Why are nursing home call bell systems so important?

There is no button in a hospital or care home that is more vital to the service user than their call bell. It is imperative that this button is always in good working order, because patients heavily rely upon it, often in moments of their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. They need to be able to trust that the alarm system works and that when they need something a nurse will respond promptly. This is especially important in emergency situations. If the patient call bell is faulty, then this could cause massive risk to the health, wellbeing and even the lives of the people your facility serves.

Being admitted to a hospital or moving into a nursing home can be a frightening experience. People often find it daunting, because generally, it means that either there is something wrong with your health or you are losing your independence. People love the comfort of their own homes, and nobody wants to give that up unless they absolutely must, not for any length of time. People who have had their independence all of their lives often don’t enjoy being waited on by nurses and many express feelings of being a burden. A good, reliable call bell system coupled with friendly and responsive nurses all help to make people feel at ease during their stay. Without these things, patient transition to a hospital or care home can be made worse.

Lack of a reliable call system can lead to the person attempting to get out of bed themselves and attend to their business without the help of a nurse. This is the leading cause of service users falling in nursing homes and can have a severe impact on the health of the individual.

Patients falls might be more likely in older patients, but anyone who is unwell or injured can have a fall. Some medications or surgical procedures can lead to a person feeling drowsy. A fall can lead to broken bones and a more extended stay in hospital.

It has been reported 40% of falls in hospital happen because patients attempt to go to the toilet unassisted. In some cases, this could be because the patient call bell is not in good working order, and the patient felt they had no choice but to go to the toilet themselves.

Having a regularly maintained nurse call system is vital to ensuring a safe stay in the hospital or care home and can save lives.

When was the last time that you checked your patient call buttons are working?

At Swift Fire and Safety, we install and maintain patient call bell systems in nursing homes and hospitals across the country. Talk to us today if you feel you need an update or for all your call bell system maintenance needs.

What’s the History of Fire Safety Regulation in the UK?

It’s necessary for all businesses to be aware of fire safety legislation, but before getting involved in any detail, it can be useful to have an understanding of the basics. So, we’ve put together this guide for you to help you do just that.

The fire safety statutory provisions that we currently have in place in the UK have evolved from measures that have been introduced slowly over many years. The majority of fire safety legislation was introduced following a major fire or fires with high mortality rates. It is known as stable door legislation, because it was created in response to an event that has passed.
The main fire safety legislative order in the UK is called The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

This order should have come into force on the 1st April 2006, but was delayed until the 1st October 2006. It was created in response to a call to simplify and rationalise the UK fire regulations at the time. The previous UK fire safety legislation was amended and reformed using the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The new order was designed to provide a minimum fire safety standard in non-domestic premises such as places of work.

All premises (or parts of premises) that are used for non-domestic purposes, with a few exceptions, are subjected to the Order. Usually, a person is designated as the Responsible Person for that property. Often it is the employer or the owner that holds this responsibility. The Responsible Person is required to carry out mandatory fire safety duties, which include ensuring the general fire precautions are satisfactory and carrying out a fire risk assessment. The Responsible Persons can have competent persons to assist them with performing their legal duties. If more than five persons are employed at the premises, it must be a written risk assessment.

What was the previous general fire safety legislation?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 replaced previous fire safety legislation and any fire certificate issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1972 ceased having an effect. If a fire certificate was issued for your premises or the premises were built to building regulations under the previous regulations, then most people found they didn’t need to make too many changes to their existing fire protection measures in order to comply with the new order.

However, they still had to carry out a fire risk assessment and keep it up to date to ensure that all their fire precautions were up to date and satisfactory. It required a mind-set shift in order to take into account the wider scope of the new order. Premises were also subject to the provisions of a licence or registration in cases where the fire authority wished to review their risk assessment as part of the licensing approval process.

The new, risk-assessment based regime required those persons responsible for premises used for carrying of a trade, business or other undertakings, for profit or not (including the self-employed and also members of the public) to take action to prevent fires, and protect them against death and injury should a fire occur.
This was a similar duty to the one imposed on employers by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, but under the new order, the duty was extended beyond workplaces to include the majority of premises to which people have access.

