Saturday, 21 January 2012

Why Investing In A Smoke Detector Can Save Your Life.

Why Investing In A Smoke Detector Can Save Your Life.

A Smoke alarm or smoke detector have saved lots and lots of lives. Smoke detectors are a first line of protection against fire and can dramatically lower the possibility of dying in a property or home fire. Perhaps though they could be a nuisance when you burn things in the kitchen, A relatively inexpensive domestic smoke alarm sensor can mean that every family member escapes from a burning house without harm. Deterrence and prevention should always be a front line strategy of avoiding home accidents.

Exactly what are they?

A smoke alarm is quite simply an electrical circuit that gets interrupted by particles. A fire sends miniscule particles into the environment, when these very small particles reach the smoke detector they interfere with the electric circuit and signal a microchip. A smoke alarms microchip is programmed to submit a signal to trigger the alarm.

Best places to Install?

•    Mount the smoke detector next to bedrooms - high on a wall or ceiling.
•    Don't install them near air vents.
•    Replace detectors that appear to bebeyond 10 years of age.
•    For the best fire protection put in both the ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors.. One is for fast burning flames and the other for smoldering fires

Types of Smoke Detectors:

There's lots of options available for you to select the ideal smoke alarms for your apartment. They may be Battery Operated Smoke Detectors, 120V AC Hardwire Smoke Alarms, Combination Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Ionization/Photoelectric Smoke Alarms, Smoke Alarms with Relays, Heat Detectors, Photoelectric Smoke Alarms, Strobe Light Modules-For Hearing Impaired and Wireless Smoke Alarm.

What benefits us best ?

Ionization smoke detectors respond first to fast flaming fires. Whilst, Photo electronic smoke detectors respond first to slow smoldering fires. Photo electronic models are best suited for living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. This is because these locations often contain big pieces of furniture, such as sofas, seats, beds, counter tops, etc. that's going to burn slowly as well as more smoldering smoke than flames. These detectors are also less likely to produce nuisance alarms than ionization smoke alarms.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Competency criteria for fire risk assessors released

A document setting out criteria against which the competence of a fire risk assessor can be assessed is now available.
Competency Criteria for Fire Risk Assessors, published by the cross-industry Fire Risk Assessment Council, sets out the criteria that could be used by professional bodies and third party certification bodies to register or certificate fire risk assessors, and by organisations providing fire risk assessment services.
The document sets out broad criteria for fire risk assessors of both “simple buildings” – where the fire risk assessor might, for example, be an employee of the occupier – and “complex buildings”, which will require higher levels of knowledge understanding and preferably experience on the part of the fire risk assessor.
Under the criteria and other than in the case of simple, low risk premises, fire risk assessors would need to show “evidence of specialist training and experience, or membership of a professional body, or certification by a third party certification body.” They would need an appropriate knowledge of:
  • The assessment of risk from fire (appendix A)
  • Applicable legislation (appendix B)
  • Appropriate guidance (appendix C)
  • Behaviour of fire in premises (appendix D)
  • Effects of fire on people and behaviour of people in fire situations (appendix E)
  • Means of escape (appendix F)
  • Fire prevention (appendix G)
  • Fire protection (appendix H – includes passive and active)
  • Management of fire safety (appendix I)
Such knowledge, the document says, can be obtained by academic study, training, working alongside others, short courses, continuing professional development or any combination of these.
“Some members of the business community have suggested that it would be helpful for those who want to use the services of a commercial fire risk assessor to be able to access information on those with an appropriate level of competency in fire risk assessment, to help them comply with the legislation,” says the foreword to the document.
“There has also been growing concern regarding the competence of those who provide these fire risk assessments on a commercial basis (i.e. for a fee). Data from the English fire and rescue service suggests that the main compliance failure leading to enforcement action is a failure by duty holders to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. This is coupled with the emergence of inadequate fire risk assessments for premises that have suffered multiple fatality fires.”
A companion document to help duty holders assess whether they can undertake fire risk assessments in-house or whether they should appoint an external specialist will be available shortly.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Low cost sprinkler initiative ‘scuppered’ by localism agenda

