.

To test their resilience at the production plant, every 500th extinguisher is destruction tested: The extinguishers are pressurised 12000 times between zero and 25 bar. After this demanding test they are crushed flat by a metal blade and re-pressurised to over 55 bar without being allowed to burst or leak! In the tests P50 extinguishers actually only burst at around 85 bar!

These extinguishers are corrosion-proof and have a far superior pressure resistance than steel extinguishers. As the chemicals are not reacting with the cylinder, there is no need to refill the extinguisher after five years. The manufacturers of the chemicals have certified that the chemicals used in the P50 extinguishers will not require refilling for at least ten years. After the ten years, Safelincs, the main distribution partner of Britannia, offers an exchange service. The returned units are re-filled and can then be used for a further ten years!

As corrosion, lining detachment and dints will never be a problem for the P50 extinguishers; the only inspection requirement left is the verification of the internal pressure to detect any potential leakage. To give extra peace of mind Britannia has fitted two German-made pressure indicators to each extinguisher. Normal extinguishers only have one pressure indicator.

p50-indicatorsThe requirement to regularly check pressure indicators applies both to traditional extinguishers and the P50. The general recommendation is that extinguisher pressure indicators should be viewed in passing about once a month by end users to ensure that they are still showing the indicator needle in the green area of the indicator.

The real difference to traditional steel extinguishers is the replacement of the annual service by an external engineer with a simple annual visual inspection by the end users or their representatives. This inspection is boiled down to a very swift visual inspection of pressure indicators and the extinguisher outer body to check for any visual damage from the outside. This inspection is then recorded on the back of the extinguisher and in the company’s fire safety logbook. This visual inspection requires no skill or tools. Nevertheless, when Safelincs installs the extinguishers at the customer, they train site staff in the visual inspection process and will certify their training to confirm that staff are competent to visually inspect the extinguishers. As a back-up there is also a video on the Safelincs website that runs through the process.

The P50 extinguishers are kitemarked and LPCB approved. They are also CE marked and marine approved. All major insurance companies accept the reduced servicing regime, as long as evidence of the regular visual inspection is kept in the standard fire safety log books in the same way as for any other extinguisher types. Britannia offers a ten year guarantee for all P50 extinguishers, offering complete peace of mind.

P50 extinguishers are installed in refineries, petrol stations and many other outdoor locations. It was in one of the refineries that the extinguisher shown below was photographed after it had been run over by a van – it was still fully pressurised!

crushed-p50-extinguisher

Cost benefits:

These composite extinguishers cost in the region of £100-£150, depending from order volume, including site survey, installation, training and certification. They save the customer the costs of the annual service and the five-yearly refills/replacement. Due to the refurbishment after ten years (at around half the price of a new P50) the lifespan of the extinguisher is twenty years.

A simple and conservative calculation, comparing it with Safelincs’ own and very competitive standard extinguisher range, identifies the savings. We have only considered a ten year period, although the savings over 20 years are of course much larger: The savings indicated below are per unit.

Traditional 6kg powder (steel) P50 Composite
Cost Qty Cost Qty
Extinguisher cost £32.99 1 £145.00 1
Installation+ commission £9.99 1 0
Annual service £7.99 8 0
Call-out (averaged over 5 extinguishers) £5.00 11
5 yearly refill £39.98 1
Disposal £3.57 1 0
Total 10 year costs £205.45 £145.00

As mentioned above, the real savings are higher when a 20 year period is considered. Larger customers are also achieving much better purchase prices in the first place.

Also, the P50 extinguishers have substantially higher ratings than traditional extinguishers, so that fewer extinguishers are required, offering even further savings:

Model 6kg powder 6l foam
TG PowerX 21A 144B C 13A 144B
(not suitable for electrical)
P50 Composite 43A 183B C 27A 183B Electrical

The P50s have more than double the A rating, allowing drastic reduction of numbers in offices and work places.

The P50 foam is also suitable for use on electrical equipment, allowing the replacement of the CO2 extinguishers found in many locations. Traditional foam extinguishers often do not have that capability!

To help our customers with the cost of the introduction of the P50 extinguishers, we offer additional options:

  • Phased introduction: We replace extinguishers as they become due for replacement, rather than exchanging them all in one go
  • Payments spread over a number of years

We will, of course, also remove your old extinguishers free of charge and dispose of them responsibly.

If you wish to find out how much the P50 can save you, please contact Safelincs on 0800 612 6537 or email service@safelincs.co.uk

Safelincs and Britannia exhibit at the APEA Live 2013 in Coventry

APEA Live 2013 is a trade show for the petroleum and explosives industry (APEA stands for ‘Association for Petroleum and Explosives Administration’). Safelincs and Britannia jointly exhibited the P50 service free extinguishers to the refinery and forecourt industry. The P50 is particularly well suited to the harsh refinery and forecourt environment and reduces the cost of compliance dramatically, as traditional yearly fire extinguisher inspections in a safety critical environment require members of staff to accompany the service engineers. The P50, which only requires a visual inspection once a year without any servicing activities cuts out these burdens. The extinguishers are simply visually inspected by regular site safety personnel who receive introductory training when Safelincs install the extinguishers. The extinguishers have a ten year warranty and after ten years the P50 are re-furbished, giving them a further ten year life.
apea-trade-show-britannia
The show was well attended and we met some well known faces and made some new and exciting contacts.

Business Development Manager Stuart Baxter said ‘The atmosphere at this event is really friendly and constructive. Everybody knows each other and I am looking forward to follow up some of the new contacts we made this year’

If you would like more information on our P50 service free extinguisher, please contact us on 0800 612 6537

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.