To support the Order, The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLC) published a suite of eleven new guidance documents. They gave advice on most types of premises where the duty to undertake a fire safety risk assessment under the new order applied.

To this day, using the guidance contained in the Fire Safety Advice Centre should be sufficient to meet the minimum standards that are required by United Kingdom Legislation.
If you feel overwhelmed by fire safety regulation and are unsure about whether or not you are meeting requirements, or what your responsibilities are, then do give us a call and we’ll walk you through it and let you know what we can offer to support your fire safety needs.

How Have CCTV Systems Evolved?

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television and was first used in World War 2 when some German scientists created a camera inside a box so that they could safely observe A4 rocket launches.
More than 75 years since they were created, CCTV cameras are still mainly used to record footage for the purposes of surveillance and crime detection. The world has changed massively since then with technological leaps like the internet and smartphones, but not that much has changed in terms of CCTV utility and architecture. The vast majority of cameras today are used to record footage that then has to be analysed by humans if an incident occurs. This is a very slow process, it’s also costly and requires human time, attention and huge amounts of data storage.

Recent developments in machine learning and camera quality mean that this is all likely to change soon. Instead of reacting to events retrospectively, we expect hardware and software to soon be capable of automatically detecting and notifying people of incidents and important events happening within the camera’s range.

Let’s have a look at the most significant advancements in the transformation process of CCTV and see what’s in store for the near future.

The first analog systems
The first documented CCTV camera to ever exist was in 1942. It wasn’t able to record and store data, so it required monitoring constantly.

VCR analog cameras
VCR (videocassette recorders) were widely rolled out in the 1970s. Images were stored in 8 hour long tapes and had to be manually replaced.

Hybrid systems: DVR analog cameras
In the mid 90’s the DVR (digital video recording) came about. This system digitized and compressed the video, storing the information in a hard disk.

Network based DVR
Later DVRs were fitted with an Ethernet port for network connectivity. This allowed videos to be monitored remotely using computers.

Video encoders
Video encoders (or video servers) were the next big step in the technology. The most important modernisation is that with this system the video management is operated through the software installed in a computer.

Fully Digital IP Cameras
This system is fully digital and has no analog component. This has significantly simplified the installation and maintenance of the system. It now has computer power built in, allowing for the use of preinstalled applications in the camera. These systems can synchronize with other devices.

The future of CCTV

The CCTV industry has experienced some changes over the years, but drastic improvements are just around the corner. To this day, surveillance cameras require a human security operator to view the footage and determine appropriate actions. This should be rapidly automated, especially in larger areas where the sheer volume of footage means it is impossible to be 100% observed. In terms of security, automation would allow us to act on incidents happening in real time as opposed to using the footage for investigative functions. It would save massively on costs, but also significantly increase the chances of us preventing incidents from taking place. In some cases, this would save lives. Real time analytics could also be utilised in a variety of other sectors like healthcare, education and retail.

Do I need an Intruder Alarm System for my Business?

All companies have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their staff and premises – and that’s why business alarm systems are not only important, but essential. They can also save you an awful lot of money in the event of an intrusion!

The type and use of an alarm varies, but what remains the same across the range of commercial security systems is that the function of an alarm is to deter potential intruders and alert staff to possible dangers.

A commercial alarm system has a series of sensors connected to a main control unit. When activated the control unit sends alerts, which can be received as messages, be sound-only or can be monitored by an external centre.

If the worst should happen and your company experiences a break-in, an alarm is often the quickest way to find out.

So how do you choose which type of system is best for your commercial property?

First You Need to Know the Jargon

Here’s a quick guide to some of the abbreviations that are used frequently around commercial intruder alarms:

  • Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) – For monitored business alarm systems; the security company’s centre which monitors the alarm and investigates if they are activated.
  • National Security Inspectorate (NSI) – The leading organisation in the UK for security and fire protection company certification. They offer two tiers of awards to organisations – Silver and Gold.
  • Police Unique Reference Number (URN) – A specific number attached to a property, so that it can be identified by the police. It will be used when an alarm has been triggered and the ARC has informed the police that they need to respond. This is only available to alarms that have been installed by UKAS accredited organisations.
  • Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) – A certifying body for organisations offering security protection, including alarms.
  • United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) – The only national body in the UK to assess organisations that offer certification and installation. They are recognised by the government and test to globally recognised levels. The NSI and SSAIB have UKAS accreditation.

