Keeping your home and family safe from fire

Domestic fires can happen incredibly quickly and have a very serious effect on your life. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that everyone in your family is acutely aware of the aware of dangers of fire and knows how to prevent and, if need be, escape from a fire.

Thankfully, installing basic safety measures in your home and using common sense can help you and your family to stay safe, even in the event of a fire.

Fire prevention
As with many other aspects of life, prevention is always preferable to cure. Happily, there are several things you can do to help prevent a fire in your home. First and foremost, you should get heat or smoke alarms installed, especially in your kitchen and bedrooms. You should also make sure that you have suitable fire extinguishers at hand and that everyone in your family knows how to use them. If you have small children in your home, keep items like matches and lighters well out of the reach of their curious hands.

Fire awareness
You must encourage your family to be aware of the potential fire dangers that can exist in your home. For example, you should: never overload a mains outlet or use more than one multi-plug in a socket. Make sure panhandles are facing inward when on the hob so that they do not get knocked over. Always be super-cautious with flammable liquids and make sure they remain locked up somewhere far away from your children. Keep a look out for electrical wires that have been worn out and immediately replace any that you may find. Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive – however, the important thing is to ensure you and your family are always vigilantly aware of the potential fire dangers that may occur in your home.

Fire evacuation
The most important thing to remember if you find yourself caught in a fire is not to panic. If the fire is relatively small then try to put it out with a suitable extinguisher. If the fire is large (or is spreading); call 999, get down low and use your family’s exit plan to try and get outside. If you can, cover your face with a cloth or towel so that you don’t breath in too much smoke. If you encounter a hot doorknob – do not open the door. A hot doorknob usually indicates that fire is present on the other side of the door. Instead, move away from the door and find an alternative way to exit the house.

By employing suitably preventative measures, remaining vigilantly aware and knowing exactly what to do in an emergency, you can help to ensure your family will remain as safe from the risk of fire as it is possible to be.

Explore our pages further to find out more and view our domestic fire safety products in greater detai

Knowing the Difference between Foam and Powder Fire Extinguishers

Most people know the basics about fire extinguishers. For instance many people know that water-based extinguishers are best used for putting out fires involving solid combustibles like wood, paper and fabric and shouldn’t be utilised anywhere near electrics (unless they contain an additive). Similarly, most people also know that Carbon Dioxide extinguishers can be used to great effect on electrics as well as petrol, oil and solvents.

However, the area where people tend to get confused is with foam and powder extinguishers.

Hopefully, this brief outline of the various attributes and applications of foam and power extinguishers will help to clear up any confusion.

Foam extinguishers
Foam extinguishers are good to have in homes and offices as they are suitable for use on class A solid combustible fires (wood, paper, upholstery) and class B flammable liquid fires (petrol, liquefying plastic, paints). As a rule, foam extinguishers are not to be used on chip pan fires or gas fires.

These extinguishers work by forming a blanket of foam on the burning material, thereby starving a fire of fuel (oxygen). Indeed, the dispersed foam also penetrates deep into burning materials so that it can extinguish deep rooted embers. In addition, the water content of the foam evaporates in the heat and cools the fire down to prevent any risk of re-ignition.

Although dispersed foam presents no immediate risk regarding inhalation, it should be cleaned up as swiftly as possible after dispersal, as the AFFF foams are carcinogenic. Thankfully, the jets on foam extinguishers are able to target relatively small areas therefore most areas are usually quite easy to clean up after dispersal.

Powder extinguishers
Powder extinguishers are the most versatile extinguishers available. Indeed, as well as being suitable for use on class A and B class fires, powder extinguishers can also be used on class C fires (caused by combustion of gasses such as natural gas, propane, hydrogen) and on live electrical equipment. This versatility makes powder extinguishers well-suited to broad range of environments such as workshops, cars, boats and even some homes.

Powder fire extinguishers are more powerful than foam extinguishers; therefore, they are typically smaller than their foam counterparts. Instead of soaking into a burning material, however, powder extinguishers work by forming a crust-like blanket which is able to effectively starve a fire of fuel.

Dispersed powder can be inhaled and therefore care must be taken when it is sprayed. In addition, these types of extinguishers tend to leave a lot of residue behind so there is sometimes a degree of hesitation before powder extinguishers are used within buildings.

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).

Fire Extinguishers Explained

Fire safety training will give you and your employees information about fire protection equipment and when it should be used. One of the most important things to understand are the different fire extinguishers that are available, as using the wrong one could create just as many problems as the fire itself.

There are five different classes of fire risks: A, B, C, D, F. Each class describes a different kind of fire and the fire extinguisher will be clearly labelled with the risk classes they are able to fight. If you are buying fire extinguishers for your property, but are unsure which one you need to install in which areas, then our extinguisher guide should provide you with everything you need to know. Our friendly staff will also be more than happy to help.

Class A: solids such as paper and wood
Class B: liquid fires such as burning petrol (not fat)
Class C: gas fires
Class D: burning metal such as magnesium
Class F: fat fires and deep fat fryer fires

The classes stated on the extinguisher also have a number next to them. The higher the number, the better the fire fighting capability of the extinguisher in this class.

Water extinguishers (colour coded red) are the most widely used and are used on solids such as paper, wood or fabrics. They should not be used on electrical equipment unless they contain an additive. Offices and reception areas are usually equipped with foam extinguishers (cream colour coding) and CO2 extinguishers (colour coded black). CO2 extinguishers will not damage the electrical equipment.

If your building has a kitchen, this will need a wet chemical or an ABF fire extinguisher to deal with fat fires. Other areas with greater fire hazards, such as laboratories, may require powder (coded blue), metal or CO2 fire extinguishers as appropriate depending on the risks involved. Powder extinguishers can be used on solids, flammable liquids or gases.