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

<p align=”center”><iframe style=”width: 650px; height: 360px;” src=”//player.vimeo.com/video/111253413” width=”550″ height=”50″ frameborder=”0″></iframe></p>

 

 

Fire Risk Assessment for Block of Flats in Peterborough

DB Fire Safety Ltd are involved in carrying out the fire risk assessment on a multi-storey building in Peterborough that’s recently been converted from offices into flats.

Fire safety design in new blocks of flats is governed
by the Building Regulations 2010.  This legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all common areas of properties which will identify any fire hazards and who could be potentially at risk.

Blocks of flats differ from other residential dwellings in respect of fire risk assessments.  Because there are more people living in a block of flats, they will experience more fires than people living in houses.  However, a fire in a block of flats is no more dangerous than in a house.  High rise, therefore, does not mean high risk.

 

• To keep fire risk to a minimum, it is just as important to prevent fires as to provide
measures to protect people when fire occurs.
• The most significant influences on fire risk are social and lifestyle factors and advanced
age, not the type of dwelling in which people live.
• All dwellings should have working smoke alarms.
• Very few people die as a result of a fire in a neighbour’s flat or the common parts. Nearly all
fire deaths occur in the flat in which fire starts.
• In blocks of flats, each flat is designed to be a fire-resisting ‘box’. It is important to maintain
the integrity of this compartment, particularly when building work and alterations take place.
• It is important to ensure that fires cannot start in the common parts or common facilities.

Given that most fires occur in domestic dwellings, it was recognised
that a block of flats as a building containing many such dwellings –
has the potential for a higher risk to people should a fire break out.
Accordingly, the fire safety standards that were developed to address
this risk sought to afford the same level of safety found in houses to
those living in blocks of flats.
At the very least you should ensure that there is an adequate means
of escape in case of fire, and landlords of shared and Houses in
Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties will have additional obligations,
both under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005) and the
Housing Act 2004.
Just like employers, landlords have certain obligations when it comes
to fire safety and protection in their properties. However, it is not as
simple as ensuring there is a couple of fire extinguishers to hand – fire
safety largely depends on the potential risks and the different types of
buildings can cause confusion. For example, a building that is used for
a single tenancy will differ to one which is shared across commercial and residential lettings

 

This is the basis for the ‘stay put’ principle (discussed later in this guide): when a fire
occurs within one dwelling (or, less likely, in the common parts), it is normally safe for
other residents to remain within their own flat. This principle is undoubtedly successful
in an overwhelming number of fires in blocks of flats. In 2009-2010, of over 8,000 fires
in these blocks, only 22 fires necessitated evacuation of more than five people with the
assistance of the fire and rescue service5.

The assessment of risk from fire also needs to take social factors into account,
particularly in the case of accommodation provided specifically for certain highrisk
groups.

While escape within flats is based on similar principles to those for houses, reaching
ultimate safety relies on using the common parts.
• Most blocks of flats are designed on the ‘stay put’ principle. Although this relies on there
being effective compartmentation, it is a principle that should be adopted wherever
possible.
• Provided there is effective compartmentation and means of escape, ‘general needs’ blocks
of flats will not normally require a communal fire alarm system.
• Communal fire alarm systems should not be installed unless it can be demonstrated that
there is no other practicable way of ensuring an adequate level of safety. If such a system
is provided, it must be possible to manage it.
• However, it should not automatically be assumed that constructional standards will be
inadequate in the absence of evidence to that effect.
• Proposals to upgrade fire protection in an existing block should aim to ensure, or restore, a
satisfactory standard of compartmentation in order to maintain the original ‘stay put’ policy.
• More generally, application of current benchmark standards to an existing block of flats is
not normally appropriate.
• Certain developments in fire safety technology and practice (eg smoke alarms within flats)
should be adopted. However, other developments such as automatic suppression systems
will only be appropriate if the cost and effort of adopting them is proportionate to the risk.

Front doors to flats need to be fire-resisting and self-closing.
• Corridors leading to stairways need to be enclosed in fire-resisting construction.
• Where there is only escape in one direction along a corridor, the extent of travel in such
‘dead ends’ needs to be limited.
• Open decks and balconies need to be limited in extent if escape is only possible in one
direction, with fire-resisting construction to protect people passing other flats to reach a
stairway.
• Stairways need to be enclosed in fire-resisting construction, with fire-resisting, selfclosing
doors.
• Any external stairways need to be suitably separated from the building by fire-resisting
construction and doors.
• Any areas, rooms or risers opening onto communal escape corridors and stairways
need to be fitted with fire-resisting doors that are self-closing or kept locked shut.
• Arrangements for maintaining stairways clear of smoke need to be provided (through
means such as openable windows and vents).
• Additional protection is needed where there is only a single stairway for normal access
and for egress in an emergency, normally comprising lobby approach and permanent
openings or automatically opening vents for clearing smoke.
16.11 Older people and people with certain disabilities may require particular consideration

www.local.gov.uk

David Black, the Managing Director of DB Fire Safety Ltd has been involved with this project from its outset, and says that now the building is ready for occupation.

