Have you spotted a fire safety hazard?

When you’re out and about do you ever spot a potential hazard? A fire door propped open with a fire extinguisher? A blocked fire exit? An overloaded electrical socket?

Why not take a photograph and send it to www.firescout.co.uk?

This is a website that has been set up to collect images of potential fire risks and potential dangers. It aims to encourage people to consider what measures they might take to make their homes or businesses safer.

The site doesn’t ask you to say where the picture was taken, it’s not about naming and shaming, just raising awareness. Each image is rated for how dangerous it is and whether it breaks the law. It also assesses how much it would cost to put right. Usually nothing.

Take a look. What you see might just make you think.

The Importance of Fire Drills

Fire drills are an important part of your fire safety procedures for many reasons. Not only do they ensure that all staff, customers and visitors to your premises understand what they need to do if there is a fire, but they also help you to test how effective your fire evacuation plan is and to improve certain aspects of your fire provisions.

As well as testing that your fire alarms are working, carrying out a full fire drill will help you to check other equipment such as fire door retainers, which are usually released when a fire alarm sounds. You may wish to also check that your LED emergency lighting works effectively during the fire drill. If you have found that there are problems with your equipment, take immediate steps to replace it or get it fully checked out if it can be repaired. All of our essential fire safety equipment is covered by our free extended five year warranty and we also offer next day shipping to ensure that you get your new or replacement equipment as soon as possible.

Knowing how often to carry out a fire drill will depend on the level of risk that is present in your building, with a minimum of at least once a year. If you have customers on your premises, such as in a shop or restaurant, try and schedule your fire drill for when they are not present or at the least busy times of day, and always advise staff, neighbours and the fire service beforehand (if your alarm system is linked to the fire service).

Jail sentance after waste disposal site fire burnt for a month

Roy Hinchcliffe, who ran a waste disposal site in Scout Hill, Dewsburry, has been jailed for two years.

Mr Hinchcliffe was found guilty of exceeding the storage limit of waste at the site and also for having two other sites where waste was being stored but that did not have a waste storage permit.

A notice had been served on the site at Scout Hill but just days after this the fire occurred.  Fire crews and an aerial appliance attended the blaze on a daily basis for the month’s duration. It is estimated that the total costs to tax payers was in the region of £1.2m.


Squirrels, cute and cuddly or serious contributers to house fires?

A Surrey pest control company, Cleankill Pest Control, has warned home owners to be vigilant for signs of squirrel infestation in lofts.

This rodent finds its way into loft spaces and makes nests there, chewing through electrical cables and roof joists. The company warns that squirrels are very determined rodents and once they have earmarked a loft for nest building are very difficult to evict.

The company claims that March is the onset of a surge of calls to help deal with squirrel infestations in their area. If there are squirrels in your neighbourhood, look for any signs of nesting. Damaged electrical cables can cause a fire, resulting not only in damage to the property but also endangering lives.

To read the full story follow this link: http://www.info4fire.com/news-content/full/squirrels-to-blame-for-serious-house-fires

Training hots up for Scottish firefighters

A new training unit, allowing training to take place in conditions hotter than 750 degrees Celsius, has been opened by the Highland and Islands Fire Board.

The new facility will enable firefighters to practice tackling a room fire and using techniques that will dampen the flames without causing scalding steam. Firefighters will also practice tackling back-draught and flash-overs that can occur when the door of a room containing a fire is opened.

It is hoped that this new training unit, based at Sumburgh Airport, on the Shetland Isles, will combat the rise in firefighter deaths due to situations involving room fires.

View the full story

Do you comply with the Fire Safety Order?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force in October 2006. Nearly 4 years on, prosecutions seem higher than ever with large high street stores and other large organisations being taken to court and  served with substantial fines and costs. Recent examples include New Look, Oxford street £500,000, Tesco £119,000, and Shell International £300,000. The courts don’t just stop at fines and costs: two people are now serving time in jail for breaches under the RR(FS)O.

So the question is, how are small business and companies supposed to comply when the big high street stores seem to struggle. The first thing is to recognise that a fire risk assessments is required by law for virtually all types of premises, from the small corner shop to the big high street stores and don’t just think of shops. Offices, hotels, B&B’s, garages and industrial units all come under the RR(FS)O. In fact there are very few places that don’t come under the order except people’s private dwellings (your home or flat) for example.

Help and advice

There is lots of information out there to help you complete a fire risk assessment and often it’s free. Probably one of the best places to start is the “Communities and Local Government” website. Here you will find 14 guidance documents that will cover all types of premises. These can either be purchased or downloaded for free.

The important thing is to keep the fire risk assessments in proportion to the sizes of your premises; a small corner shop is going to have a very simple fire risk assessment compared to a high street store which has several floors. A B&B will require a detailed fire risk assessments as there are occupants sleeping, so they will need to look in detail into the fire alarm system,  ensuring that it is adequate to wake the occupants if there ever was a fire. There is a booklet specifically written for premises that have paying guests.

Fire authorities, although not there to write your fire risk assessment for you, are usually willing to help with guidance and advice for anyone who is required to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Competent person

As the responsible person of the premises (owner, manager, tenant) you can appoint a competent person to undertake the fire risk assessments on your behalf. This is often done when  the responsible person does not have the necessary knowledge or when they do not have the time to carry out the risk assessment themselves. You must ensure they have adequate training, knowledge and experience before doing so; this could be an employee of the company or a fire safety consultant who is employed to carry out the fire risk assessments on behalf of the business or company.

Other sources of help

If there is a particular issue or something you don’t understand then help can be found on the internet via fire safety forums or health and safety forums. Safelincs have a forum, another forum is “Health and Safety for beginners“.  Here you will often find first safety consultants who are willing to give their advice for free.

The most important thing to do is not to put off getting a fire risk assessment completed. With insurance companies now looking at clients to have a fire risk assessment carried out, you should get one done as soon as possible.