Fire prevention and fire fighting on wind farms

Wind Turbine FireResearch undertaken by Imperial College London in conjunction with Edinburgh University and the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden in 2014 found that fire is the second largest cause of incidents in wind turbines after blade failure. Considering the vast costs for constructing wind turbines, this statistic offers enough justification to consider specific fire prevention, detection and fighting questions.

Fires in wind turbines can start when flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and other flammable materials are in proximity to hot machinery or electrical equipment. Oils can catch fire if the gearbox or generator overheat, and high winds can potentially fan the flames. Lightening strikes can also spark a fire. Once started, the fire is unlikely to be brought under control due to the height of the turbines and the location of wind farms, which are normally a significant distance from the nearest fire services.

Fire precautions

Measures can be put in place to protect against lightning strikes. Fire-resistant hydraulic fluids and lubricant oils reduce the likelihood of a fire and the latest wind turbine designs incorporate heat barriers to protect materials that can burn. It is also recommended that manufacturers use non-combustible insulating materials. Intumescent materials (materials that expand if exposed to fire and therefore choke the fire) can help to suppress fires at an early stage. Systems can be installed to continuously monitor the condition of machinery so that maintenance and engineering work can be undertaken in a timely manner and the system can be shut down before a fire develops.

Should a fire break out there are fire detection systems that can be employed in conjunction with fire suppression systems and an automated shut-off. If a fire were to break out whilst an engineer was working within the nacelle (the outer casing at the top of a turbine) a fire detector would also give an early warning.

Fire suppression systems that are triggered by rises in temperature or by fire detectors are fitted in some turbines. Gas suppression systems work best in airtight environments. However if the ignition source has not been eliminated the fire may reignite once the gas has dispersed. Systems that are able to extinguish flames with water, foam or powder have the disadvantage that they might damage equipment. Automated suppression systems might also have to be disabled while engineer work in the nacelle to prevent suffocation, inhalation or, in the case of powder, obfuscation (a powder discharge in a small room can blind the operator).

Precautions for maintenance workers

For the periods of maintenance work a portable fire extinguisher should be provided. However, in the document Workshop Report: Escape from the nacelle in the event of a fire, produced by the G9 Offshore Wind Health & Safety Association it states that ‘a fire extinguisher should be considered as an aid to escape rather than a primary means of fire control/suppression.’

Safelincs spoke with representatives of one of its customers, energy company Vattenfall, regarding the siting of fire extinguishers. The company has turbines from a number of manufacturers. In some cases the portable extinguishers are situated as a permanent fixture within the nacelle. In other cases the engineer will carry an extinguisher with him as part of his tool kit.

Recommendation from Safelincs

1) For permanently installed portable extinguishers:

The downside of standard fire extinguishers is that they require an annual service carried out by a qualified extinguisher engineer and a refill needs to be undertaken for most extinguishers after five years with the unit replaced after ten years. Since a visit to turbines by an external extinguisher engineer is usually hard to achieve, a service-free fire extinguisher is a better solution.

Safelincs can offer a range of service-free foam extinguishers in 2 ltr and 6 ltr sizes. These fire extinguishers are manufactured in the UK from non-corrosive materials and feature duplicate pressure gauges. They only require an annual visual check by any member of staff, e.g. the turbine maintenance engineer. They also do not require a refill after five years. Instead, after ten years they can be refilled and used for a further ten years.

The resistance to a corrosive maritime environment makes these extinguishers particularly well suited to the wind farm industry.

2) For extinguishers carried by the maintenance engineer:

The extinguisher in this case must be light, broad spectrum, safe for use on electricity, non-damaging to equipment and harmless in the case of inhalation. There must also be no risk of asphyxiation.

Safelincs can offer a range of portable water mist extinguishers, which can be used on grease, oils, electric equipment (up to 1000 Volt), fabric and plastics. The extinguishers create a very fine mist of de-ionised water that cannot conduct electricity. The inhalation of the water mist is not harmful and the mist does not leave a deposit.

For further information, please email support@safelincs.co.uk or ring us on 0800 612 6537

Firework safety

fireworksRoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is campaigning for an increase in awareness of the dangers created by setting off fireworks.

Fireworks look magical but we must remember that they are made from explosives and are therefore dangerous. Even innocent products, such as sparklers, get five times hotter than cooking oil and if you were to put three sparklers together they would generate the same heat as a blowtorch.  A fireworks rocket can reach speeds of up to 150mph; imagine the impact it would have if it were to hit a person at this speed.

The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are to hands, followed by eyes and face. It is important that everyone adheres to the firework code. Educating children and young people in the correct handling of fireworks can prevent injuries from happening, as most injuries happen to under 17 year olds.