What are the different types of commercial intruder alarms?

There are two main types of alarms: wired and wireless.

  • Wired

Wired alarms use cables to connect. They are the older of the technologies and used to be seen as the more reliable choice, although these both wired and wireless systems are considered reliable. This type of system requires less frequent battery changes, but because it’s a wired system, the structure is likely to be visible. A wired system is fixed to the property, so if you plan to keep your business in the same location for a long time, or you own the property, then a wired system could be ideal. You might also benefit from a wired system if your business is situated in an area that would experience too much interference for a wireless system to work properly.

  • Wireless

A wireless alarm system uses radio frequency or WiFi to connect the sensors. This offers greater flexibility, and a quicker and easier installation process. Wireless systems require more frequent battery changes in the devices than their wired counterparts, but offer a more sleak look.

Wireless alarms are well suited to growing businesses, as well as businesses that are planning a move. If you would prefer a less visible system, then wireless is the way forward for you.

How will my alarm system signal?

There are two main ways in which an alarm can be raised once the system has been triggered.

  • Bell-only

This type of alarm uses sounders only to raise the alarm, although it may be accompanied by flashing lights as well. The system needs to be deactivated manually, and relies on the would-be intruders to be deterred by the sounds or for people that are passing to take action.

Bell-only alarms could be suitable if you are often nearby your business premises to hear the alarm. For example, if you have a workshop that runs near or in your home. It could also be suitable if your business is on a busy street with high and regular footfall.

  • Monitored

With this option, in addition to the bell-only alarm features, the alarm is monitored externally by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This centre monitors activity, and can also be connected to police response.

A monitored alarm system is better for unoccupied and high risk premises. Knowing your business is being monitored externally gives you extra peace of mind.

What are the benefits of commercial alarm systems?

  • 24/7 security
  • Sensors detect movement
  • Act as a deterrent
  • Alerts others through sound and lights
  • Monitored systems connect to ARCs for investigation or referral
  • Follow staff work times
  • Connect to alarm activity remotely via an app, if possible

Give us a call at Swift Fire and Safety today to discuss these benefits further and find the right alarm system for you.

How to Test the Fire Alarms in your Workplace

A lot of businesses are not testing their fire alarms as frequently or thoroughly as they should be. This is usually not a deliberate attempt to be negligent or cut corners, but because most people mistakenly believe that fires in the workplace are quite a rare occurrence.

When in fact the Fire and Rescue services in England attended 15,815 ‘primary fires’ in non-dwelling buildings in 2016/17 – that’s more than 300 work place fires a week! These incidents resulted in 17 fatalities and 892 non-fatal casualties.

To prevent your business premises from becoming part of these terribly sad statistics, it’s crucial that you maintain your fire alarms properly and test them regularly. Let us take you through what the fire testing regulations are and how frequently you should be carrying out tests.

Is a Fire Alarm a Legal Requirement for a UK Business?

There are different legal requirements for every country within the UK. Each country’s regulations offer a different level of protection, but the short answer is . . . yes. A fire alarm IS a legal requirement in every UK country.

For England and Wales, check the regulations under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

For Scotland, check the regulations under Part 3 of The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

For Northern Ireland, check the regulations under The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

If you are in control of a building, even as a business tenant, you are classified as a responsible person and you must ensure that you are adhering to the regulation in fire safety for your country. This will always mean that you must make sure there is a suitable system for detecting fires and warning the people in the building of them. You must also make sure that this system is tested regularly and in the correct way. Each fire alarm system will have a different testing procedure, so you will need to refer to the guidelines sent to you by the manufacturer of speak with the company that installed it for you. Once you get into regular testing, the procedure will become second nature to you.

