Fire Risks In Pubs: Exploding Tea Towels?

Men-Behaving-Badly-star-Neil-Morrissey

It’s 2017 and Happy New Year to you all. With many businesses looking ahead to the new year, the importance of fire prevention becomes ever more important. Fire safety is not an exact science or precise set of rules. Fires occur in the most unusual of circumstances that often only a specialist could anticipate. This blog concentrates on the fire risks in pubs.

DB Fire Safety has recently been highlighting the dangers of tea towels after a spate of pub fires. This bizarre phenomenon was highlighted after a recent fire at pub in Nottinghamshire.  The resulting damage was so extensive that the business was forced to close for 12 months. It was later reported that the cause of the fire was tea towels, soaked in stain remover before washing. What had happened here was that the staff had not realised that the fat combined with the detergent would cause the towels to self-combust.

Still not convinced? Last May, a pub in Rutland suffered damage after the tenant left a number of warm tea towels at the bottom of the dryer drum. An hour later and the first floor of the building was ablaze.

Thanks to – Men Behaving Badly star – Neil Morrissey, people are starting to learn a little more about these dangers. His pub fire, at the Plume of Feathers, lead to the actor issuing a warning about the dangers of exploding tea towels.

A similar event could occur if placing cleaning cloths in tumble dryers. Even if ‘washed thoroughly’ in a washing machine, they are still likely to contain flammable residue from polishes and other cleaning materials.

But unfortunately, all too many pubs still run the risk of fire by not ensuring their staff are fully trained in fire safety or risk prevention. Although this blog has concentrated on tea towels, there are many other fire risks in pubs. DB Fire Safety provide training to staff in general fire safety awareness.

Training courses are usually held on client’s own premises, although, from time-to-time, open courses are held at our training centres in Grantham and Peterborough. We also offer E-Learning courses that might prove a better option.

For more information, please contact David at DB Fire Safety Limited.

TEL: 0800 772 0559
EMAIL: enquiries@dbfiresafety.co.uk

 

Fire Safety at Christmas

As we approach Christmas, it is important to bear in mind that the number of fires in the home increase. There are a number of reasons why this happens. Therefore it is important to take even greater care of your fire safety at Christmas than would normally be the case. This blog highlights the hazards around Christmas trees and decorations as well as the importance of your smoke detectors.

CHRISTMAS TREES & DECORATIONS

Christmas tree lights, however small, emit a level of heat and have been known to cause both natural and artificial Christmas trees to catch fire. So; remember to turn the lights off before retiring to bed at night.  If you are going out to a party or event, it is probably a good idea to turn them off before going out.

Don’t hang paper decorations too close to lights or any other potential sources of heat. These could easily catch fire; and it doesn’t take long for a small fire in a living room to develop into a major incident.

SMOKE DETECTORS

Another piece of advice is to check your smoke detectors. These will give you early warning of any fire; so this is a good time of the year to ensure they are operating and, if necessary, install fresh batteries. Best practice is to have a heat detector in the kitchen; a smoke detector in the living room (or the room in which the Christmas tree is located); with an additional smoke detector at the top of the stairs.

WATCH THE VIDEO

The video attached lasts about ten minutes; however, it is well worth watching. Simply click on the link and feel free to copy or send it to your friends or anyone else you think might benefit from watching the video.

Have a very enjoyable and safe Christmas.

Best Wishes,

David Black – Director, DB Fire Safety Limited

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“Remember, Remember the 5th of November” – Bonfire Night Safety Advice

Bonfire Night, will soon be upon us and celebrated in the customary style of  firework displays and lighting bonfires together with the burning of Guy Fawkes ‘effigies. An age-old tradition is for children to display their guys made from old clothes and sacking and to ask “A penny for the guy”.

Guy Fawkes’ planned to kill King James I and to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. On the 5th November 1605, he was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament along with several dozen barrels of gunpowder.  He and his co-conspirators were tried as traitors for plotting against the Government. Guy Fawkes was tried by Judge Popham and was sentenced to death by being hung, drawn and quartered.  This form of execution is unimaginable in this day and age but reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

Interesting fact to note is that until 1959, it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK!!

guy-fawkes-1

If you are planning Bonfire Night celebrations with the lighting of a bonfire and setting off fireworks, David of DB Fire Safety would like to offer some advice to help keep you and your family safe.

