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.
Fire doors are an important yet often overlook asset to any business. From prevent thousands of pounds worth of damage to saving the lives of tens or even hundreds of people, fire doors can make a tremendous difference during a fire.
Here are just a few things to think about when it comes to using fire doors effectively.
A fire door is more than just a barrier between two rooms, it’s a specially engineered piece of equipment designed to meet a tough set of fire safety criteria.
Fire doors help to break a building into different compartments. This can slow down the speed of a fire and prevent it from spreading through a building as quickly as it would naturally. If a fire door stands between a person and a fire, their chance of survival increases dramatically.
Fire doors also help fire crews determine a plan of action when it comes to rescuing people within the building.
In England and Wales, the law states that if you are an employer, landlord, owner or occupier of business or non-domestic premises, you are responsible for fire safety within that building and you’re considered the ‘responsible person’.
Therefore, if you fall under one of the above categories, it’s your job to ensure fire doors are installed where required and regularly maintained so that they can work effectively.
Yes. Introducing fire doors to your premises isn’t automatically enough to ensure you’re abiding by government legislation. When fire doors are installed, the frame, locks, and latches must be installed correctly and in line with regulations. Failure to follow the necessary guidelines could put lives at risk.
The doors must also have been tested by an independent organisation to ensure they abide by British or European Standards. Fire doors that haven’t been tested in this way might fail to protect people in the event of a fire.
By hiring a specialist fire safety company to install the fire doors for you, you can make sure your money is being put to good use and the fire doors will do exactly what they’re supposed to. In the event of a fire, fire doors could also help to protect the property itself along with any valuables within it.
The slightest changes to your fire doors could significantly impact its performance. For example, if a hinge has become loose, there is a hole in the door, or extremely flammable materials have been placed either side of it, it may fail to work as well as it should.
Once installed, fire doors should be inspected regularly to make sure they’re still functioning effectively. It may be wise to introduce a fire safety door inspection into your existing fire risk assessments. By checking the fire doors at the same time as your asses fire alarms and extinguishers you can keep your premises safe while saving time and money in the process.
If you don’t already have a fire risk assessment in place, it’s crucial that you implement one immediately.
To learn more about fire doors and risk assessments, please get in touch with the team at Total Fire Services.
All new and refurbished schools in the UK should be fitted with sprinklers, fire chiefs say.
It’s currently not essential for schools in England and Northern Ireland to have sprinklers installed, although such safety measures are mandatory in Scotland and Wales.
With more than 700 fires occurring in schools each year, London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton has accused the government of “playing with children’s lives” by failing to introduce stricter sprinkler rules.
At present, the government’s fire safety guidance says that it is the DfE’s “expectation that all new schools will have sprinklers fitted”, unless a school is “low risk” and installation “would not be good value for money.”
However, less than a third of the 260 schools built since 2014 under the Schools Building Programme have sprinklers. Just 5% of all schools in England and Wales have sprinklers.
Ms Cotton said that the London Fire Brigade recommended sprinklers in 184 new or refurbished schools last year, and yet only four of these schools followed the advice.
Fire safety rules for schools were almost relaxed last year, when the DfE in England began a consultation on new draft guidance and proposed making changes that would mean sprinklers in schools were not necessary or expected.
The consultation was dropped after the Grenfell fire and the guidance wasn’t changed.
Talking about the draft guidance, Ms Cotton said: “I think it was outrageous. I thought ‘How can we play with children’s lives like that?’
“I just do not understand why it wouldn’t be made compulsory and wouldn’t be made a requirement to fit sprinklers in schools at new-build stage.
“And what I don’t want to see is a very large school fire to be the thing that brings about that change.”
The DfE says all schools must have a Fire Risk Assessment and new schools should undergo an additional safety check during the design process.
Here at Total Fire Services, we have extensive experience helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to carry out risk assessments, train employees and embrace preventative tools. Here are just 4 types of business we’ve helped.