How often should I test my fire alarm?

In England, it is a legal requirement that your fire detection system is fully inspected and serviced every 6 months. Fire alarm tests to ensure the system is working should be carried out weekly.

How to test a Fire Alarm

As previously mentioned, fire alarm systems will differ depending on the make, model and the type of building they protect. But in general, the procedure is usually carried out as follows:

  • Inform all people in the building that a fire alarm test will be carried out imminently
  • Check that the alarm control panel has a valid connection to the ARC (alarm receiving centre) and put it into ‘test’ mode
  • Make sure you have the manual call point key with you, as you’ll need it to reset the system following the test
  • Activate a manual call point, wait for the alarm sounders and use the key to reset it.
  • Go back to the alarm control panel, check that the manual call point location is correct and then silence the alarm sounders
  • Record the results of your fire alarm test in your fire logbook
  • Contact the ARC and confirm that they received your fire signal
  • Reset the alarm control panel and take it out of test mode

Swift Fire & Safety is one of the UK’s most responsive fire protection and security companies. We will ensure that your premises have a fully-functional alarm system that meets your specific needs and legal obligations.

Contact us today and let us help you keep your business and employees safe.

How Often Should You Have Your Commercial Fire Alarm System Serviced?

All business owners are required to protect their commercial properties and their staff when it comes to fire safety. But getting it right can be a really confusing process. There are so many protocols and procedures to follow – especially around the installation and continued maintenance of your fire alarm system.

The code of practice that must be adhered to when installing your fire alarm system is the British Standard BS 5839. Under the Fire Safety Order, you are obligated to carry out regular services as a business or organisations.

Fire alarm system are not all created equal and there are a number of different set ups depending on what your requirements are – including the location, size and type of the premises and what they are used for. For smaller buildings with a small number of people working inside, conventional alarms may be satisfactory. But for more extensive set ups, you might need an addressable system, so that you can quickly identify the location of a fire. Fire alarm system are categorised and can fall into different grades.

Choosing and installing the appropriate set up for your needs is vital. So, you must seek advice from and have the installation completed by a professional. If your unsure as to whether you have to correct system installed, you can have the same professional carry out a fire risk assessment. They will they be able to advise you if any changes need to be made.

The fire safety regulation only state that you should make every effort to adequately maintain your fire alarm system. A lot of companies believe that annual inspections are sufficient. However, BS 5839 actually suggests that these inspections should be carried out every six months. For larger properties with more complex systems, the recommendation is for quarterly inspections to take place.

Why does my fire alarm system need to be serviced?

The most important reason to make sure that you are up to date with your fire alarm maintenance is to ensure that they are in optimal working order, in case you should experience a fire at your commercial property. If a fire can be detected efficiently, it can be tackled more easily (if trained to do so) and your building can be evacuated – keeping your staff safe. Fire spreads fast, so if it’s missed on breaking out – the consequences can be truly devastating.

The other reason to have your services completed regularly is to ensure that you do not suffer from malfunctions such as false alarms. These can come at financial cost the business if the fire service is called to a false alarm. And they also desensitize employees to the alarm, which would be dangerous if they fail to respond to a genuine alarm.

In addition to the annual, biannual or quarterly professional inspections of your fire alarm system, you should also carry out regular on-site weekly tests.

How do I test my commercial fire alarm?

In addition to your professional service, you should carry out a weekly test. This is usually as simple as testing a different call point each week and will help identify if there are any problems. A member of staff should be designated as responsible for fire safety and ensure that these tests are carried out.

BS 5839 recommends that this is performed weekly and documented in an allocated fire log book. If you identify a fault during your weekly tests, you need to call the company that services your system immediately.

To talk through your fire system installation and maintenance requirements, get in touch with us at Swift Fire & Safety on 01733 602955

How to avoid an electrical fire in the home this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the last thing anybody wants ruining their festive period is a house fire. A serious fire in the home is devastating at any time of year, but Christmas is magical for many and the memory of a traumatic event at this time can really leave its mark for all Christmas’s to come. Not only that, but often our house is filled with expensive gifts at this time, that once gone is really difficult to replace. So, it’s truly important that we are extra cautious with our fire safety precautions at this time of year, especially because Christmas usually brings with it additional fire hazards that aren’t present all year round.  Fairy lights and overloaded plug sockets are the worst offenders at Christmas, so we need to take extra care particularly in these areas. And we must make sure that all of the smoke alarms in our homes are in good working order.

