September is an integral month for fire safety because of Chimney Fire Safety Week. Held from September 3rd to September 9th, the campaign aims to raise awareness of chimney fires and encourages people to stop them from happening. September is a time for growing darkness and drops in temperature. People are more likely to light the hearths in their home.
In order to raise awareness for Chimney Fire Safety Week, we’re giving our tips on how to prevent a chimney fire.
When lighting a fire beneath the chimney, make sure it’s small. It will produce less creosote, which can build up inside the chimney and make for a potential hazard. A fire that burns brightly generates less smoke and soot, making it easier to control.
It’s important to clean a chimney as often as possible. Otherwise, creosote and soot will clog up the walls. These materials burn at high temperatures, increasing the risk of a fire breaking out. Be sure to consult the services of a certified chimney sweep. Annual cleaning will keep the space clear, providing better passage for smoke and exhaust gases.
To avoid creosote buildup, make sure you keep the fireplace damper open. This promotes steady air flow and prevents any restriction.
An invaluable tool for fire prevention is a chimney liner. The liner protects the structure against excessive heating, provides better air flow and passage for combustion gases. Not only is the chimney easier to clean, but the interior is protected from damage, reducing the chance of a fire.
When lighting a hearth, never use any combustible liquids or materials. They include petrol, paper, plants and even Christmas trees. The materials can move up a chimney and ignite creosote deposits, leading to a fire breaking out.
At Total Fire Services, we’re committed to keeping you safe in a variety of situations. Be sure to spread the word about Chimney Fire Safety Week and remember that the smallest details can make the difference in fire prevention.
When it comes to the workplace, staff should receive fire safety training in order to know how to deal with a blaze. The training might take the form of learning about different signs, what to do in case of a fire, or how to use an extinguisher. Not only does fire safety training prepare staff for the worst case scenario, it enables them to become accustomed to the layout of a building.
But there comes a time when the fire safety training policy needs to be refreshed. We’ve listed five reasons why this should happen.
When you hire someone new, don’t assume that they understand basic fire safety. This should be included in the induction process, so it may be necessary to carry out a new training programme.
Fire safety training certificate expiration
Fire safety training certificates don’t last forever, so there will come a time when they’ll need to be updated. Refreshing the training programme will keep your staff up to date with the latest policies.
If you’ve moved to a new premises then it may have a different layout to the previous building. This will require you to carry out a new safety plan, safety assessment and training. The new building may also come with a different set of hazards, so knowing where the exits are should be included in the training.
If new equipment has been installed then it’s recommended you re-train employees in how to use it, especially if the equipment differs from the previous technology.
If an incident happened within the industry that applies to your business, then refreshing the fire safety programme may be relevant. Extra training could be provided to ensure that staff are up to date.
As a general rule, fire safety training programmes should be refreshed every 12 months. At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services designed to help businesses. For more information contact us on 01204 697 990.
Recently, fires broke out on the Saddleworth Moors, causing homes to be evacuated and heavy damage to the landscape. It’s a reminder that fires can happen anywhere and preparation is vital for blazes that occur inside and outside. Wildfires are capable of causing a lot of destruction. We’ve put together a guide on how to prepare for them and how to be safe.
If you live in the vicinity of a forest or grassland, then you should take steps to avoid a fire from starting. This can be achieved by removing combustible materials away from a property. This includes getting rid of any dry grass, brush or stacks of firewood and keeping them a safe distance away from the home. The recommended distance is at least 50 feet.
Try and avoid burning any of the material. It’s always worth checking local regulations and ‘burn ban’ restrictions. In certain areas you may need a burning permit.
Creating safety zones around your property is a good way to reduce the risk of a wildlife. You can do this by keeping trees spaced at least 10 feet apart and regularly pruning vegetation. Other methods involve trimming branches so they don’t encroach on a roof and making sure to clear the gutters of any debris.
Keep any flammable materials away from wooden structures, such as decks or fences. Avoid using the space under a deck for the storage of garden equipment like lawn mowers.
Even if you’ve done everything you can to protect your home against wildfire, you should still prepare a plan for the worst case scenario. Identify all the possible exit points in the property and remember to come up with an emergency kit. The kit could include a torch, medical supplies, a change of clothes, phone charger, bottled water etc.
Protecting against smoke
In addition to the flames, smoke is another factor to be aware of:
At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services. For more information please contact us on 01204 697 990.
No one likes the possibility of having a fire start out in their home. Unfortunately, there are many locations within a house where a fire can break out, whether through equipment or circumstances beyond the homeowner’s control. The best way to deal with a fire is to have an extinguisher close by. With the correct fire extinguisher placement, you’ll be prepared to combat any flames that appear. We’re listing five crucial locations in the home to install fire extinguishers.