A low-cost and potentially life saving domestic sprinkler programme is under threat after the government has seemingly washed its hands of it.
The 'ultra-low cost' sprinkler initiative, launched in 2004 after BBC presenter and safety campaigner, Nick Ross, challenged the industry to come up with a low cost system based on one in use in New Zealand. The system uses domestic plumbing and does not meet the specification of more expensive systems installed to BS 9251, the code of practice for residential and domestic sprinkler systems.
The original programme envisaged the installation of pilot schemes in five or six fire authorities, which could then be used to provide a cost-benefit analysis comparing them to BS 9251 compliant installations.
Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service has installed 30 domestic sprinkler systems during 2011 with more planned. But the initiative looks like being stymied by lack of government support and water industry failure to accept the ultra low cost FPA design guide. The water industry’s objection is based on the claim that the guide does not satisfy Water Regulations Advisory Scheme criteria over the potential contamination of the mains by stagnant water in short piping ‘deadlegs’, variable mains pressure, and flow choke caused by water metres.
Critics of ultra-low cost systems say they are less reliable than pumped systems installed to recognised standards. But in response Nick Ross said:
“The system would not have been entirely reliable but the price point would have made up for the technical limitations. It is better to save 90% of fire victims with imperfect equipment which is almost universally applied than to save virtually none with 100% dependable automated fire suppression which is rarely installed.
“There have been other advances on sprinklers meanwhile, of course, not least the legislative progress in Wales and Scotland; but I remain deeply frustrated at how the sub-£600 project has been scuppered.”
In February this year, the government said it could not take the project any further as the pilot schemes had not been installed long enough in occupied homes to provide meaningful data. In an email seen by, an official at the Department for Communities and Local Government went on to say that if the fire safety sector wished to undertake more work on low cost sprinklers, they would have to do so themselves, as the government was “committed to localism...and overseeing a fundamental shift of power away from Westminster to those best placed to deliver outcomes”.
Meanwhile, there is a growing campaign aimed at persuading MPs to follow the lead of Wales and pass similar legislation to mandate sprinklers in all new English homes. The Building Regulations (Review) Bill would oblige the secretary of state to conduct a review and impact assessment of a requirement to install automatic fire suppression systems in new residential premises.
The bill, introduced in the Lords by Lord Harrison of Chester, is due for its second reading in the Commons this week. The bill is also backed by former Welsh Secretary Alun Michael MP, who has tabled an Early Day Motion on the subject in parliament.

An e-petition calling for the compulsory installation of sprinklers in all new dwellings has also been set up.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fire Brigade hosts community safety event

London Fire Brigade has hosted a fire safety event helping teach schoolchildren about the hazards that can be found in the home.
The brigade hosted the nation’s biggest national competition, the UK Rescue Challenge London 2011, at the capital’s ExCel arena. In addition, it also ran a Community Safety Village to showcase the work the UK’s biggest fire service carries out in local communities.
On the first day of the two-day event, nearly a thousand schoolchildren from local primary schools across Newham visited the village. They were shown a number of demonstrations, including a schools’ team workshop, a ‘sniffer’ demonstration by the brigade’s fire investigation dogs and a hot fat fire exercise.
A state of the art Hazard House, outfitted by IKEA, was created to help children learn about potential fire hazards in the home.
During the second day, firefighter families and friends from across the UK as well as the general public came along to learn about fire safety and various community initiatives run by the brigade.
London Fire Brigade’s community safety partnerships manager, Kathryn Bloomfield said: “The Community Safety Village was a huge success. We were very pleased with the feedback from both, members of the public and the visiting schools, and are now looking forward to starting Community Safety preparations for next year’s World Rescue Competition, to be hosted by the brigade in 2012.”
Residential fire sprinklers are a great option for home fire safety.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sony LCD televisions pose potential fire threat

elevision owners are being advised to have their small screens checked after reports that they may be a fire hazard.
Sony UK has set up a safety and rework programme after reports that some of its Sony Bravia LCD televisions are at risk of becoming a fire hazard due to faulty components. In Japan, a limited number of products might contain a component affected by a quality issue, which in some cases might over-heat and ignite inside the television.
Those affected are 40-inch models manufactured between 2007 and 2008. Owners of the Sony KDL-40D3400, KDL-40D3500, KDL-40D3550, KDL-40D3660, KDL-40V3000, KDL-40W3000, KDL-40X3000 and KDL-40X3500 are being told to book their televisions in for a free inspection at a Sony service centre.
Sony UK said: “The issue came to our attention through reports in Japan that a limited number of products might contain a component affected by a quality issue, which in a rare number of cases might over-heat and ignite inside the television and possibly result in the melting of the upper casing of the television
“To date, there have been no reports of any damage to other property or physical injuries.”

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Draft risk assessors' guidance on passive fire protection

Draft guidance on passive fire protection for fire risk assessors has been launched for consultation by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection.
The consultation document is aimed at supporting the passive fire protection elements of fire risk assessments under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and its national equivalents in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
According to the association, fire risk assessors have been asking for information in one simple guidance document that uses a common sense approach when evaluating passive fire protection for means of escape.
The consultation closes on 31 October.

Tighter criteria leads to halving of fire risk assessment members

Fire risk assessment membership of the Fire Industry Association has more than halved following the introduction of tougher membership criteria in April.
There are now around 40 member organisations providing fire risk assessment services, compared with the 85 companies listed before the new criteria came into force. Evidence of quality control, insurance and individuals’ competence in now required for membership.
“The change moves the membership closer towards full third party certification, and is a major step forward from the previous declaration to abide by a simple code of practice,” said the FIA.
“The exercise has certainly highlighted that many companies will need to establish quality procedures within their businesses, if they are ever going to be ready for full third party certification. Whilst we have lost 20 or more companies from the list on a permanent basis, we continue to work with another 25 to help them get through the process.”