Managing a care home can bring with it a very unique set of obstacles. Whether your care home specialises in caring for old people or those who are vulnerable through illness or disability, it’s crucial that you have a thorough fire safety plan in place.
We have extensive experience working with care homes to ensure that risks are reduced and residents are kept safe. From carrying out an in depth fire risk assessment to training your staff so they know what to do in the event of an emergency, we’ll help you every step of the way.
As a landlord you have a responsibility to minimise the risk of fire and ensure your tenants are safe in their homes. Not only could failure to abide by government fire safety regulations see you facing fines or imprisonment, it could also put your tenants’ lives at risk.
With our help you can determine how safe your premises are and implement the correct fire safety measures. From inspecting the furniture you provide to checking you have working fire alarms, we won’t leave any stone unturned.
Implementing effective fire safety policies within an office environment can be a challenge, especially if you work in a building with a complex layout or lots of open space.
It’s our job to ensure your premises are safe. We’ll help you implement an effective evacuation plan and carry out regular fire drills. We’ll also inspect your premises to ensure escape routes are clear, combustible materials don’t post a risk, and fires can be contained in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Retailers are faced with a whole host of challenges when it comes to meeting fire safety requirements. Not only will individual stores be expected to abide by certain rules, units located in a shopping centre may need to be involved in a wider fire prevention strategy.
Here at Total Fire Services, we know fire safety like the back of our hands. We’ll visit your premises and look at everything from the storage of your goods to your customer evacuation plan. If we spot anything that could be improved, we’ll point you in the right direction and help you raise fire safety standards across the store.
To find out how we can help you implement an effective fire safety plan and keep people safe, please get in touch with the team at Total Fire Services.
As a business owner, there are several precautions you must take to keep the risk of fire to a minimum and ensure both employees and customers are safe. If the wealth of legal requirements is leaving you feeling overwhelmed, the Total Fire Services team may be able to help. We offer a selection of services designed to take much of the work off your hands while also ensuring your business is compliant with government safety guidelines. Read on to learn how we can help you:
A risk assessment is one of the first steps to protect employees and customers from fire. We can help you carry out a comprehensive and detail fire risk assessment. We’ll identify potential risks within your company before prioritising each one and outlining the steps that need to be taken in order to reduce risk and comply with legal requirements.
We have a wealth of fire safety training courses to help your team to minimise the likelihood of a fire. We’ll also teach your staff how to handle an emergency in the unlikely event that one does arise. Whether you’d like to learn online or in person, we offer a wealth of flexible packages that can be tailored to your business.
We run a thorough servicing and maintenance service to ensure that fire extinguishers are in correct working order at all times. Not only can this help you abide by government regulations, it can also save lives in the event of a fire. In fact, according to a survey by the Fire Extinguisher Trades Association, of 2,173 recorded fire safety incidents in a year, more than 80% were controlled with the help of a fire extinguisher. Extinguishers prevent approximately 2,000 injuries annually.
Here at Total Fire Services, we can provide you with the products you need to ensure your premises remain legally compliant. From reliable and robust fire alarm systems to emergency lighting to guide people to safety, we have a variety of solutions to make your premises safer.
To learn more about the fire safety services we offer, please get in touch with the team at Total Fire Services.
Every business is legally required to carry out a fire risk assessment of their premises. By following government guidelines and ensuring their business is safe, owners can protect employees, visitors and property from fire.
Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons fire risk assessments are so important.
Fire risk assessments enable businesses to identify potential hazards that could cause problems. From faulty electrical equipment to overloaded power sockets, there are so many things to keep an eye out for during your assessment. By identifying these hazards and understanding the building like the back of your hand, you can put plans in place to prevent accidents occurring in the first place.
Although there are plenty of things you can do to minimise the likelihood of a fire, accidents do happen and sometimes fires can occur. For this reason, it’s extremely important to have a plan of action to evacuate the building safely.
Your assessment should cover fire prevention equipment and firefighting supplies. Do you have working fire alarm systems? Do you have a fire blanket and an approved extinguisher?