In the UK, electrical fires account for 50% of all accidental house fires. The vast majority of these are caused by appliances either being faulty or misused. Thankfully, there are lots of precautions we can take in order to minimise the risk of an electrical fire this festive season. Let’s look at what we can do to give ourselves the best chance at a jolly holly Christmas . . .

Check Christmas lights for damage

We ought to check the cables of our white goods and other electrical appliances regularly for signs of wear and tear. After you have unplugged the product, just inspect the electrical cable and wiring to see if you can see any obvious signs of erosion, or a tear in the cabling.

Christmas lights are no different. But often a safety inspection is the last thing on our minds when we’re excited to get our decorations up. Depending on how many decorations you have, it can take some time, but it’s a really important step in ensuring our decs don’t lead us to disaster. Christmas lights need to be properly maintained. Ideally, you’d have all electrical equipment, including Christmas lights, PAT tested annually. But as an absolute minimum we need to be checking the cable for signs of frayed wiring. And we ought to also check all the bulbs for cracks and if any need to be replaced, we have to make sure they are replaced with the correct type of bulb. If you see any signs of wear and tear on your Christmas lights this year, replace them – it’s simply not worth the risk. Electrical cables can be disposed of at most UK recycling centres.

If you see any sign of damage on a larger appliance, don’t use it until it can be repaired by a registered appliance repair specialist.

Don’t overload plug sockets

An overloaded plug socket, with extension leads or multi plugs, is one of the most common causes of an electrical fire. We’re more likely to use them at Christmas, because it allows us to use several devices at a time and we’ve just got more to plug in! The wall socket can easily become overloaded, which can spark an electrical fire.

To avoid this, we should only use wall plugs and extension cords when it’s absolutely necessary. Plugging multiple extension cords into one another should be avoided at all costs as this greatly increases the risk of an electrical fire.

Try your best to have a ‘one device per socket’ rule. And if you’re unsure, an electrical safety first socket overload calculator can be used online to work out which electrical products are able to be safely plugged in together.

 

Don’t skimp on charging cables

One in five UK shoppers give electrical gifts at Christmas, so if you are lucky enough to find one waiting for you under the tree – make sure you always use the charging cable that is provided by the manufacturer. If this charging cable becomes lost or damaged, make sure you buy the recommended replacement from the manufacturer and not a cheap copy.

A cheap charging cable for your device that has not been produced by either the manufacturer or by a recommended supplier can seem like a bargain. But just a few extra pounds spent on a charging cable produced or approved by the manufacturer of any device that contains a rechargeable lithium battery is the smartest choice.

Imitation chargers often put more than the recommended charge into a device, which has the potential to affect the battery and also to cause a fire.

Switch off decorations at night

Most of us love fairy lights and other light up decorations at Christmas, for making the atmosphere really festive and magical. But when we’re in our beds asleep, they’re not necessary and, like all electrical appliances, they should be switched off at night. It’s sometimes easy to fall asleep with them on, but it’s so important that we do everything we can not forget to switch them off.

And it’s not just Christmas lights. Leaving your laptop charging or running the washing machine at night also has fire creating potential. We ought to unplug all electrical appliances before we sleep, because if there’s a problem in the night we’ll be less able to respond promptly in our sleep.

We hope that our top tips for avoiding an electrical fire this Christmas help you to keep safe this year. We wish you a wonderful festive season. Please do reach out if you have any concerns about your fire and safety needs.

From all of us at Swift Fire and Safety.

How to Observe Fire Safety Whilst Being Socially Distant

With so many businesses having returned to work since the lockdown restrictions eased, safety is at the forefront of all employers’ minds.  Because social distancing measures need to be adhered to, other health and safety measures need to be adapted in order to ensure that every person stays safe in the event of an emergency. Fire safety protocols must still be observed, and with some careful planning, need not be compromised.

