Wildfires in the countryside

We tend to think that wildfires only occur in countries such as Spain, Canada and Australia.   If you can take your mind Wildfireback to April 2015, a grass fire a little bit closer to home in the South Wales Valley destroyed 222 acres of countryside.   Only this year in March, there was a fire in Shetland which ripped through 70 acres of grass and heather.   The Upton Heath fire in Dorset in 2011 damaged approximately 250 acres of the heath and required the mobilisation of 30 fire engines and 11 Land Rovers.

Wildfires and grass fires can occur because of the carelessness of people when discarding lit cigarettes or leaving their campfires unattended.   The deliberate setting of wildfires is, of course, illegal and a criminal offence.

What a relief to hear that wildfires are thankfully a rare occurrence.  But when they do occur, they cause massive devastation to our beautiful countryside and the eco-systems which have taken many years to develop.  If a fire encroaches on farmland, then crops, buildings and animals can be consumed.

The cost of a wildfire is immense and the affects are that:

  • nests and the young of birds that nest on the ground are destroyed
  • mammals such as red squirrel lose their forest homes
  • small animals like the common lizard are killed
  • landscapes are scorched and less attractive until they recover
  • peat-land can be damaged and that is important as a carbon store to help combat climate change

As with the Upton Heath fire, a wildfire will take up valuable resources which impacts on resources which could be required to tackle property fires and emergencies.

Fire Engine 2There are, however, things you can do to protect the countryside and keep you safe.

  • If you must have a fire, then make absolutely sure that it is in a designated safe area.  Never leave the fire or barbeque unattended.
  • Extinguish cigarettes and smoking materials properly BEFORE leaving your vehicle.
  • NEVER EVER throw cigarette ends out of car windows.  This recklessness could start a fire and destroy the surrounding crops and countryside.
  • Take home or dispose in a waste or recycling bin your bottles and glass – the heat generated from sunlight shining through the glass can start a fire.
  • Report it immediately if you see a fire in the countryside.  Leave the area as soon as possible – preferably downhill.  Fires spread more quickly uphill. A fire also creates its own wind and achieve a speed far faster than you can get out of its way.
  • Ensure that you know your location or landmark so that you can direct the fire service accordingly.

DB Fire Safety Contact


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


Are You Using The Correct Charger?

Way back in 1831, British scientist, Michael Faraday, discovered electromagnetic induction.  This process is pretty much the same principle in respect of how we make use of electricity today.

Electricity is a reliable form of energy that’s essential in our modern and technology-filled lifestyles. It provides light, it cools our homes on hot summer days and heats them in winter.  And, where would we be in our digital world if we were unable to charge our devices.

Electricity can be hazardous and research states that two-thirds of all accidental house fires involve electricity. According to http://www.fireprotectiononline.co.uk, in 2013-14, accidental dwelling fires caused by electrical appliances resulted in 680 non-fatal casualties and 18 deaths.  Cheap replacement chargers are a common source of fire in our homes mainly because they don’t conform to our strict safety standards.Mobile Phone Charger

Don’t be taken in by a cheap price. If it seems too good to be true, then it usually is. Criminals are clever. The chargers may look like the real thing but will be low in quality and the appliances will not have gone through the rigorous checks required to meet British safety standards. Not only could the appliance present a fire risk but there is also the chance of electrocution.

 Safety Checks To Keep You & Your Family Safe
  • Switch off all electrical items before you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Do not leave a charger on overnight.  You will you be wasting energy and the charger will overheat and this is where things can turn nasty.
  • There are visual checks you can make – make sure that all plugs, sockets and cables are in good condition.  Any concerns, unplug them immediately.   Before re-using, get a professional in to check out the problem.
  • Do not overload sockets.  Do not exceed the rating of 13A – any doubt, again, ask for professional advice.
  • Only use electrical appliances within the manufacturer’s guidelines.  Register your product with the manufacturer because, as with the recent tumble dryer scare, you will be advised of any product recalls in the event of a product defect.

