Just 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.
Safelincs 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.
As well as testing your smoke and heat alarms on a regular basis, it is important to make a note of when the units actually need to be replaced. Studies have shown that the functionality of smoke and heat alarms can start to deteriorate when they reach a lifespan of 10 years. Each smoke and heat alarm should have a “replace by date” visible on the outside of the unit and we recommend that you adhere to this guideline.
When replacing a smoke alarm it can be quite difficult to recognise a suitable replacement product. In some cases, you may find that the current alarm model has been discontinued. With battery operated alarms, as there is no wiring in place, it is much easier to replace the unit for another smoke alarm with like-for-like features. Mains powered alarms are hard wired and are most likely interconnected during installation. It is because of this that finding replacement detectors can be difficult.
Working with Kidde Safety Europe, Safelincs are able to provide a list of mains powered discontinued Kidde smoke and heat alarms, along with their suitable product equivalents.
The new alarms will interlink with other, still working units of the previously installed smoke alarms. This means that there is no need to replace all of the units within a system if only some of the installed detectors have reached the end of their recommended lifespan. All new mains powered smoke and heat alarms are provided with a mounting bracket and a wiring connector. It is important to note that you need to replace the existing mounting base and re-connect the wiring to fit the new units. With any mains powered alarms, all electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician.
Safelincs offer a smoke alarm reminder service which allows customers to be notified when their smoke and heat alarms are due to be replaced, when the batteries need to be changed and reminds customers to test their alarms on a regular basis. The service is completely free and customers can choose if they wish to be reminded by email, SMS text message or by Twitter.
Safelincs was very pleased when they were asked to present a section at the National Prevention Committee Meeting which was held by the Chief Fire Officers Association at the end of January. The invitation to the West Midlands Fire Service headquarters came as a result of our partnership in the Government’s Fire Kills campaign.
The Fire Kills representative for the campaign had previously tabled a paper expressing concerns that large numbers of households may now have mains powered smoke alarms that are past their useful working life. In 1992 the Building Regulations were amended, requiring every new build to have mains powered, interconnected smoke alarms installed. Many smoke alarms installed under this regulation are still in use and are potentially approaching their twentieth year of operation. This has raised the question; “when should mains powered smoke alarms be replaced?”
Research carried out in the USA and Canada tends to support the manufacturers recommendation that all smoke alarms, mains or battery powered, should be replaced every ten years. The results of this research supports claims that a smoke alarms effectiveness may be compromised over time due to accumulated dust, insects, airborne contaminants and corrosion of electrical circuitry.
The two main issues surrounding the replacement of mains powered alarms are:
- Making people aware that smoke alarms do not last forever and need to be replaced after a certain amount of time
- A concern that, when made aware, householders will be scared off replacing their units due to the expense and inconvenience of having to call out an electrician to carry out the replacement.
Harry Dewick-Eisele, managing director of Safelincs, presented a new product at the committee meeting which has been specifically designed to address the second issue. easichang®, is a replacement detector head containing the sensor and circuitry for a range of Ei Electronics smoke and heat alarms – the UKs most widely used mains powered alarms. Using the removal tool provided, the old head unit can be removed leaving the base plate (which is wired into the mains power) in situ. The new head unit can then be easily installed on the existing base without requiring an electrician.
The presentation sparked a lot of interest with most in attendance seeing the benefits of these products. Plans are now under way to carry out UK based research which will help to provide crucial evidence as to how frequently smoke alarms should be replaced.
The meeting was left on a positive note with delegates returning home to continue discussions with colleagues about the most successful way to promote the active replacement of smoke alarms no longer fit for purpose.