Category: Commercial Fire

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Fire Safety – How To Make Sure You Use A Verified Professional

Whether you’re a homeowner or a company director, it’s important to ensure you choose a qualified, verified and reputable professional to install and manage your fire detection and alarm systems. After all, it could be a matter of life or death…

Many people mistakenly think their regular electrician can carry out the work but fire systems necessitate a comprehensive understanding of what is required to meet stringent safety standards, especially in a work environment such as a factory, office building or workshop.

Investing in home fire safety is just as important. According to the government’s ‘Fire Kills’ campaign, you are around eight times more likely to die from a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm in your home. Someone is killed by fire every six days in the UK and cooking is the main cause, with faulty electrics close behind.

 

As a business owner, there are regulations that must be followed to keep your staff safe. Anyone responsible for a non-domestic premises, such as a landlord, guesthouse owner or building facilities manager, must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly
  • tell staff or their representatives about risks that have been identified
  • put in place, and maintain appropriate fire safety measures
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training

Failure to comply with the requirements carries penalties including fines and imprisonment so it’s not worth taking a risk. But how do you find a qualified and verified professional who can carry out the work?

BAFE accreditation provides reassurance that a contractor’s work has been independently assessed and meets a rigorous set of conditions. The BAFE scheme has been established for more than 25 years and is recognised as the industry standard for fire protection.

Assessment by an engineer is followed by an audit by a technical expert before certification is awarded, ensuring the highest standards are maintained. BAFE accreditation covers design, installation, commissioning and handover plus maintenance of systems, whether in a home or a large commercial premises.

So how can you check if a contractor is BAFE registered? There’s a simple online tool on the BAFE website – just enter basic information such as the company name or location and one click will tell you if they’re verified.

Maidstone’s Absolute Protection Group is proud to be a BAFE-accredited contractor for fire detection and alarm systems. The firm was established in 2017 by David McKeown who was frustrated by the poor customer service he witnessed in the industry. After 15 years of experience, David was determined to set up a business offering exceptional quality at a fair price, and no job is too big or too small.

David has achieved BAFE certification for Absolute Protection Group, offering the ultimate standard in the fire protection industry. The company is also CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) accredited and all Absolute engineers are DBS checked and registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office).

Absolute’s bespoke approach takes account of the customer’s individual budget and specific requirements. Whether it’s a small business or a large commercial premises, Absolute always provides the same careful attention to detail.

Services include:

  • Fire safety plans
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Basic staff fire training
  • Fire alarms
  • Fire detection, suppression and air sampling systems
  • Emergency lighting
  • Fire maintenance packages
  • Legal and regulatory fire compliance

Whatever your fire safety needs call 01622 437838 or email for more information.

 

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FIRE SAFETY – IT’S TIME TO CHECK!

For most businesses the pandemic has brought about changes to the way they operate, whether it’s staff working from home, rearranging office space to socially distance desks or revising processes and procedures to ensure Covid-safe practices are in place.

All these changes have been made to improve the safety of the business for employees, clients and customers and prevent the spread of the virus. But it’s important to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on fire safety.

As things start to get back to normal and more people return to the work environment, business owners need to ask themselves if their premises are safe from the risk of fire. A little time invested now could prevent a catastrophic event in future that could jeopardise the business.

So what do you need to consider?

Fire Risk Assessments

Every business employing five or more people has a legal requirement to complete a fire risk assessment which should be reviewed when changes occur that could significantly affect the plans that have been put in place.

Any changes could also impact insurance policies so it’s worth taking time to carefully check and review.

Office Reorganisation

The requirement for social distancing means many workplaces have been reorganised so that desks and workstations are two metres apart. For some this has meant utilising previously unused spaces, adding new partitions, and introducing one-way systems to change the flow of people through an area.

These changes could affect safety systems such as smoke and heat detectors, emergency lighting and sprinklers so it’s vital to get these checked and serviced by a competent engineer to ensure they still are working and fit for purpose.

Exit Routes

Reorganisation of the internal space means staff may now take a different route to exit the building in an emergency so this must be rehearsed with regular fire drills to familiarise people with any changes. Staff may be working in different areas of the building and special arrangements like buddy systems for those with issues such as mobility problems should be reviewed.

With so many internal changes it’s important to ensure exits are kept clear and self-closing fire doors are checked to ensure they work properly.