Care must be taken when letting off fireworks.  It’s probably best to assign just a couple of people who will take on this responsibility.  It goes without saying that it’s not a good idea to smoke near where the fireworks are being stored or handled.  All fireworks should be contained in a secure box (well away from the bonfire) until they are ready to be used. Another good idea is to have a bucket of water or sand, or even a Fire Blanket, close at hand.

Prior to the event, it’s advisable to read the instructions written on each of the fireworks and re-read them once again just before setting them off – probably a good idea is to have a torch handy.  Make sure that the wind and the angle of the fireworks is away from spectators.

If your celebration is an organised event, then a device called a Portfire is advised to be used to light each display. These are ideal for lighting fireworks quickly and safely, they burn with a small flame and light a firework fuse without fuss whatever the weather. Never use matches or lighters for lighting fireworks at a display. If the weather turns windy, it’s advised that the event is cancelled.

Whether a family event or an organised event, if a firework fails to go off do not be tempted to go back because it could be still live and explode in your face. Leave at least half an hour before you return to the firework.  At no time should you consider lighting the bonfire with flammable liquids such as paraffin or petrol.

bonfire-night

Before lighting the bonfire, check to make sure that there are no animals such as hedgehogs inside; and don’t burn dangerous items such as aerosols, paint tins or foam-filled furniture.

At the end of the event, ensure the bonfire is extinguished before leaving the venue – or retiring to bed.

FINALLY….please don’t forget your pets – make sure that they are tucked up safe and sound indoors throughout the entirety of the event.

DB Fire Safety would like to take this opportunity of wishing you and your family a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.

DB Fire Safety Contact

Stay Safe This Halloween

It’s that time of the year again, when on 31st October we will be celebrating Halloween.  This is the night when ghosts, witches and fairies are out there making their presence felt and spooking us.  Halloween is a time of celebration and also superstition and it’s thought to have originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain.   During the festival of Samhain, people would light bonfires and wear animal costumes to ward off ghosts and ghouls. Banquet tables would be laden with food to placate the spirit world.

halloween-witch

Sadly, Halloween is also the time of year when many adults and children are injured.

DB Fire Safety would like to offer you some advice to help you reduce any fire risk this Halloween.

  1. First of all be very careful when choosing your Halloween costume, more especially the material and design.  Check the label carefully and only choose a fire resistant material.
  2. Avoid witches’ costumes which have a train.  Not only can a train cause you to trip, it can also come into contact with a candle or open fire and catch light.
  3. A DIY costume made from black bin liners will capture the mood of Halloween but, they are not fire resistant and could easily go up in flames.
  4. When out trick or treating, it’s much better to take a torch rather than a lighted candle.  Glowsticks are another safe option.
  5. Now what do we do about lighting the star of the show – The Pumpkin.  DB Fire Safety would advise not to use a candle but instead spooky effects can easily be created by using a torch or even a battery candle.
  6. Are you thinking of throwing a Halloween Party.  Stay safe from fires by
    1. Keeping paper decorations well away from lit candles
    2. Don’t overload your sockets
    3. Take care not to block any exits just in case there is a fire and have an evacuation plan.
    4. If clothes do catch fire, then the tried and tested method of “Stop, Drop & Roll” continues to be effective.

Best to safe then sorry.   Do have a happy, but safe, Halloween

happy-halloween

 

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It’s time for a clean sweep now Autumn is upon us

David Black, of DB Fire Safety Limited, is urging people with open fires to arrange for a clean sweep now that Autumn is upon us.

Chimney fires accounted for more than 5,000 chimney fires across England during 2014/15,  Wood burners or an open fire are a very nice way to keep warm in the winter months but without proper maintenance they can become a fire hazard.

These fires could have been prevented and this is the reason why DB Fire Safety is anxious to urge people to get their chimneys swept by a registered sweep to prevent chimney damage or fire.

