Office Fire Safety

It is required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order that every commercial organisation nominates a ‘responsible person’ to oversee the fire safety standards of the premises. This includes checking for correct installation and maintenance of fire detection and combating equipment, performing risk assessments, and carrying out regular fire drills to uphold safety standards.

In respect to office environments, the type and severity of fire risks present are constantly changing, making the responsible person’s role that much more important. Fire warden training is the best way to ensure that sufficient education as to the best way to approach the task is made available, but it can still be difficult for a trained warden to remember every aspect of the role.

Fortunately, there are a number of useful resources available online that help when it comes to prompting the memory. One such resource is the unique mini-site created by Elite Fire Protection, How to Defend your Office when the Dragons Attack.

 

Office Fire Safety

With each page showing a different area of a standard office building, the interactive Elite Fire site uses the scenario of a dragon attack to help to point out and emphasise the most important facets of fire safety.

The first page sees a desk area, with a couple of safety elements around. On the wall is a fire alarm, with the text stating that these should be well maintained and tested regularly, often on a weekly basis in an office where central control panels tend to be part of the system.

The fire extinguisher present must be suited to the most likely fuel involved in a fire at the premises – e.g. water extinguishers for Class A fires (combustible solids) and dry powder/CO2 for Class E fires (electrical). Proper upkeep is again vital, with annual checks for corrosion and other faults necessary.

 

Staircase Fire Safety

On the following page, the scene moves into the staircase of the office building. Here, emergency lighting is evident on the walls. In the event of a fire, main power to a building can often go down, and darkness and smoke make visibility difficult. That’s why emergency lighting becomes so important, illuminating the way to emergency exits.

The fire door also present in this scene, along with its accompanying fire exit sign, are other crucial considerations for fire wardens. Correct signage indicates which doors are used as emergency exits – vital for any visitors to the building – and these areas should be kept clear of obstruction at all times. Fire doors should be self-closing, and include an intumescent seal to prevent smoke and flames from spreading between rooms.

Fire Warden

On the final page, the office’s inhabitants can be seen outside the building carrying out a fire drill. Designating a route of escape and an assembly point is a key part of the fire warden’s role. Once assembled, a register should be taken to determine if any persons remain inside the building.

The pile of rubbish in front of the fire exit not only represents an obstruction to those attempting to escape the building, it also provides fuel for a possible blaze to break out in this area – whether through accidental means or via arson. Regular rubbish collection services must be obtained to prevent this danger.

The fire warden seen taking guiding the fire drill has undergone sufficient training for the role by a professional and competent expert in the industry, such as Elite Fire. Training can be carried out for multiple persons (recommended for businesses with high staff numbers), and essential for upholding fire safety levels – not to mention legal obligations.

Author – Elite Fire London

 


Wireless or mains smoke alarms: which to choose?

London Fire ProtectionWhen it comes to choosing a smoke alarm for their home, the majority of people are aware of the importance of their decision. Not only could the alarm potentially save the lives of themselves and their family members by alerting them to a fire or the beginnings of one, but they could also rescue their property and possessions as a result of the early warning.

In addition, it is a legal requirement for rented buildings and commercial properties to be fitted with a smoke alarm.

Therefore, whether the decision is a common sense one or a legally binding one, the focus comes to which sort of smoke alarm to choose.

There are a number of different types of domestic smoke detectors with a variety of capabilities. However, in most cases, the decision comes between battery smoke detectors and mains smoke alarms.

There are a number of reasons for choosing each and in many cases, the decision will come down to a personal preference, especially as all smoke alarms have to be produced in accordance with British safety and quality standards.

Therefore, when choosing the right alarm, it is necessary to look at what makes each individual and why they may be more appropriate for a certain setting:

Wireless smoke alarms

In many cases, wireless smoke detectors are chosen for the fact that they are wireless. This, in the eyes of many makes them fast, simple and effective. Many people see the word wireless and think high-tech. Therefore, they reason if everything else in their lives is wireless, why not their smoke alarm.

However, a further advantage to choosing wireless is the lack of fuss and mess which comes with them. These can be instantly installed with little mess, no drilling and an instant guarantee of safety. There is also the fact that many people would prefer a home or business with as few wires cluttering up their working or living area as possible.

A lack of fuss when installing the Kidde smoke detectors also means that the home or business is allowed to go without disruption, which is often not the case when a device has to be wired or professionally fitted. Finally there is the consideration that for many listed and historical buildings where an alarm is highly necessary, wiring is forbidden. Therefore, a wireless smoke detector is the only available option.

Wired smoke detectors

Despite the many advantages of wireless smoke detectors, they are still seen by some people as being “new fangled” and as a result, many people prefer to have a system hard-wired into their home or business because of real or imagined quality over the wireless alternative. However, whilst much of this thinking is put down to people simply being unable or unwilling to move forward technologically, there is some evidence to support the idea. Not only is it proven that wired smoke alarms are more reliable but with no maximum distance between detector and control panel there is less chance of something going wrong in the event of an emergency.

There is also the convenience of not having to check the batteries on a regular basis which makes a wired in smoke alarm a more attractive idea.

If you are looking for smoke detectors or security products for your home visit Alarm traders Direct.


Fire Risks and Safety Equipment for the Office

iStock_000005700800XSmallFire safety is important on any premises – not to mention one that potentially contains hundreds of employees and visitors. However, there are a number of fire safety risks and elements that relate specifically to offices.

Risks

Officially speaking, offices are considered a “moderate” fire risk; an environment in which blazes either occur through negligence or carelessness, or, in 45% of cases, through arson. The danger obviously varies depending on the number of people in the property at any given time, as well as the nature of the office (i.e. a business containing an excess of flammable materials or stock).