Fire Marshals

Fire marshals play an important role in safety and changes to working hours and people’s locations could mean plans need to be updated. If more staff are working from home, are some of them trained fire marshals who would be needed in an emergency? It may be necessary to train more marshals and draw up rotas to ensure adequate cover is provided in your business.

Covid-safe Fire Action Plan

Fire drills need to be carried out while maintaining Covid-safe protocols, so staff should maintain social distancing where possible when exiting the building and should remain distanced at the assembly point while government restrictions remain in place.

Absolute Protection Group can help review your fire safety plans and ensure your business is fully covered. Click here for further information or call 01622 437838 to book an appointment.

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Stay Protected With A Maintenance Contract

Installing systems such as security cameras and fire alarms to safeguard your business premises is an important step but maintaining the systems themselves is just as crucial.

An alarm that repeatedly goes off or CCTV cameras that are too dirty to record a clear image won’t provide effective protection, so how can you ensure you’re fully covered 24-7?

Putting a maintenance contract in place not only offers peace of mind, it also prevents unexpected bills for breakdowns and repairs and ensures you’re complying with health and safety regulations. It’s easy to forget when a security alarm service is due or a fire system needs its annual check, but failure to maintain safety and security systems can have serious consequences.

If you don’t carry out maintenance as required, it could invalidate your insurance policy in the case of an incident. And a fire alarm that doesn’t sound in an emergency could be catastrophic, so why not put it all in the hands of an expert?

At Absolute Protection Group we offer maintenance contracts for a wide range of security and fire safety equipment such as intruder alarms and CCTV cameras, door entry systems, fire alarms, automatic gates and barriers, and fire extinguishers.

A contract means we’ll visit to carry out regular maintenance checks and services at pre-arranged times to make sure all your systems and equipment are working properly, and we’re on call if you have an issue such as a barrier that’s stuck or an alarm that won’t stop sounding.

Legally, fire safety systems must be maintained by a competent person, from the servicing and commissioning of fire extinguishers to checks on smoke detectors and alarms. It is recommended in BS5839-1 that maintenance is completed every 6 months after commissioning. If you need training on how to use your fire system we can support with that too.

There are lots of rules and regulations relating to building safety and security so it’s worth taking expert advice to ensure you’ve got everything covered. A break-in or a fire can have a devastating impact so take action before it’s too late.

Not only will you have peace of mind that your fire detection and alarm systems will operate in an emergency, maintenance contracts can also save you money. Non-contracted call-outs can be costly and regular servicing can also ensure that your systems operate efficiently for the lifetime of the technology avoiding costly components.

Absolute Protection Group has the expertise and experience to look after all your needs, from the design and installation of systems to maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. We work with businesses of all sizes, from small shops to large industrial units, and we offer prices to suit all budgets.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation survey. If you’ve already got a maintenance contract, we’ll do our best to beat the price and save you money. We’re confident you’ll be 100% happy with our service so call 01622 437838 for more details.

Need a winter security check-up?

With winter just around the corner and daylight hours fading fast, it’s a good time to review home and commercial security to make sure you’re well protected.

Businesses are often left empty for longer periods over Christmas, but this year COVID restrictions mean staff are frequently working from home and more premises than ever are unoccupied.

Empty buildings pose many risks for businesses, including fire and burglary. Making sure you have carefully considered all the dangers and put plans in place to counteract them is crucial, taking into account your specific circumstances such as location, visibility and ease of access.

Pandemic restrictions mean fewer people may be passing or on the nearby streets, providing opportunities for criminal activity to go undetected.

Similarly, home security should be a priority over the winter months when darkness allows burglars to go unnoticed and the value of contents increases with Christmas buying.

People often believe burglary will never happen to them, but putting measures in place such as alarms and security cameras is a cost-effective way of protecting your property – and it can also have financial benefits such as lower insurance premiums.

With commercial buildings, there are so many options when exploring security systems that it’s difficult to know what you need, and you can end up spending money unnecessarily or buying something that isn’t fit for purpose. Technology changes rapidly and, unless you’re very savvy, it can be tricky to understand.

Taking expert advice at the very beginning ensures the system fulfils your requirements and takes into account your specific circumstances and any operational nuances.

Absolute Protection Group’s experts can provide a free site survey to carefully analyse your needs and come up with a plan that fits with your requirements and budget, whether you’re a small company with a single location or a multi-site business with complex demands.

Our extensive experience and knowledge, plus dedication to an exceptional level of service for all customers, means we’re perfectly placed to help you make the right choice.