Chimney Sweep

All chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked to ensure that they are free from debris and are in good working order before the winter months set in.  A blocked or defective chimney can cause chimney fires and, in some cases, carbon monoxide poisoning.   DB Fire Safety Limited strongly advise that it is essential to employ a professional and a qualified chimney sweep to carry out this work.

The general recommendation is that chimneys should be swept as follows:

  • Wood – up to four times a year
  • Oil – once a year
  • Gas – once a year
  • Coal – at least once a year

If you want to be safe from fire, then it’s time for a clean sweep.

DB Fire Safety Contact

 

 

Tumble Drier Risk To Business Owners

Government statistics have revealed that there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires in England and Wales between 2012 and 2014.  This equate to three a day. The LGA has warned that people are “playing Russian roulette” by using faulty appliances prone to exploding into flames – http://www.local.gov.uk

Fire Engine 2

DB Fire Safety advises businesses such as residential care homes, hairdressers, cafes, bars and restaurants that when using tumble driers on their premises to follow safety advice.   If not, then they could be at serious risk from fires.

Peterborough based DB Fire Safety advice is:

  • Filters should be cleaned after each load to remove fluff, lint and any debris.
  • No tumble dryer appliance should ever be left running unattended or overnight.
  • Ensure that there is adequate dryer ventilation as directed by the operating manual

The BBC continues to report that there continues to be an on-going tumble dryer fire risk problem with the international company – Whirlpool.  Whirlpool owns Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda. In November last year, Whirlpool notified customers of a tumble dryer safety deficit.

Approximately 5 million Whirlpool tumble dryers have been sold in the UK. In some cases, the fire is caused by a build-up of excess fluff which comes into contact with the dryer’s heating element and then catches fire.

Owners of Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda machines which were bought between April 2004 and September 2015 have been advised to check their machines.  A website dedicated to safety has been set up for customers – http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

The company is activating what they have termed “an extensive consumer outreach and service action plan in order to provide our consumers with products that are updated to higher safety and quality standards”.  A visit will be arranged for an engineer, free of charge, to modify your appliance.  The service call will take approximately one hour.

DB Fire Safety’s provides businesses and organisations with comprehensive fire safety support; specialising in the provision of fire risk assessments and training staff in fire safety awareness.

Arrange A Free Consultation

 

Fire Risk Warning of Charging Mobile Phones in Bed

Children in Lincolnshire could be putting their lives, and the lives of their families, at risk by charging their mobile phones in bed.  Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue are recommending that parents are to check where their children are charging their mobiles phones at night.

Mobile Phone Charger

Research has revealed that 53 per cent of children are charging their phone or tablet either on their bed or even under their pillow. This is an extremely dangerous practice.  The heat generated cannot dissipate and the charger will become hotter and hotter. The likely result is that pillows will catch fire – thus placing the child (as well as everyone else in the property) in great danger.

In the event that a fire should start, the chances are that the smoke generated will render your child unconscious before he or she wakes up. If there is no smoke detector in the bedroom, others in the property are unlikely to be aware of the danger.

Best practice is that phone chargers should not be left switched on overnight. However, if it is necessary to charge your mobile phone up overnight (and many of us do), ensure the charger and phone are not placed under pillows, on beds, or on papers or magazines. In other words, not on, or near to, anything that could easily catch fire.

The advice given above also applies to chargers for electronic cigarettes. REMEMBER – mobile phone batteries and battery chargers and chargers for electronic cigarettes do get hot.

If your older children own their own mobile phone or laptop, DB Fire Safety advice is to make sure that chargers are turned off and unplugged when not in use.

Another recommendation to parents is to keep chargers downstairs and not in their children’s bedrooms.

DB Fire Safety Contact

For more information in respect of mobile phone and electronic cigarette chargers or fire risk assessments, please give David Black a call on 0800 772 0559.

Peterborough based DB Fire Safety provides businesses and organisations with comprehensive fire safety support and specialises in carrying out fire risk assessments on behalf of landlords of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupancy).

Barbeque Fire Safety Advice

It’s hot and sunny and it’s barbeque time. Summer 2016 has finally arrived. Forecasters are reporting that we could well be enjoying two weeks’ of sunshine.  With temperatures rising to 30 degrees, Britain is on its way to exceeding the temperature in Nairobi.