To reduce the risk from fireworks, consider the recommendations of the Firework Code:

– Only buy fireworks that comply with BS 7114 British Standard
– Don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
– Keep fireworks in a closed box
– Follow the instructions for each firework
– Stand well back
– Never go near a firework that has been lit – if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
– Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket
– Always supervise children around fireworks
– Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
– Never give sparklers to children under five years old
– Keep pets indoors

Burns can scar for life. Make ensure you have a burns kit at the ready should an injury occur. A water mist extinguisher will quickly quench any fire and can even be used on clothing. The microscopic droplets of water from the extinguisher form a cooling mist over the fire and smother the oxygen, extinguishing the fire.

Be safe, Be prepared

Rhodes restaurant benefits from Safelincs policy

A fire at the recently opened Rhodes @ The Dome restaurant in Plymouth closed the restaurant for the evening. But, to paraphrase an old saying, the smoke cloud had a silver lining.

The fire extinguishers staff used to extinguish the fire were purchased from Safelincs so they were replaced free of charge. Customers who purchase fire safety equipment from Safelincs will have them replaced for free if they were located near, or used on a fire.

rhodes-restaurant

In fact, the restaurant benefited from the very latest in fire safety technology as Safelincs replaced them with water mist extinguishers of the type that are receiving considerable interest from the hotel and catering industry at the moment.

The £1.5million restaurant is the latest project from celebrity chef Gary Rhodes and opened in January this year. The fire started just after 6.30 on a Friday evening in a commercial cooking range.

Restaurant Manager David Pover praised the support provided by Safelincs. “As soon as we contacted them they were on the case and arranged for an engineer to install the new fire extinguishers. And we are very pleased to have been given the very latest appliances.”

Safelincs’ ‘Dry’ Water Mist Fire Extinguisher will put out just about any type of fire, including deep fat fryer fires, without leaving harmful residues. Its supersonic nozzle disperses microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials quickly and easily. Smoke is minimised and the user is protected from the heat by the cloud of mist.

There are no nasty chemicals to clear up and the extinguisher will not ruin any food that is in the vicinity. Dry water mist is also safe to use on electrical fires.

In all, five extinguishers were used and each has been replaced, free of charge, by an engineer from Safelincs.

Guests present on the night of the fire complimented the staff who calmly ushered them outside while they waited for the fire to be dealt with. After the situation was under control they were able to return to the bar where they were offered a glass of Prosecco but the patrons had to wait for another night to sample the food.

Fire Extinguishers in Churches

Fire extinguishers in churches and cathedrals are important to protect the often invaluable historic artefacts and mostly wooden internal structures. However, the extinguishers must be chosen with care. A well publicised case, where the extinguishers became the problem rather than preventing one, was the vandalism caused by two teenagers in a church in Spalding in 2006. In this case a powder and a water extinguisher installed in the kitchenette were set off. The powder and the water reacted to form a slightly acidic mixture which formed a hard crust. Valuable church fixtures, including the organ had to be restored at a cost of £240,000.

Powder extinguishers, while being excellent on forecourts, engine rooms and car parks, where they are valued for their rapid knock-down of flames from a variety of sources, are not really suited for indoor locations. The fine powder can obstruct vision and lead to inhalation of the powder. The powder will also attack electronics, soft furnishings and causes damage to wood and metal, especially when moist.

What alternatives are there?

In principle, water based extinguishers (water, water spray, ‘dry’ water mist) and foams are suitable, although foams contain chemicals that might be harmful to metal and wood. Please note that water extinguishers with additives can also cause damage. CO2 extinguishers, while leaving no deposit, are not really suitable for the type of fire risks in churches and can unfortunately be misused to intimidate people with their roaring discharge and the massive temperature drop the discharge causes.

Where traditional extinguishers requiring annual servicing are required , the E-series ‘dry’ water mist extinguishers from Jewel are perfect, as they create a very fine mist with much smaller water mist particles than those generated by normal water spray extinguishers. These extinguishers are also suitable for all common fire risks found in a church, including electrical risks (even up to 1000V, as long as a safety distance of 1m is adhered to). The mist is so fine that the damage to paintings and structures is limited and no puddles are formed. The extinguisher can also be used on clothing, wall-hangings and carpets.

Where in-house servicing of the extinguishers is required, often to help reduce costs , the Britannia P50 maintenance free foam extinguisher can be installed instead. It is suitable for the majority of the fire risks found in churches, however, its deposits are harder to clean up and potentially corrosive. After the initial install and certification carried out by Safelincs, the extinguisher only requires yearly visual inspection by the Church Warden. No refill after five years is required and the extinguisher does not require a service engineer for ten years!