What to do in the event of an electricity fire.  If there’s time and it’s safe to do so, turn off the electricity supply.  If you have a CO2 extinguisher then this is the extinguisher to use for electrical fires.  Powder fire extinguishers can also be used. The best and safest option, however, is to dial 999.

DB Fire Safety recommends that it’s best to prevent a fire in the first place by being responsible.

For more information on the history of electricity, please visit – http://instituteforenergyresearch.org

Law on smoking in residential care homes

In today’s blog, DB Fire Safety Ltd. would like to bring you up-to-date in respect of how the law affects residents who want to smoke in residential care Care Homeshomes.  As may already know, it is an individual’s right to continue to smoke when in care.

According to the law, residential care homes are exempt from the smoke-free legislation. Although it is not a legal requirement, designated indoor smoking rooms and/or bedrooms can be made available for use by those residents wishing to smoke indoors.  It is, however, not a legal requirement to provide a bedroom.

If a residential care home designates such a smoking room, the following requirements must be met.

  1. The manager/owner has to designate a room where smoking is permitted.
  2. The room must be completely enclosed apart, of course, from the doors and windows.
  3. The ventilation of the room should preferably be outside of the care home or to other designated ‘smoking rooms’ which have external ventilation.
  4. The doors must close either mechanically or with closers to prevent smoke drifting to smoke free rooms or corridors.
  5. The room should be clearly marked as a room where smoking is permitted.

There does, however, remain a ban on staff smoking within the Care Home and, therefore, a suitable outdoor area should be designated for staff and any visitors, wishing to smoke.

Fire risk assessments take precedence over the rights of a smoker and a risk assessment will have to be taken to ensure the safety of all the residents, care workers and visitors.

If you are unsure of the legislation, then please feel free to contact Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety Limited to arrange a free consultation – call 0800 772 0559


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.


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.


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.


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

Residential Care Home Owners Fined £380k

As regular reader of the DB Fire Safety blog, you will be aware of the necessity to comply with the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005…..particularly if you are an owner of a residential care home.

Only recently, the owner of a residential care home in Washington, Tyne & Wear was sentenced following five breaches of Residential Care Homefire safety regulations.

The fire destroyed a bedroom and also caused damage to a corridor and smoke damage to other bedrooms and the laundry room.

It was reported that the fire started in a bedoom, but because the fire door had been wedged open, this resulted in the smoke and heat spreading to the communal corridor.  Another bedroom door had also been wedged open and the smoke and heat travelled into this bedroom too.

Because fires can spread extremely quickly (within minutes), the staff had trouble in sourcing where the fire had started.  An elderly lady, where the fire started, became trapped in her room.  Firefighters were, however, able to enter the building wearing breathing apparatus to rescue her safely through a first floor window.

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service uncovered the following breaches of the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, as follows:

  • Two fire doors had been wedged open, when they should always be kept closed.
  • Almost half of the fire extinguishers had been condemned by the company’s appointed contractor.
  • The company failed to comply and carry out a number of requirements identifed in a fire risk assessment.  These requirements included installing electronic devices which would allow fire doors to be wedged open but, in the event of a fire, enabling them to close quickly in an emergency.

Fire can kill, and this particular residential care home owner was fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed. The £380k penalty is signficant but it sends out an important message in respect of the value of carrying out fire risk assessments and to comply with Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

When Cooking – Keep Looking

DB Fire Safety has learnt this week that there have been five house fires across Lincolnshire recently.  Fire crews Kitchen Firehave been called out to properties in Gainsborough, Grantham, Lincoln and Sleaford. It was reported that one of the fires was caused by a man cooking some lamb chops which he left unattended.  Two more involved chip pans which had caught fire.

According to the Fire Safety Advice Centre, approximately two thirds of all domestic fires occur because of cooking.

Because of this statistic, the kitchen must surely be classed as the most dangerous place in your home.

This DB Fire Safety blog covers how to keep your kitchen safe whilst cooking which, in turn, will prevent you becoming one of the 7,000 people injured per year in a house fire.