We cover everything from design and installation to the monitoring and maintenance of your system – and we offer a two-year warranty on most new installations as well as maintenance contracts for peace of mind.

We can install intruder alarms, key fob and biometric entry systems, automatic gates and barriers and bespoke CCTV, using the latest app technology so you can remotely connect and monitor your business premises from any location at the touch of a button.

Our in-depth survey allows us to make bespoke recommendations for your premises, such as security lighting in dark areas or specialist movement-activated cameras to capture photo or video images when activity is detected.

We can design a system as unique as your business’s requirements and can adapt it to your budget, making sure you’re fully protected round the clock. Our engineers are on call 24/7 and will generally be on-site in around 45 minutes when called.

Domestic security requirements are usually less complex but no less important. A burglary at home can have long-lasting and devastating effects and victims often say they never feel safe again after a break-in.

Putting simple security measures in place can offer peace of mind and reassurance, especially if your home is often left unattended or you work night shifts or irregular hours.

We can offer an array of high tech solutions to keep your house and contents safe when you’re away from home, with simple-to-use controls that can be accessed from a phone or mobile device.

Our experts will assess your domestic needs in exactly the same way as our commercial site visits and will recommend the best solution for your property. Our visiting engineers are all DBS checked and will operate with the highest possible standards to ensure you and your family stay safe.

We prioritise safe working, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and comply with all the latest government regulations and restrictions. We are accredited to CHAS (the Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) and are insured for public liability and indemnity.

Once your system is installed, our service and maintenance packages are a cost-effective way to ensure it is working effectively, year-in, year-out. And we’ll happily review your requirements if things change and recommend any refinements or upgrades.

So whether you’re a business with site security concerns or a homeowner who wants to review household security, get in touch and we’ll give you a free assessment and offer bespoke recommendations. Click here for more information and to book a site survey.

Fire Safety – Protecting Your Business

A fire in a commercial premises can have devastating and long-lasting effects. The immediate trauma and destruction are harrowing, and the cost to your business is potentially catastrophic – and if you haven’t met your legal obligations, the consequences could be even more profound.

Every year there are around 20,000 commercial fires in the UK. Kent firefighters have battled big blazes in commercial buildings in recent months, including a tyre recycling plant in Ashford and a furniture warehouse in Crayford. Both of these fires completely destroyed the buildings and seriously impacted neighbouring businesses and homes.

Government data shows that three quarters of fires in business premises are started by accident. The most common causes are electrical faults, such as overloaded sockets and poorly-maintained equipment, smoking and misuse of equipment.

So how can you ensure you adequately protect yourself, your staff and premises against the risk of fire? And what does the law say you must do?

Every business has a legal requirement to do a fire risk assessment, which must be documented if there are five or more employees. This must be completed by a competent person, should identify fire risks and hazards, and be regularly reviewed and updated.

Many businesses never recover after a major fire, so diligent risk assessment and prevention make commercial sense. Plus business owners and those responsible for premises can be fined – or even imprisoned – if they don’t meet their legal obligations.

So once you’ve assessed the risks and drawn up your assessment, what else do you need to do?

Your staff are your eyes and ears when it comes to fire safety. Fire marshals should be appointed, with the number dependent on head count, building layout and risk. In an office environment, one warden per around 20 staff would be appropriate.

It’s important that marshals are professionally trained and fully briefed on their responsibilities, which may include checking fire extinguishers, organising fire drills and giving new staff training in fire safety awareness. All staff must receive regular training and be aware of your fire safety procedures – this not only protects themselves and their colleagues but also YOUR business.

Fire-fighting equipment must be provided, and it’s crucial that staff know how to use it. Extinguishers require an annual maintenance test and high-risk premises, such as those using flammable materials, may need a sprinkler system or special hose reels.

Fire safety signs are also important, signposting exits and locations of extinguishers and alarms. These are legal requirements so it’s crucial to know what’s needed – and where. Fire doors must be clearly marked with the appropriate signage and fire assembly points must be clearly identified.

Fire alarms are not compulsory in smaller premises, but for most businesses an alarm system is recommended. Emergency lighting should also be installed to guide staff to safety if the main lighting fails.

As you can see, fire safety is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and a bespoke approach depending on your commercial activities. For more advice, Absolute Protection Group has over 75 years’ experience and can help with compliance, fire training, fire alarms, testing of electrical equipment and more. Click here for further information.