Category: Domestic 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.

 

Put Safety First This Christmas

Christmas is a special time, and this year more than ever we’ll cherish sharing it with our loved ones and reflecting on a challenging few months. Who’d have thought back at the start of 2020 that most of the year would be spent in lockdown, wearing masks outside our homes and praying for a vaccine?

Celebrations are likely to be very different this year for many people and some have taken the opportunity to start the festivities early, putting up lights and decorating their homes. But while the twinkling fairy lights and sparkling decorations can lift spirits at a difficult time, it’s important to make sure safety is a priority to prevent a Christmas disaster.

Incidents of house fires can rise by up to 50% over the festive season, often caused by faulty Christmas lights or overloaded sockets, and exacerbated by an increase in flammable materials in the home. A dry Christmas tree surrounded by gifts wrapped in paper is a lethal combination if a fire starts.

So what can you do to protect your home and your loved ones?

Poor quality or old lights are the biggest risk, so consider investing in new ones from a reputable supplier and check they comply with British safety standards. If you need to replace bulbs, make sure they’re the same type and rating, and don’t use lights with a frayed cable or exposed wire.

Modern LED lights are cool to the touch and pose less of a risk than the traditional filament type because they operate at low voltage and don’t require as much power, but all lights should always be unplugged overnight or when you leave your home unattended.

There’s a temptation to overload sockets and use multiple extension leads to plug in all the fairy lights and illuminated decorations, but overheating can cause fires so limit what you’re plugging in and make sure everything has the correctly rated fuse.

When choosing an imitation tree, buy from a reputable source, ensuring it meets safety standards and is fire retardant. Real trees are less likely to catch fire as long as they’re not allowed to dry out, but be careful when watering your tree if you’re using electric lights – use a residual current device (RCD) to protect yourself from the risk of electric shock.

Never leave young children and pets alone with a Christmas tree. Pets can easily knock things over, especially where there’s limited space, and children can be tempted to touch hot bulbs, climb to reach treats or play with decorations. Extra vigilance is required to prevent an accident – and always check smoke alarms are working and batteries are fresh.

If you’re putting up lights outside your home, check they’re specially designed for outdoor use and make sure they’re plugged into an indoor socket. Always use an RCD – water and electricity don’t mix, and outdoor lights run more risk of becoming damaged.

It’s worth revisiting your family’s fire escape plan so everyone knows what to do if a fire does break out – it’s especially important if you have guests staying who aren’t familiar with your home.

A few simple precautions will ensure you keep your home and your family safe this Christmas. Taking chances just isn’t worth the risk.