  • Remember, that when cooking, never get distracted.  Distraction is how most fires occur when cooking is left unattended.  It’s so easy to do and, if truth be told, we have all been there. Perhaps the phone rings or there’s someone at the door.  If you have to leave your pans to answer the phone or door, take the pans off the heat entirely.
  • If you are called away, don’t leave young children unattended in the kitchen.
  • It’s also a timely reminder not to cook whilst under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.
  • Saucepan handles can be very dangerous – keep them well away from where they can be knocked over and well away from another hot ring.
  • It might surprise you to learn but people do, on occasions, leave the oven door open.  Seems a very careless and dangerous thing to do, but it does happen.
  • Oven gloves and tea towels are another fire hazard when not stored correctly.  Keep them well away from hot rings.
  • Last, but by no means least, clean your grill pan after using it.

Don’t put your life at risk, or the lives of your loved ones.Arrange A Free Consultation

When cooking – keep looking and keep safe.









Residential Care Homes – Identifying People At Risk From Fire

As part of the Fire Risk Assessments carried out by DB Fire Safety, it’s important to identify the people in the Residential Care Home who may be at risk.

First of all, DB Fire Safety will identify where the residents’ rooms are situated, where the residents spend their days and where they eat their meals.  It’s also important to find out where the staff spend their time working within the Residential Care Home.  Last, but by no means least, where visitors and contractors are likely to be located within the building in the event of a fire.

Particular risk assessment attention is taken of:Residential Care Home

  • Employees who work alone in, say an office, or contractors who may be working in the roof space, etc.
  • Employees, for instance, care workers, cleaners, maintenance and security staff, all of which could be working during the night.
  • Particular attention is required regarding temporary or agency staff who might have no experience or understanding of the Residential Care Home’s layout or procedures.
  • Attention also needs to be taken into account of people visiting the Residential Care Home, for instance, relatives, doctors, hairdressers, chiropodists and entertainers.
  • But the most of all at risk are the residents.  These people may be unable to escape unaided and will not be able to vacate the premises quickly.
  • Something else that requires consideration is people who may well panic.  It may be advisable to put a plan in place for individual fire risk safety requirements for these individuals (PEEPS) for example, the resident’s medical conditions, sensory awareness and mobility.

It’s important to carry out a fire risk assessment in a systematic way and allocate enough time to carry out the assessment properly.Arrange A Free Consultation

Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will visit your Residential Care Home and take the whole of the building into account  including the outdoors.



Identifying Fire Sources Of Ignition in Residential Care Homes

There are three things required for a fire to start.  Residential Care Homes

  1. A source of ignition
  2. Fuel
  3. Oxygen

In this blog, Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will concentrate on identifying the potential sources of ignition.  During a fire risk assessment in a Residential Care Home, the assessor will be looking for possible sources of heat which could get hot enough to ignite material found in these premises.

The ignition sources could well include:

• smoking materials, e.g. cigarettes, matches and lighters;
• naked flames, e.g. candles or gas or liquid-fuelled open-flame equipment;
• electrical, gas or oil-fired heaters (fixed or portable);
• cooking equipment;
• faulty or misused electrical equipment;
• lighting equipment;
• equipment owned or used by residents;
• hot surfaces and obstruction of equipment ventilation, for example, photocopiers;
• hot processes, for example, welding by contractors;
• arson, deliberate ignition, vandalism etc..

It is also important to be aware that a resident could deliberately start a fire (with or without intent). Care should, therefore, always be taken to monitor and control access to matches and lighters. Special attention should also be given to residents that might smoke in their bedrooms.

Fire Risk Assessors will also check out any Indications of ‘near-misses’, such as scorch marks on furniture or fittings, discoloured and/or charred electrical plugs and sockets, cigarette burns etc.

Fire kills and fire costs money.  There are strict penaltes for not complying with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Fire safety training is a service Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety offers to assist Residential Care Home owners to  DB Fire Safety Contactcomply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

If, however, you would like more information, please visit – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-residential-care-premises