Here are some guidelines on how to conduct and adapt Fire Safety procedures with social distancing in mind.

Now we’re back to work…

Business Managers and Owners will have assessed the safe return of employees and may just be operating with a skeleton staff or staggered work pattern.  Many have had to reduce the number of staff on the premises at any one time so that social distancing can be enforced.

Just because employee numbers may be down, the fire risks are still the same.  Therefore, if you are an employer, owner, landlord, occupier, or anyone else with control of the premises, this makes you the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one of you, you must work together to meet your responsibilities.

If your staff have been away for a while, they may wish to take a short refresher course in fire safety, whilst new staff members will need to undergo a fire safety induction.  It is important to keep all staff informed of any change in your fire safety arrangements, whether they are working on site or at home.

Fire drills in a socially distant workplace

Fire drills remain vitally important in the workplace.  If there have been changes made (either with new or different staff members, or with the fabric of the surroundings) in your workplace, then it is good practice to review your arrangements.  Are all fire exits still accessible? Are fire extinguishers still in date? Has there been a change in use in any of the rooms on the premises?

Your fire safety point might be in a small location, so new arrangements may need to be made to find a safe space with a larger capacity to ensure social distancing rules can be met.

So called ‘desktop drills’ are becoming more common, where an overview of evacuation procedures are provided to designated fire officers or the ‘responsible person’.  This, however may not account for the questions raised above, and cannot in all fairness be a good substitute for a physical fire drill.

Carrying out the drill

Before embarking on your drill, you should thoroughly review your current arrangements, based on the provision that your assembly point can accommodate the amount of people you have, at a social distance.  If it cannot, then it might be more sensible to create different, smaller zones, where lower numbers of people can congregate more safely.

Assign every employee to one of these new zones (taking into account those who might have mobility issues or disabilities), with a register for each.

Ensure that employees are instructed to leave the building in a calm but rapid fashion, observing social distancing rules as they go.

Do make sure that re-entry to the building is carried out in a sensible and safe way with each zone entering in turn to avoid ‘bottlenecking’ and crowding at the doors.

In the meantime…

Emergency services should only ever be called in the event of a real fire.  False alarms put undue pressure on the service as well as putting the health and safety of its operatives at risk unnecessarily.

Small fires can usually be tackled by a responsible person with an understanding of the fire extinguishers within your building.  Training in how to use fire extinguishers is a service that we provide here at Swift Fire & Safety, as well as offering fire risk assessments and other advice about general fire safety.

All You Need to Know About Fire Safety Equipment

There are regulations surrounding the use and maintenance of Fire Safety equipment for non-domestic premises in England and Wales.  These are detailed in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which offers guidance for fire and rescue authorities and other bodies, about their duty to enforce fire safety in non-domestic premises.

 

Fire Safety Equipment

There is a hope that fire safety equipment never has to be used, but it is vitally important that it will function properly if the worst were to happen.

The term Fire Safety Equipment covers many aspects that contribute to fire prevention.  The tools, devices and elements of equipment include

Not every item listed above is compulsory, but the size and type of your building will determine exactly which of these is needed.

 

Fire Safety Equipment Maintenance

All Fire Safety Equipment on your premises should be maintained and serviced regularly.  It is imperitive to have these checks carried out to not only meet legislation, but to protect every person in your premises.

Failing to keep up with maintenance and servicing of your equipment could be costly in the long run. If equipment fails through neglect, the repurcussions could be huge.

Electing a responsible person to take on the responsibility of Fire Safety is recommended; this person would oversee the organisation of all necessary maintenance and tests to ensure all equipment meets the required standards. This information should then be entered into a Fire Safety Logbook.

 

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

In the case of fire extinguishers, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires them to be present in all commercial premises, and to be serviced annually. We offer this service here at Swift Fire & Safety.