The kitchen is the most common area for fires, so it’s essential to have an extinguisher placed nearby. A lot of kitchen fires are started with grease, which have high flashpoints and can’t be put out with water. You’ll want to install a Class F fire extinguisher because they are designed to contain grease fires and emulsify surfaces to stop them from reigniting.
A good place to put the kitchen extinguisher is about 30 feet away from the stove. Don’t put it directly next to the stove, otherwise you’ll be reaching through the fire to get it.
A garage is a good place to store flammable materials like oil, paints and solvents. All of these chemicals are highly combustible. If you use the garage as a workshop then there’s a chance of generating sparks while using tools. It’s important to make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the garage to prevent any damage from occurring.
There’s a high possibility of a fire starting at night, so you may want to keep a fire extinguisher close to your bed. If you find yourself blocked by a fire then having an extinguisher in your hands will be useful for escaping.
Patios make a good location for a barbecue and grills are a potential fire hazard. A gas grill could cause a propane explosion, while a charcoal grill may start a grease fire because of cooking oils. Having a fire extinguisher in the immediate vicinity would help to put out any flames.
If you have a room for the laundry then consider having a fire extinguisher nearby. The lint that builds up in a dryer is highly flammable and could be set alight. Be sure to clean out the lint trap to reduce the risk of fire.
At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services designed to give you peace of mind. For more information please contact us on 01204 697 990.
For any business or home, having a fire safety plan is essential. People need to be able to look out for their own safety as well as each other, so the right equipment needs to be in place. Being aware of the different classes of fire is important as well because each class requires a different extinguishing method. In the UK, fires are classed using the European Standard Classification and they are split into five categories.
A Class A fire is the most common kind of fire that is likely to start. They are normally caused by combustible solid objects like wood, paper, fabric and textiles. A good way to put out a Class A fire is to use a water based extinguisher.
A Class B fire is anything started by a flammable liquid such as petrol or alcohol. To extinguish a Class B fire, you’ll need to cut off the oxygen and this can be achieved through smothering. Potassium carbonate is a useful substance, or you can use a CO2 extinguisher.
This kind of fire is caused by flammable gases like propane and petroleum. Class C fires are one of the most dangerous because they have the potential to cause explosions. In order to put a Class C out you’ll need to make sure the gas supply has been isolated. The majority of fire extinguishers are ineffective against a Class C fire, with the only option being a dry powder extinguisher.
Class D fires are started by certain types of metals. Alkali metals like magnesium, potassium and aluminium can ignite when they come into contact with air and water. So, if you were to put water onto metal fires this could increase the intensity of the flames and lead to an explosion.
In the case of an industrial fire with a lot of burning metal then a safe approach is to let the fire burn itself out. Class Ds tend to generate a lot of ash, which builds up and starves a fire’s oxygen supply. A specialist dry powder fire extinguisher can also be used.
Class F fires are started by cooking oil and fats. They can be difficult to extinguish because of the high temperature and the fact water is likely to cause flames to spread out. Special wet chemical extinguishers contain a solution that cools a Class F fire and emulsifies a surface to stop it from re-igniting.
Due to electricity being a source of ignition, electric fires technically aren’t a seperate class. To stop this kind of fire the electricity source needs to be cut off as quickly as possible. The most suitable fire extinguishers are dry powder and carbon dioxide.
In terms of safety, labels act as useful instructions on what to do in the event of a fire. They are designed to provide key information on safety equipment to the public and firefighters during an emergency. Labels shouldn’t be taken for granted and there are several places where they’ll be shown, such as in public buildings, workplaces and on specific types of furniture. We’ve put together a guide on the labels and how they can help during an emergency.
In public buildings and offices it’s the responsibility of the manager to put up fire safety signs. This is a legal requirement and they could face serious penalties if they fail to comply. The public are encouraged to read and understand the information on the signs, which could lead to the prevention of severe damage in the event of a crisis.
Advisory signs help to warn people about fire hazards and provide instructions on what to do in an emergency. For example, a sign can show someone how to use a fire extinguisher correctly. A building needs to have appropriate labels marking fire alarm call points and the location of extinguishers.
Colour coded signs fulfil different purposes and contain information that’s relevant to a specific action. Fire exit signs in the UK are usually coloured green and white because this combination signifies a safe condition. Blue fire safety signs are used to indicate a mandatory action, like keeping a fire door shut. Red fire safety signs signify the location of equipment or prohibition. An example of a red sign is no smoking.
Safety labels are required on furniture to indicate the fire resistance of each item. A label needs to be attached to all new furniture at the point of sale, with the exception of bed bases, mattresses, pillows, loose covers, stretch covers, seat pads and scatter cushions.