 

What To Do If Your Clothing Catches Fire

According to statistics published by the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in 2012, around 80 people die each year in in the UK after their clothing catches fire.

If your own clothing catches fire you should take the following course of action:

  • STAY where you are—moving or running feeds air to the flames and worsens the fire.
  • DROP to the floor—if you stand up, the fire can burn your face. Fold your arms high on your chest to protect your face.
  • ROLL slowly on the floor or ground, in a rug or blanket if you can.
  • COOL off as soon as possible with water for first and second degree burns. *

If you are in the position of helping somebody else whose clothing has caught fire you should apply the steps above. In addition there is one type of fire extinguisher that can be recommended for such a situation. See the video.

The Jewel E-Series Water Mist Fire Extinguisher is a new type of extinguisher, which works by dispersing microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials, The speed at which it takes effect, combined with the rapid cooling it induces, make it the perfect extinguisher to have to hand should a fire of this nature break out.

Jewel E-Series Water Mist Fire Extinguishers are the first broad-spectrum fire extinguishers. They can be used on almost every common fire including deep fat fryer fires. They are perfect for kitchens, as they contain no harmful substances and leave no residues. The extinguisher’s supersonic nozzle disperses microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials. The 35kV dielectrical test ensures that the extinguishers can be safely used near electrical equipment.

*In a serious fire room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. This heat can melt clothes to a victim’s skin. Never peel the clothing off – leave the treatment to medical professionals.

Hotel fire easily handled by new type of fire extinguisher

When fire broke out in The Snoozebox Marquee, a trained member of staff was able to quickly and safely put it out using a water mist fire extinguisher.

The fire started when the guest put a croissant inside a toaster. “It was really too big for the toaster and soon caught fire,” explained Tom Dodson, Project Manager, Snoozebox.

“Fortunately we had equipped the  marquee with a water mist fire extinguisher that safely smothered the flames without causing any damage to the room,which may have been the case if we had installed a foam or powder extinguisher. And amazingly, after we had it inspected and PAT tested, the toaster was put back into service!”

Water mist extinguishers have a supersonic nozzle that disperses microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials quickly and easily,” explains Harry Dewick-Eisele, Managing Director, Safelincs, who supplied the product. “They can be used on just about every type of fire and are 100% environmentally friendly, so there are no nasty fumes or residues to contend with and the water mist protects the user from heat.”

Snoozebox offers flexible hotel configurations from 40 to 400 rooms which can be fully operational and ready to welcome guests within 48 hours of arriving at almost any event or location around the world. Self-contained and with no need for mains services or flat terrain to be sited, they can be used at major sporting events, music festivals or by film and TV crews, military personnel and for emergency or disaster relief.

Water Mist Fire Extinguishers are now also Kitemarked

Our broad-spectrum E-series water mist fire extinguishers from Jewel Saffire have always been rigorously tested and certified to the very latest standards. They were certified by LPCB, one of the leading international certification bodies. LPCB certification is part of the BRE (Building Research Establishment). On top of this certification, a second certification body BSI has now certified the water mist extinguishers and added their particular stamp to the product. The BSI’s certification stamp, often called the ‘kitemark’ can now be used in marketing materials and on the product. While this is superfluous to requirements, the ‘kitemark’ is a well recognised and trusted symbol and helps to market products.

Our water mist extinguishers cover a very broad spectrum of fire risks, including traditional burning solids such as wood and paper, as well as burning liquids, gas and cooking fats. They are even safe and efficient on electrical fires (as long as a safety distance of 1m is adhered to). They tackle difficult fires, such as clothing fires and Christmas tree fires, are entirely harmless in their use and are environmentally friendly, as they only contain water. They also create a thermal shield between user and the fire and even clear the acrid smoke of fires. Safelincs recommends these extinguishers in particular for homes, professional kitchens, restaurants, churches, schools, nurseries, although the extinguishers are, of course, also suitable for general use and office areas. Landlords also benefit from these extinguishers, as the tenants will only require one type of extinguisher for all risks and do not have to learn how to use a selection of extinguishers for the different risks. They also have the added benefit of not requiring any cleaning up should the extinguisher be set off accidentally, as the water mist disperses into the air.

The water mist extinguishers are available in three sizes: a 1 litre version mainly for domestic and landlord applications and a 3 and 6 litre range for businesses and organisations.

How to keep candlelight processions safe?

With Christmas fast approaching many churches are planning traditional Christingle celebrations and candlelight processions. Children and adults will decorate oranges with red ribbons and dried fruit ready for the parade and lighting of the central candle.