For information on how DB Fire Safety Ltd can help with your fire risk assessment; call 0800 772 0559 OR

Email: enquiries@dbfiresafety.co.uk

Fire Risk Assessments in Solicitors’ Offices

Recent surveys of solicitors’ offices have highlighted a number of issues that could have a serious adverse effect on staff and visitors in the event of a fire.

David Black, of DB Fire Safety Limited, has observed Server Rooms with no automatic fire detection, fire doors being wedged open, combustible waste being placed immediately next to printers and missing ceiling tiles.

DSCN2642 DSCN1375 DSCN2618 DSCN2625

Holes in walls and ceilings mean that the room is not contained. Holes will allow fire to spread throughout the building to a much greater extent than if the room was confined, thus placing occupants in potentially greater danger.

A fire door that’s wedged (or propped) open is likely to remain open when evacuating a building. Fire doors are designed to hold fire back for a minimum of 30 minutes when closed. Fire doors should also be installed with fire-rated hinges and rebated with intumescent strips and cold smoke seals. In general, a fire door should be installed to comply with Building and Fire Regulations. There are, however, suitable devices available that will hold a fire door open whilst still allowing it to close automatically in the event of a fire alarm activation.

Printers operate at extremely hot temperatures. If paper jams inside the machine and catches fire, any combustible items placed alongside are also likely to catch fire; again placing employees in danger.

A fire risk assessment carried out by a professional company such as DB Fire Safety will highlight any of the above issues and will provide suitable resolutions.

Qualified Fire Risk Assessor

DB Fire Safety Limited is delighted to announce that David Black is now formally qualified as a fire risk assessor. David established the company a number of years ago to provide businesses with support in meeting requirements laid down by fire safety legislation.

David recently successfully passed the fire risk assessment course and examination set by The Fire Protection Association.

The Regulatory Reform  (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that all businesses carry out a fire risk assessment. It further recommends that the fire risk assessment is carried out by a competent person. Competency is defined as someone with experience or qualifications in the subject. David has many years experience and can now add qualification to demonstrate absolute competency.

If you need the services of a qualified fire risk assessor, call DB Fire Safety Limited on 0800 772 0559.

Halloween Costume Catches Fire

Halloween costumes have been known to cash fire when in close proximity to candles or other heat sources.

Please make sure your children keep candles and matches well away from their costumes.

If you don’t believe it…..read the attached article. Please make sure you have a safe Halloween.

http://m.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/what-s-on/latest-leisure-lifestyle/don-t-let-halloween-be-frightening-top-10-children-s-costume-safety-tips-1-7011639

Contractors’ living accommodation – a disaster waiting to happen.

DB Fire Safety was ‘invited’ to carry out a fire risk assessment of a basement in an office block. We cannot name the building (obviously) but suffice it to say that there are 5 floors above the basement – all of which are under major reconstruction. On investigation, the basement had been converted into living accommodation for a large number of contractors working on the building.

Employers must realise and understand that they have a serious duty of care to ensure the safety of all their staff – regardless of their country of origin.

This basement was a disaster waiting to happen. There were no ‘full-height’ partition walls between bedrooms; no fire doors on bedrooms; no testing of the electrical fixed wiring; accepted use of portable electrical appliances that had not been tested. The list went on and on.

Fortunately the HSE and Fire Authority are now involved. If this was a standard HMO it would be shut down immediately.

DB Fire Safety provides training in residential care homes

DB Fire Safety specialises in providing fire safety training courses for staff working in residential care homes. This includes courses in general fire safety awareness as well as courses in fire evacuation procedures and specialist courses for fire wardens.

Some of the comments we get from those attending our courses are as follows:

“Explained very well and now more aware if the fire procedure”

“Now know how to use an extinguisher and would be more confident in the event of a fire”

“The training will develop my skills on future practice and I will not be panicking on a fire”

“Very useful and very well explained”

“Now more aware of what to do and how to proceed when there is a fire. Found the whole course very useful”

If you also would like to take advantage of our fire safety training courses then:

Call us on 0800 772 0559 OR

Email: enquiries@dbfiresafety.co.uk

Online fire safety training courses from DB Fire Safety Ltd.

DB Fire Safety Limited is delighted to announce that our online fire safety training courses are now available. These can be purchased directly from our website and paid through our PayPal account.

The ability to carry out fire safety training online limits the need for staff to be removed from productive work. They can complete the course in their own time or during work breaks. This method also reduces the necessity to bring in a specialist trainer to provide a classroom presentation.

For further information simply go to our website:  www.dbfiresafety.co.uk

OR PHONE: 0800 772 0559