Not to put dampener on this, DB Fire Safety would like to share some advice in respect of staying safe – barbeque Barbequewise.

Barbeque fires are usually caused when hot ash and coal are not discarded correctly.   As we have previously warned in this blog, fire can spread very quickly. Imagine the scenario of hot, discarded charcoal in a typical waste bin.  The bin will easily catch fire and the fire could quickly spread to a nearby fence and shrubs. Your neighbour’s property could now be involved.

The fire service has given the following advice to keep barbeques safe:

  • Disposable barbeques.  Yes, they are disposable but only when the coals are completely cold.  Only then can they can be thrown away safely.
  • Before lighting your barbeque, find a clear, level area on which to set up, making absolutely sure that it will not tip over.
  • How many times have we seen this stupidity – lighting a barbeque with petrol or paraffin.  Only use approved Waiting For A Burgerbarbeque fuel or firelighters.
  • Keep barbeques well away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs
  • Keep control of your pets – the burgers will smell very tasty but the barbeque could be tipped over by hungry pets taking an interest in the mouth-watering treats.
  • Your barbeque should never be left unattended.
  • Last, but by no means, least, when the food has been cooked and enjoyed and the festivity is over, remember to empty any spent ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin.

Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety would like you to enjoy your alfresco dining….. but safely.

DB Fire Safety Contact

 

Fire Safety Concerns at Peterborough Hospital

DB Fire Safety was interested to read recently in www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk that Peterborough City Hospital has still not Peterborough City Hospitalcomplied with instructions from the region’s fire service to make the hospital safe.

According to Peterborough Today, the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued an Enforcement Notice on the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after becoming aware that defects at the hospital are four times worse than previously found.

The Enforcement Notice was issued on the 22nd March.  There is remedial work to be carried out but, in the meantime, the fire service will work with the hospital managers to ensure that the risks are reduced as far as practicable.

The hospital was built in November 2010. It would now appear that problems in respect of ceiling voids have become apparent.  The structural issues of the hospital do not increase the risk of a fire but they could increase the risk of it spreading.

The work to rectify the situation will have to take place at the same time as the hospital continues to perform its duties to its patients.  With this in mind, the work will not be completed until February 2019.

You will be pleased to learn that the hospital has a fire detection system in place and its evacuation process has since been reviewed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Does A Fire Spread?

To enable DB Fire Safety to evaluate the risk to people in your premises, I thought you would be interested to hear the way fire can spread.

There are three ways this can happen; convention, conduction and radiation.

Convection

First of all, let’s cover convection which is the most dangerous and causes the most deaths and injuries. When a fireHouse Firestarts in an enclosed space. such as, for instance, a residential care home, the smoke rises and is trapped by the ceiling.  The smoke has to go somewhere and will spread in all directions.  An ever-deepening layer will form and eventually cover the entire room space. Smoke will pass through any holes or gaps in the walls, ceiling and floor leaching out into other parts of the building. As you can imagine, the heat from the fire then gets trapped in the building and the temperature rises.

Conduction

Secondly, conduction. Certain materials are perfect conductors of heat.  Metal shutters and ducting, can absorb heat and transmit this heat to adjoining rooms and corridors.  There is the possibility that combustible items in contact with the heated material will also catch fire.

Radiation

Last of all, we have radiation. Radiation heats the air very much in the same way as an electric bar heater heats a room.  Any close combustible material will absorb the heat, it will then start to smoulder and eventually burn.

Fire ExitAs a result of a building fire, we hear that the casualties have been taken to hospital because of smoke inhalation. You might be thinking that this isn’t so bad.  But this isn’t the case because smoke contains toxic gases which are injurious to people. A building with modern fittings and materials generates smoke that is thick and black.  The smoke will obscure vision and will cause great difficulty in breathing.

With vision impaired, it will be very difficult for people to find the escape routes.  For this reason, it’s essential that the means of escape, together with other fire precautions, are adequate to ensure that everyone can escape to a place of total safety before the fire and its effects take hold and trap them inside the building.

DB Fire Safety Contact

To arrange a fire risk assessment, please contact Peterborough based DB Fire Safety Limited