Also look out for things that could cause an issue during an evacuation. Are all employees able to escape safely? Does anyone need any assistance to help them evacuate? Are there any obstacles standing in the way of escape routes and fire exits?
If you notice any issues during your assessment, you may also decide that fire safety training is necessary to improve safety throughout the company.
Not only can a fire risk assessment help you identify potential hazards and keep people safe in the event of a fire, it can also help you avoid legal action and costly expenses.
Breaching fire regulations can lead to legal proceedings and prosecution, particularly if an accident occurs and people are hurt or killed.
The director of a food firm in Birmingham was recently handed a 30-week suspended jail sentence after he breached fire safety legislation in a former pub which he had turned into a sweet shop.
Fire safety inspectors raised concerns regarding the condition of the building and the director was taken to court for his failure to implement the necessary safety measures.
Thankfully, all this can be avoided by familiarising yourself with fire safety legislation and conducting fire risk assessments. If you’d like help to inspect your premises and guidance when implementing safety measures, please get in touch with the team at Total Fire Services.
Do you pay as much attention to your fire doors as you should do? Do you check the condition of your building’s fire doors in the event of a practice fire drill? Would you even know how to recognise and identify one?
These are all questions you should have the right answer for if you truly understand the importance of your fire doors. Should a real fire occur you may be faced with certain situations in which some exit routes cannot be used as a way out. This type of situation and the ensuing panic is hard to replicate in a practice fire drill.
So you must be confident that you will be able to deal with such a situation should it arise. To possess this knowledge, you must be clued up on your property’s fire doors!
Over the years, you may have become familiar with the standard issue red fire extinguisher, but recently an increasing number of workplaces and organisations have started to opt for chrome fire extinguishers instead. So, what are the differences between the two types of fire extinguishers and why have they become so popular?
A fire recently broke out in Twickenham at the Murphy family’s house which is believed to have been started by a Nutella glass jar. This unusual incident has highlighted how dangerous and devastating leaving glass objects on window sills can be. Fire Fighters have come to the conclusion that the glass jar that was being used by to contain loom bands magnified the suns rays and set fire to the blinds.
The family including Dad Declan, Wife Lindsay and their two children were out at an Anniversary celebration at the time of the fire. Sadly the family dog was trapped in the house at the time and was killed in the blaze. Talking to Get West London, Delcan said,
“We’ve been told it will be up to a year before the house is ready for us to move back into.
I want to ensure other people are aware of the dangers and know to keep glass items away from windows and out of direct sunlight so they don’t have to go through anything like this.”
These kind of stories are very rare however Charlie Pugsley from the London Fire Brigade said.
“It’s worth spending five minutes checking that your window ledges are clear of any glass or crystal that might lead to a potentially life changing blaze.”
For the full story, read Family dog killed in house fire started by nutella jar
It is no secret that the countries valued health service, the NHS, is financially on a “knife-edge” which has raised concerns after new figures show that money is being ‘burnt’ on false fire alarms. In a bid to reduce the amount of wasteful visits that both cost valuable time and money the London Fire Brigade began to charge repeat offenders.
However with some Hospitals being visited several times EVERY week, the NHS could be forced to pay out a six figure bill.
What is it causing all the false alerts? According to the report badly maintained systems and even things such as burnt toast, steam and dust has resulted in the Fire Engines being dispatched.
Whats even more shocking was that all of the 10 worst offenders for these bogus alarms were hospitals that between them where charged a total of £177,000.
Despite nearly a 10% decease, Fire Fighters where still responding to false call outs on average around every 15 minutes.
Despite the charges the Fire Brigade insist that it is not a money making scheme with Neil Orbell, head of fire safety at London Fire Brigade saying
“This is not a money-making scheme and the last organisations we want to charge are hospitals.
However, we are called to over 30,000 false alarms every year and some hospitals we go to nearly every week.”
False alarms can be very dangerous as it can cause complacency in Hospital
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What they say
"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"
Kevin Bainbridge, Head of Safety & Technical Services[mc4wp_form]