The label should be attached in a place that it can be read clearly on both sides. There are different labels to be aware of. Display labels feature compliance information and permanent labels are meant to show compliance with specific ignition requirements for fillings and covers. The latter is also meant to help enforcement officers.
You should not remove a permanent label and should take measures to reattach the label if it’s come loose. This is important for landlords who are renting out a property. If you intend on selling a piece of furniture the safety label needs to be attached, otherwise organisations won’t accept it.
At Total Fire Services, we’re committed to providing you with all the latest fire safety information and services. For more information then don’t hesitate to call us on 01204 697 990.
Learning about fire safety is an important part of growing up because children will know how to deal with a hazardous situation when they get older. Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, there are a number of ways you can educate a child, and one of the most effective ways is by visiting a museum. There are firefighting museums located across the UK and we’re listing four of the most beneficial.
Located in Rochdale, the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum houses a wealth of information on fire safety. There are 23 exhibits featuring a range of items, including uniforms, firefighting equipment, medals and curios. The museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of firefighting in Manchester, as England’s first municipal fire service was formed in the city during 1826.
The museum offers educational visits for children of all ages, with topics of discussion ranging from The Great Fire of London to The Blitz.
This is the only museum in Britain to focus on all Ministry of Defence (MOD) Fire Services, including the Naval Air Command Fire Service, Royal Navy, Army, Defence Fire Service and Air Ministry Fire Service. It contains an extensive collection of firefighting vehicles and artefacts. Previously located in Kent, the museum was moved to Gainsborough and is set to reopen in 2018.
The Kent Firefighting Museum is a hub of knowledge, featuring different exhibits that will help to educate students. There’s a selection of fire helmets, a collection of fire extinguishers, a horse drawn fire cart and traditional wooden ladders. The museum is run by dedicated volunteers who are experienced in the history of firefighting, making it an ideal learning venue.
When you visit the Mansfield Fire Museum, you’ll be impressed by the range of information that’s on offer. The museum is dedicated to collecting and conserving fire service memorabilia, with some items dating back to The Great Fire of London. An overseas room is aimed at preserving firefighting objects from abroad. There’s also a special kids zone that will appeal to small children.
At Total Fire Services, we’re dedicated to promoting fire safety in all forms. For more information contact us on 01204 697 990.
Wearing the right gear is an important part of a firefighter’s job because it makes the difference between whether they can rescue people or not. The official name for firefighting gear is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which consists of fire retardant clothing, gloves, boots, helmet, breathing apparatus and a Personal Alert Safety System. (PASS) The paraphanalia is commonly referred to as turnout or bunker gear. But there was a time when firefighters weren’t able to safely enter a burning building because they lacked the appropriate gear, so we’re looking into how PPE has evolved over time.
Originally, firefighters lacked the specialist equipment to be able to enter buildings, with many fires being dealt with outside a structure. There earliest kind of gear was made out of wool because of it being able to shield firefighters against heat and cold. Rubber played an important role as well, with the material being worn over coats to provide another protective layer. Firefighters also wore rubber boots because it kept their feet dry.
The first helmets were made out of leather and an American called Jacobus Turck is credited as creating the original in 1740. The ‘modern’ variation is attributed to Henry Gratacap, who developed his version between 1821 and 1836. The dome-shaped helmet had a front shield and reinforced design. Other variations existed, such as the ‘merryweather’ worn by British firefighters during the Victorian era. This helmet was introduced in 1868, replacing the leather helmet.
After WW2, standards for PPE started to develop. Many organisations carried out performance testing and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), was at the forefront. The committee developed a firefighting jacket with three layers that consisted of a fire resistant outer layer, a middle layer that stopped water from soaking the wearer, and a final layer to protect against heat transfer.
Based on NFPA research, PPE was drastically improved. This culminated in the NFPA 1971 Standard on Protective Clothing for Structural Fire Fighting. It specifies “the minimum design, performance, safety, testing and certification requirements for structural fire fighting protective ensembles and ensemble elements that include coats, trousers, coveralls, helmets, gloves, footwear and interface components.”
The act established further protection for a firefighter through requiring all PPE to provide visibility and identification in different conditions. Respiratory and PASS devices were also improved, with the inclusion of masks that protected against harmful gases like carbon monoxide.
Today, PPE contains a mixture of different gear, including triple-layer clothing, breathing apparatus, PASS device and modern communication equipment. Fabrics have been updated and are made out of Kevlar or Nomex.
In terms of emergency services, firefighting is one of the most valuable resources in the world. Firefighters help save lives, so it’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a firefighting service. Firefighting goes all the way back to Ancient Rome, so we’ve decided to chart the service from its earliest days up to the modern era.
