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Win a Dorgard SmartSound this Fire Door Safety Week

Win a Dorgard SmartSound this Fire Door Safety Week

To support Fire Door Safety Week’s campaign to banish the dangerous fire door wedge forever, Fireco is giving away 10 Dorgard SmartSounds.

To be in with a chance of winning your free Dorgard SmartSound, tweet us pictures of any wedged open fire doors you’ve spotted. Enter as many times as you wish, and tweet the images to @Fireco using #ClickItKickIt

The #ClickItKickIt campaign asks people that have spotted a wedged open fire door to click it (take a picture) and then kick it (remove the wedge).

Don’t use Twitter? No problem. Just send us an email with your photo attached. Send your entry to marketing@fireco.uk

We’ll announce the winners on Twitter or notify you by email.

Life-saving technology

Dorgard SmartSound holds your fire doors open legally and safely, releasing them to close when the fire alarm sounds. It has improved noise recognition with SmartSound technology, so can distinguish between your fire alarm and common background noises, such as vacuum cleaners.

Legally holding your fire door open protects it from damage and prolongs its life. As the door is automatically released when the alarm sounds, the spread of fire and smoke is prevented.

Fire Door Safety Week runs from the 24th to the 30th September 2018. It raises awareness of the critical role of fire doors, particularly of the importance of good installation and maintenance. Building owners and users should check the operation and condition of their fire doors and report those that are unsatisfactory.

Click here for more information on Fire Door Safety Week.

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Why are sheltered housing residents damaging fire door closers?

Why are sheltered housing residents damaging fire door closers?

Visiting customers over the past few weeks, something that has come up in conversation is the problem of residents damaging or disabling fire door closers. This is not only a safety issue, it invalidates insurance and can lead to big fines for non-compliance with fire regulations.

In sheltered housing, many front doors are fire doors and therefore fitted with door closers. This ensures the door will be closed in the event of a fire, and the spread of fire and smoke will be prevented. Residents will then have more time to evacuate safely, or can remain in a fire safe compartment until the emergency services arrive.

This is particularly important in sheltered accommodation as older residents may have slower reaction times when the fire alarm sounds. Those that have mobility issues will take longer to evacuate.

However self-closing fire doors are heavy and difficult to open. Residents may find it difficult to get in and out of their flats.

The frustration of struggling to open their front door has led some residents to break or disengage door closers. Though understandable, this is dangerous and against fire regulations. If a fire does break out, an open fire door will cause fire and smoke to spread rapidly, putting residents at risk.

To solve this problem, councils often install unnecessary, expensive automatic door operators for these residents to use. A much cheaper option is Freedor.

Residents of Adlington House improved safety and access in their apartment block with Freedor. Click here to find out more

Freedor is a free-swing door closer that takes the weight and closing force out of fire doors. It has built-in technology to automatically close the door when the fire alarm sounds. It’s fully compliant with fire regulations and solves the problem of residents disabling door closers.

As Freedor has removed the weight and closing force of the fire door, all the stress of dealing with fire doors has been removed, and residents can come and go as they please.

Freedor is wireless, so can quickly and easily be fitted to existing sheltered housing units. A key advantage with the wireless systems is the lack of disruption. Freedor can be fitted with residents still in their flats, with minimal restorative works to walls and doors required.

Freedor also safely and legally holds fire doors open at any angle, so if a resident wishes to have their door open, they can.

It’s important that sheltered housing residents do not have their quality of life impeded by the need for fire safety. Fitting Freedor offers them the freedom to live their lives as they wish, without worry.

Main image courtesy of Fire Door Inspectors @firedoorguy

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Fire warden checklist

Fire warden checklist

Fire wardens have an important role to play in any business. They’re not only responsible for helping people evacuate during a fire drill, they also assist in emergency procedure planning and fire prevention.

In 2017-18 there were 11,141 accidental fires in non-domestic properties. Most fires are preventable, and fire wardens have a part to play in day-to-day fire safety, checking for any fire hazards or risks.

Have you been given the role of fire warden? Our handy checklist will give you the rundown of everything you need to know.

What are the duties of a fire warden in the workplace?

Emergency planning

In any business, the person known as the Responsible Person has legal responsibility for fire safety. The Responsible Person is usually the employer and can assign fire safety duties to other people, including fire wardens.

As a fire warden you may be asked to carry out a fire risk assessment.This has five steps:

  1. Identify fire hazards
  2. Identify anyone at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risk
  4. Record findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
  5. Regularly revisit the fire risk assessment in case it needs updating.

Even if you’re not responsible for completing the fire risk assessment, it’s important to keep these steps in mind when considering fire safety in your building.

Our blog has more detailed information about fire risk assessments.

Fire prevention and safety

Day-to-day, fire wardens can check the following:

  • Fire doors are undamaged and not wedged open. If they are wedged open, remove the wedges. If closed fire doors cause access issues, install hold-open devices that release doors to close on the sound of the fire alarm
  • Emergency escape routes are clearly signed
  • Fire exits and escape routes are not blocked
  • Firefighting equipment, e.g. fire extinguishers and fire blankets, are stored correctly and not missing or damaged
  • Emergency lighting is working
  • Rubbish is safely stored away and not overflowing
  • Sockets are not overloaded and electrical equipment does not have frayed wiring

Other responsibilities:

  • Lead fire drills at least once a year
  • Fire safety training for all new staff
  • Ensure everyone is familiar with the evacuation procedure
  • Make sure fire alarms and smoke alarms are tested weekly

Taking charge in an emergency

When the fire alarm sounds:

  • Phone emergency services if required
  • Direct everyone to the nearest exit, not using the lifts
  • Assist those that need it, e.g. wheelchair users
  • Fight fire if safe to do so
  • Check everywhere to ensure all have evacuated, including toilets
  • Close doors
  • Guide everyone to assembly area and roll call
  • Ensure everyone is accounted for

How many fire wardens do we need?