In order to ensure that extinguishers are in good working order, they should be checked by a competent person, ideally a certified expert.  Serveral checks need to be made including making sure that:

  • The extinguisher is in date
  • The extinguisher hasn’t been interfered or tampered with
  • The weight and pressure are correct
  • The instructions are clearly visible
  • The pin and hose are in tact
  • The extinguisher is in visibly good condition

Your certified expert will inform you of any action if it is needed and will advise you if and when old extinguishers need to be replaced.  The visit should be recorded in the Fire Safety Logbook.  You will be issued with a service label to prove the service has been carried out, which is important for Fire Safety Inspections.

Knowing how to use extinguishers effectively and safely can save lives and reduce damage should a fire start. Be sure you are compliant with Health and Safety Regulations and fully prepared for the unthinkable.

 

Fire Safety Policy

According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005, every business must have a Fire Safety Policy. It should explain the general safety policy in place, the duties of the elected responsible person, any training information, equipment and testing and any events relating to fire safety.

This demonstrates commitment to Fire Safety and prevention.

 

Swift Fire & Safety offers a variety of fire prevention and protection services throughout Peterborough and Cambridge to keep your business up to standard. If you’d like more information you can call us on 01733 602955, email info@fireandsafety.com or click here.

 

How can we Protect Ourselves from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Any appliance that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide, which means that carbon monoxide is produced in nearly every household across the country.  Unfortunately, it’s tasteless, colourless, odourless, and impossible for us as humans to detect.  Therefore, we rely on detectors to alert us if there are dangerous levels of carbon monoxide inside our homes or workplaces. If undetected, carbon monoxide fumes could poison us without us even realising. Long term, or concentrated exposure can be fatal.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when combustion fumes are inhaled.  The body replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide which prevents oxygen from reaching the tissues and organs.  When appliances (such as gas boilers for example) are improperly ventilated, particularly and especially in enclosed spaces, carbon monoxide can accumulate to dangerous levels.  This can result in headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, confusion, blurred vision, loss of consciousness and even death.

Who is most at risk from Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

Exposure to carbon monoxide at any level can be particularly dangerous for the following demographic:

  • People with health conditions such as heart disease and breathing problems. They are far more susceptible to the effects of exposure and are likely to suffer with illnesses linked to carbon monoxide poisoning as opposed to a healthy person.
  • Unborn babies are at risk as foetal blood cells absorb carbon monoxide more easily than adult blood cells do. Young children take breaths more rapidly than adults, so are more at risk from poisoning.
  • Older adults who are exposed to carbon monoxide are more likely to develop brain damage than younger adults.

Precautions for Prevention

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your building whether it’s home or work.
  • Use gas appliance as manufacturers recommend; a gas stove or oven is not a means to heat your home! Camping equipment such as camp stoves are meant for the outdoors only, as are generators.
  • Ventilate your fuel burning appliances, such as space heaters, barbecues, water heaters, boilers, engines, generators. If you have a working fireplace, have the chimney or flue cleaned regularly (at least once a year).

How do carbon monoxide detectors work?

There are several types of detector, using either electrochemical sensors, biomimetic sensors, or metal oxide semiconductors. The presence of carbon monoxide in the air triggers an alarm on the device alerting people before levels reach a dangerous stage.

Where is the best location to install a detector?

Carbon monoxide detectors rely on correct placement to be effective. Installed in the wrong place, they could be rendered useless.

Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, so distributes evenly through the atmosphere. For best results they should be positioned at least 5 feet above the floor, or 2 or 3 feet below the ceiling level.  To avoid false readings they should also be placed well away from windows and vents and fixed position fan and fan heaters, as these can all interfere with the accuracy of carbon monoxide level if it is present.  Can everyone in your house or building hear the alarm? Placing detectors near to bedrooms or sleeping quarters is imperative so that any sleeping people will be woken by the alarm should it be activated.  If you occupy more than one floor, then detectors will need to be installed on each floor.

If you have garages attached to your property then additional detectors need to be placed nearby.  Never leave your car running inside the garage, especially when the door is closed. Always open the door before starting the engine.

 

Here at Swift, we can offer advice on all your fire safety queries. You can find more information here, or call us on 01733 602955.