Electrical appliances, both of a technological nature and those in kitchen or break areas, are another potential source of fire in the workplace, with overheating and electrical faults proving hazardous. Any building work taking place might also see flame or spark-creating equipment in use, causing danger around flammable materials, and a build-up of waste and rubbish bags outside the building should be avoided at all costs to perturb arson.

Responsibility

According to the Fire Safety Order 2005, it is the responsibility of the employer in any office environment to ensure that correct fire safety procedures and equipment are in place in the event of a blaze.

The duties required of the responsible person include:

–          Implementation of a safe and clearly accessible evacuation procedure

–          Regular fire risk assessments of the entire building

–          Inform all staff of any risks discovered

–          Provide, maintain and make accessible the appropriate fire safety equipment

There should also be adequate and thorough training of staff carried out by the responsible person to spread awareness of the correct actions and procedures upon encountering a fire or hearing the fire alarm, as well as ways in which to prevent unnecessary blazes.

Fire Safety Equipment

There is a wide range of equipment available to ensure a good standard of fire safety, all of which is available from AAI Security Systems.

–          Fire Alarms. A selection of fire alarm systems can be tailored to the needs of your office, many from leading manufacturers, such as Haes. All of our systems are approved by the National Security Inspectorate (as required by law) for quality and performance guarantee. AAI provide a number of operational features, from wall panels to test key capabilities, allowing us to supply and install the right one for your office premises. We also carry out high quality maintenance to ensure perfect working order at all times.

–          Smoke Detectors. A vital component of every fire detection system, smoke detectors are often the first way in which people are alerted to a fire, often quickly enough to prevent it from spreading. AAI Security Systems’ range of smoke detectors is modern and highly efficient, and the models are able to differentiate between smoke from fire and that from other sources. With a choice of ionization, optical and combined detectors, we ensure that all of our products are certified by the NSI in line with industry regulations.

–          Fire Extinguishers. AAI Security Systems stock a selection of high quality foam, CO2, automatic, water, powder and wet chemical units available to fight all types of fire that may occur in the office environment. Our team are on hand to advise you as to the extinguisher most suited to your needs, as well as to perform all installation, testing and regular maintenance to ensure that your equipment remains in perfect working order.

AAI Security Systems in London have recently obtained accreditation from the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) under the British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE) scheme SP101/ST104, meaning that all the fire safety equipment we provide is certified by the relevant industry organisations.


Tips On Avoiding Fires In The Home

Fires in the home are one of the most dangerous occurrences for households and there are a number of reasons as to why these take place. From not checking your fire safety equipment to being reckless with open flames, some of the simplest precautions are often missed and can be the cause of the most devastating of house fires. To stop this from happening, there are a few key concepts that can be remembered to ensure that you and your families are properly protected.

Follow our advice and stay safe:

London Fire Protection

Smoking

One of the most notorious causes for fires in the home, smoking is one of the most deadly killers and not just for the people that are smoking. It is the main cause for house fires and this is why we recommend that any type of smoking be participated in an outside area, within a safe environment. This will prevent any flame or lit ash catching on to material within a home, decreasing the chances of anything flammable catching fire.

If you still wish to smoke inside then it is imperative that you ensure that the cigarette is properly extinguished and not just thrown in the bin. Run it under cold water and inspect the cigarette before you throw it away, as they can sometimes be still lit even if you think they have been put out.

Fire Alarms

Having a working smoke or fire alarm in the home will decrease your chances of dying in the event of a fire by up to 3 times. It is widely reported that over a third of fires in the home do not have a properly effective smoke or fire alarm. For this reason, we encourage homeowners to spare no expense when it comes to the safety of their family and always check to make sure that they have high quality alarms that have fully working batteries. Check these batteries on a monthly basis, as it doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds to make sure that it is working accordingly.

As one of the most fundamental parts of fire safety in the home, there is a common theme of people not having a smoke alarm in their home. So if you do nothing else after reading this blog post, check your alarms or buy yourself a new one. If you’re not sure what kind of alarm to get then request a fire risk assessment from a fire safety professional.

Candles

An open flame like a scented candle can be relaxing, but they can also be one of the most dangerous elements for a home. The winter period is the time where fires occur most frequently, with the decreased light and cold weather resulting in more people trying to increase the heat and light within their homes. A candle flame will easily catch onto nearby flammable material & this can possibly be the beginning of the most aggressive of fires. This is why our advice is to not leave a candle in a room if there is nobody occupying it. And if somebody leaves the room or the house then extinguish the flame like you would a cigarette, by blowing it out and running it under a cold tap. Even the tiniest of candles can be the cause of huge fires, so when you do have candles lit it is important that you keep them away from window sills or areas that are subject to wind. A small draught could cause the candle to fall onto a flammable fabric or a curtain and just be the start of an aggressive fire.

The Kitchen

Fires whilst cooking are the reason for over half of household fires, with unattended gas hobs and heavily oiled pans being some of the causes for kitchen fires. High temperatures which are not properly monitored can start and dramatically escalate fires, so keep safe within the kitchen and ensure that there is someone always present whilst there is any cooking going on. If you do have to leave the room for whatever reason, take the pan off the heat and place in a safe place. Children should be properly monitored and advised not to play around a gas hob or hot grill and never left alone in the kitchen.

Our goal is to keep you safe, so think smart when it comes to protecting your home and family from the threat of fire.

This post was written on behalf of City Fire Protection, who specialise in fire safety in London and offer fire protection products and services.

City Fire Protection in London