In a normal risk premises the following applies:

Fewer than 20 employees: at least one fire warden

20-75 employees: at least two fire wardens

For every additional 75: one additional fire warden

It’s important to remember that all shifts must be adequately covered, so you may have to nominate additional fire wardens to ensure there are enough for each shift.

For higher risk premises, such as care homes, more fire wardens are required. Specific details are available in our care home fire safety blog.

Further information

Fire statistics data tables

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Most fires are preventable. It’s important to explore the most common causes of fire so that the appropriate prevention measures can be put in place.

How do fires start?

For a fire to start it needs a source of ignition, a source of fuel and a source of oxygen. For example, if a smoker falls asleep with a cigarette still lit, and sets fire to the sofa, the cigarette is the source of ignition, the material on the sofa is the source of fuel and the air is the source of oxygen. Unchecked, this fire will spread quickly.

To prevent fire, sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen need to be kept apart as much as possible. Obviously this is difficult for oxygen, as it is in the air all around us, but it’s important to always think carefully about what possible sources of ignition are in your building, as well as thinking about what will allow a fire to spread once it has been ignited.

Common causes of fire

According to Fire and Rescue statistics from 2016/17, the four most common causes of accidental fires in non-dwelling properties were:

1. Faulty appliances and leads
2. Faulty fuel supply
3. Misuse of equipment or appliances
4. Placing articles too close to heat

Faulty appliances and leads

Examples of this most common cause of fire include:

  • Frayed wiring
  • Overloaded sockets
  • Old appliances
  • Damaged plugs
  • Faulty appliances

Prevention tips

Damaged wiring can overheat and cause sparks. If you spot frayed wiring or overloaded sockets, these need to be replaced/removed. It’s important that appliances are regularly checked by an electrician. Annual portable appliance testing (PAT) needs to be done. Replace any faulty equipment and keep an eye out for any product recalls.

Faulty fuel supply

Examples include:

  • Gas leaks
  • Electrical supply problem
  • Defective fuel supply to an electrical appliance
  • Leaking fuel e.g. petrol in a garage

Prevention tips

Regular servicing of all electricity and gas appliances is essential. Make sure everything works correctly, and if not you’ll need to replace with new and safe appliances. Make sure any repair work is carried out by a qualified heating engineer or electrician.

Any spills must be cleaned thoroughly, particularly if hot work takes place in your workplace.

Misuse of equipment or appliances

Examples of this include:

  • Spills on electrical equipment
  • Phones left to charge too long
  • Portable heaters left on
  • Dirty ovens and microwaves
  • Lint tray in tumble dryer

Prevention tips

Switch off electrical equipment when not in use, at the wall if possible. Unplug if you can. Don’t put something hot near something that can catch fire and keep drinks away from electrical equipment to avoid dangerous spills.

In the kitchen, make sure cooking is never left unattended. Keep ovens and microwaves clean, as grease and dirt can cause fires. Toasters often set off the fire alarm unnecessarily so keep these on a low browning setting and regularly empty the crumb tray.

Make sure appliances are regularly checked and serviced. Tumble dryers are a common source of fire, so clean the lint tray daily.

Keep areas tidy, as dirt and dust on electrical equipment can cause it to overheat. Make sure your building is cleaned regularly.

Placing articles too close to heat

Examples include:

  • Tea towel near cooking appliances
  • Candles knocked over
  • Tin foil at bottom of oven
  • Clothes on heater

Prevention tips

Keep in mind that It’s not just heaters and ovens that generate heat, electrical equipment does too.

Ensure paper is placed or stored away from anything that generates heat. Don’t put clothes on heating devices. Avoid using tin foil on or near the bottom of the oven as this can ignite. Common sense is all you need for this one, if it’s something that gets hot, store anything flammable away from it.

Deliberate fires

It’s also important to consider the possibility of arson. Install sprinkler systems where possible, and have CCTV as a deterrent. Don’t give intruders anything they can set fire to; keep rubbish locked away and inaccessible.

Before leaving for the day, make sure your building is securely locked, and that all windows are closed.

Examples of fuel sources in the workplace

  • Paper
  • Textiles (curtains, carpets etc)
  • Rubbish and waste
  • Flammable substances (paint, cleaning materials, solvents)

Safety measures to prevent fire

Flammable substances should be safely stored away from anything that can cause fire to spread, preferably in a locked cupboard.

Don’t forget about the dangers of smoking. Keep the smoking area well away from the main building and provide a place for cigarettes to be thoroughly extinguished.

Make sure your business has an up-to-date fire risk assessment. This includes a written record of potential sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen and how you can reduce or remove any risks.

By keeping your risk assessment up-to-date, and running regular fire safety training, you can keep everyone informed and safe.

Further information

Fire and rescue statistics

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