The origin of the firefighting service came about after a horrific fire broke out in Rome. This occurred in 6 AD and Emperor Augustus established the first fire brigade known as the Vigiles. The group consisted of ex-slaves who were trained to deal with fires and acted as night watchmen as well. The duties of the Vigiles were divided into different roles, including Unicinarius, Siphonarius and Aquarius.
The Uncinarius carried hooks for the removal of a burning roof, Siphonarius operated water pumps and Aquarius supplied the water via buckets. There were around seven battalions of firefighters, each led by a single chief. The Vigiles employed a number of tools, including axes to chip away walls and let smoke and heat escape.
This method of firefighting is believed to have been carried over to Britain during the Roman invasion. But after they left, firefighting took a step back and fires became a regular occurrence in Britain and Europe.
In 1666, the Great Fire of London changed the way Britain dealt with disasters. Fire insurance was set up by Nicholas Barbon and in order to reduce insurance costs he set up his own fire brigade. Other companies followed his example and the private brigades would only protect client property. Insured buildings were identified with a badge and those that weren’t were left to burn.
Eventually, all the companies merged together to form The London Fire Company Establishment in 1833. James Braidwood became the first Fire Chief, after transfering from the Edinburgh fire brigade. The 1850s saw the introduction of steam-powered machines that increased the quantity of water to be used in a fire.
During the early 1900s, there were between 1400 and 1500 small fire brigades run by local councils in the UK. In 1938 the Auxiliary Fire Service was set up and then succeeded by the National Fire Service in WW2. At this time there was no countrywide standard for firefighting procedures or equipment, though standardisation came into play after the war.
After WW2, local county authorities took over the National Fire Service and The Fire Services Act was introduced in 1948. This resulted in 148 county councils and boroughs running their own brigades. Changes took place in 1986 when some municipal boroughs and county brigades were renamed, becoming independent as a result.
Modern firefighters continue to show their bravery and determination. At Total Fire Services, we believe in safety and our range of services are designed to help your company carry out the best fire safety practices. For more information contact us on 01204 697 990.
Fire extinguishers are an integral part of fire safety and it’s a legal requirement to have them in all premises. Since their introduction, fire extinguishers have saved countless lives. But how did people put out fires before extinguishers were invented? Fire extinguishers have only been around for a couple of centuries, and we’re looking into the history of these vital devices.
The genesis of fire extinguishers can be traced back to 200 BC, when Ctesibius of Alexandria invented a hand operated water pump that was able to disperse fire. The invention replaced the time consuming method of passing water buckets from person to person. Ctesibius’ pump provided the blueprint for other variations of fire safety devices.
During the Middle Ages, a syringe-like contraption called a squirt was used to put out fires. The nozzle was dipped into water to extract a few pints. The squirt then pumped water on to flames. They were used during the Great Fire of London, but weren’t very effective. However, squirts were a precursor to basic firefighting equipment and ‘squirt’ guns.
In 1723, chemist Ambrose Godfrey patented the first fire extinguisher. It contained a mixture of gunpowder and a fire-extinguishing liquid inside a pewter chamber. It had a system of fuses that ignited to explode the gunpowder and release the liquid. British Captain George William Manby developed the modern fire extinguisher in 1818. It housed three gallons of potassium carbonate solution and compressed air.
Other variations were created, such as the soda-acid extinguisher in 1866. Francois Carlier patented this version and it mixed water and sodium bicarbonate with tartaric acid. The chemical foam extinguisher was created by Russian engineer Aleksandr Loran in 1904. He also invented firefighting foam. Loran’s extinguisher contained sodium bicarbonate in water and aluminium sulphate. When released together, the liquids turned into foam and proved to be an effective way of putting out fire.
Further developments were made in the 1924, when the carbon dioxide extinguisher was invented in the US by the Walter Kidde Company. It was made in response to developing an electrically non-conductive chemical for extinguishing fires in telephone switchboards. The carbon dioxide extinguisher consisted of a metal cylinder with a wheel valve and a brass hose covered with cotton.
Fire extinguishers have continued to be updated through the years to comply with the best safety practices. They are an invaluable part of protecting your residence against fire damage. At Total Fire Services, we understand how important it is for businesses to have confidence in the quality of their fire extinguishers. We provide a variety of fire extinguishers that are covered by a 5 year warranty.
For more information contact us today on 01204 697 990.
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"Due to internal resource issues we at Chessington World Of Adventures were struggling to meet our commitments of having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessment for all of our buildings and Rides on site. Meeting the challenge of maintaining our continued commitment to having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessments in place for all of our buildings and Rides on site required us to search for a competent third party supplier who could deliver our needs at a reasonable cost"
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