Tailored extinguisher service

hotelProviding a discreet and tailored extinguisher servicing contract to some of London’s most expensive luxury apartments was no challenge to Safelincs.

The facilities management team tasked with arranging the annual service of their stylish stainless steel fire extinguishers that reflect the sophisticated character of the building needed a company who could carry out the task discreetly and ‘invisibly’.  Due to the exclusive nature of the apartments and the expectations of the owners, high standards and professionalism were a must.

After listening to the needs of our client we drew up a plan to undertake all servicing from our vehicle parked in the underground car park below the main building. Water containers were brought along to refill the water based extinguishers and waste water tanks on the van were used for storing the redundant extinguishing liquids for later environmentally responsible disposal.

As well as carrying out the annual service of the stainless steel fire extinguishers in the communal areas of the building we also installed P50 service-free extinguishers in the operations areas, where the distinguished owners do not venture. The P50 extinguisher does not require an annual service by a trained extinguisher engineer and has an initial life span of 10 years, saving costs for the FM company.

All the servicing work was carried out without any inconvenience to the residents of the building. In fact they didn’t even notice it was going on. The Director of Engineering for the building commented: “Your technicians were excellent, a real credit and I would have no hesitation in recommending Safelincs in the future.”

 

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.

Case Study: Wireless Fire Alarm System for Holy Apostles, Pimlico

Like many church buildings, Holy Apostles finally needed a modern fire alarm system to provide a safe environment for users of, and visitors to, the building. A fire risk assessment had identified the need for a fire alarm system with a central panel to give early warning in case of fire and to help the fire services identify the location of a fire.

This religious building offers a tranquil place of worship, so its uninterrupted use during the necessary work was an important consideration. Installation of a traditional, hard-wired fire alarm system would have caused prolonged disturbance to the users of the building, as this requires drilling into the fabric. There are also issues of obstruction, as operatives require continuous access throughout the installation process. Furthermore, from the point of view of aesthetics, it is not always possible to hide the cables and other effects on infrastructure of a hard-wired system.

To resolve the above issues, technology has advanced significantly to provide an alternative, radio-linked fire alarm system. Manufacturers have seized the opportunity and produced wireless systems to comply with all insurance and industry design standards for a fire alarm system.

Safelincs, the official fire safety supplier to the Catholic Church in the UK, was asked by the Premises Managers of Holy Apostles to price a BS5839 pt 1 L3 system based on a wireless installation, in competition with other, hard-wired alarm systems. A fire alarm survey was duly carried out by Safelincs, on the basis of which the company designed and priced an appropriate fire alarm system manufactured by Fulleon.

The radio frequency (RF) propagation survey provided the engineer with an infrastructure design requirement in terms of signal booster and fire alarm panel positioning. The radio survey also confirmed that all the fire alarm positions were acceptable from a radio performance perspective.

The fire alarm design consideration for wireless systems is the same as for hard-wired alarms. The choice of radio fire alarm devices likewise does not differ from hard-wired types. The RF propagation survey gives customers the assurance that any device position alteration or addition can be carried out without having to reassess the radio propagation.

The quote prepared was significantly cheaper than the hard-wired standard solution. These savings were even more substantial after the ChurchMarketplace discounts were applied by Safelincs. ChurchMarketplace  is the Catholic collaborative purchasing platform in the UK.

The quotation was subsequently authorised by the church and the timescale from order to the commencement of installation included a manufacturer’s lead time of 10 days. Once diaries had been synchronised, the installation was successfully carried out over a period of 3 consecutive days.

From the perspective of cost saving as well as that of minimising disturbance, a wireless alarm system offers a viable and fully compliant alternative to the hard-wired approach. Turnaround time from order to site completion is usually less than three weeks, which can make all the difference to a building with public access being granted permission to remain open after a fire services inspection. Plus, of course, the visual impact of a wireless system is far less than a surface mounted, hard-wired system. This is an important factor, especially in historical or heritage buildings.

All fire alarm systems require a preventative service regime and this system will receive the same attention as any other, which includes a 6 monthly service.  As with any specialist system, due diligence when choosing a service provider is paramount to the continued operation of a wireless system.

Father Jan of Holy Apostles very kindly commented on the professionalism and efficiency provided by all concerned with the procurement and installation of the system.

Extinguisher Service Engineers Wanted

Safelincs is currently recruiting for its service center in London. We are looking for capable extinguisher service engineers with experience and the relevant BAFE certified training. We do NOT pay bonuses but offer a generous salary to ensure that our engineers do not hard sell to our customers but focus on the needs of each customer. Candidates will be selected for their integrity and experience.

For details of the job visit our extinguisher service engineer job ad.

London fire extinguisher servicing supported by new extinguisher servicing base

To improve flexibility and speed for our customers in London, we are opening a fire extinguisher servicing base on the 1st of February in Woking. The depot will be the base for our extinguisher servicing engineers in the London area and will further reduce response times in case of fire extinguisher emergency servicing and extinguisher installations. The depot will hold most of our various extinguisher ranges such as Safelincs, Ultrafire, Thomas Glover and Gloria fire extinguishers and therefore shorten delivery times for our customers. The head of the new Woking base, Anthony, stated that ‘improved response times will drive our extinguisher servicing business forward. We now offer not only the best prices for extinguishers, installations and servicing – we also can offer rapid response times in one of our key customer markets’