It is a nostalgic and humbling sight seeing the Christingle procession, reminding us what Christmas is truly about. With this, though, comes the headache of the fire safety assessment. How to prevent injury should clothing accidentally become ignited by the naked flame of the candles. Many rely on fire blankets to wrap around the person and rolling the person on the floor to smother the flames. Clothing is often still made of highly flammable materials that catch fire quickly. Whilst using a fire blanket is of course the most traditional form of dealing with a clothing fire it is  not the most effective way to extinguish a person’s clothing.

A water mist fire extinguisher is by far the best method to extinguish such a fire. It contains only de-ionised water and is therefore safe to use in close proximity to people and animals. The special nozzle disperses the water in a fine spray, preventing the clothing from being wafted away from the person and potentially spreading to others. The mist is also harmless if sprayed onto a person, even if sprayed on their face or burning hair. The mist also forms a safe buffer between the fire and the person using the extinguisher. Our water mist extinguishers are also suitable for every other form of fire, including fat fires and liquid fires.

To see the water mist extinguisher in action please view this video. These extinguishers are available in 1ltr, 3ltr and 6ltr models and are 100% environmentally friendly. Not only are they suitable to be used on a person there is also no mess to clear up afterwards.

If you would like to discuss your fire safety needs with one of our sales team, please contact us on 0800 612 6537 or visit our web site www.safelincs.co.uk

 

Water mist fire extinguishers for kitchens

Safelincs has added Jewel Water Mist Fire Extinguishers to its extensive range of fire safety equipment. These ‘no-mess’ extinguishers are ideal for use in kitchens where they can be used on all types of fire including deep fat fryers.

Product details:

Jewel E-Series Water Mist Fire Extinguishers are the first broad-spectrum fire extinguishers. They can be used on almost every common fire including deep fat fryer fires. They are perfect for kitchens, as they contain no harmful substances and leave no residues. The extinguisher’s supersonic nozzle disperses microscopic ‘dry’ water mist particles to suppress fires and extinguish burning materials. The 35kV dielectrical test ensures that the extinguishers can be safely used near electrical equipment.

Water Mist Fire Extinguisher Statistics show that more fires start in kitchens than anywhere else. Traditionally, wet chemical extinguishers have been recommended for cooking fires that are being fuelled by oil and fat. They are effective but leave a residue that has to be thoroughly cleaned before any more cooking or food preparation can be undertaken. It may even mean temporarily closing down the kitchen.

The Jewel E-Series Water Mist Fire Extinguishers leave no residue so there are no nasty fumes or residues to contend with and the water mist protects the user from heat.

The extinguishers are LPCB approved to EN3, come with a five year warranty and have extraordinary extinguisher ratings. The ease of use, and the range of fires they can tackle, simplify training and remove the risk of the extinguishers being used incorrectly.

See a video of how the Jewel E-Series Water Mist Fire Extinguisher performs in relation to other extinguishers.

Pan fires and fire extinguishers

Deep fat fryer fires and pan fires with burning fat are difficult to extinguish. The jet of an ordinary extinguisher can carry the burning fat out of the pan and spread the fire, making the problem worse. Any traditional water based extinguishers can also be dangerous, as water droplets sink into the fat and then erupt violently, spreading the fire. The five most commonly used methods of extinguishing fat fires are:

1) wet chemical extinguishers

2) fire blankets

3) dry water mist extinguishers

4) ABF fire extinguishers

5) Foam Aerosols

Wet chemical extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are usually supplied with a long lance which helps to safely deploy the foam. The wet chemical forms a thick soapy foam-like blanket over the surface of the burning oil/fat which stops oxygen from reaching the fire and smothers the flames. This process is known as saponification, which is an endothermic process that not only ensures that the additive penetrates the fat/oil and creates a seal, but also cools it to below the ignition temperature, thus preventing the oil/fat from re-igniting

Fire blankets

Fire blankets are spread over the burning pot or pan and exclude oxygen which suffocates the fire. It is crucial to leave the fire blanket on top of the container even when the flames have gone, as the hot fat would re-ignite again should the blanket be removed.

Dry Water mist extinguishers

Portable dry water mist extinguishers create a microscopic mist with low pressure which settles onto the surface of the fire without sinking in. As the water droplets evaporate above the surface, the fire cools and oxygen is excluded. Dry water mist also protects the user from the flames, as the mist forms a heat barrier.

ABF fire extinguishers

These extinguishers resemble a normal fire extinguisher and contain a foam suitable for burning fat.

Aerosols

Whilst formally not classified as extinguishers, these foams are a low cost solution for domestic kitchens with cooking oil.