Fire Alarms UK News June 2020 Compiled By Elite Fire Security of Bristol and Bath
Fire alarms always a very newsworthy topic, unfortunately, often for the wrong reasons. Here is a roundup of the latest news (June 2020) concerning commercial fire alarms in the UK, including what businesses should consider when re-opening after lockdown.
The list of things businesses in the night-time industry must do before reopening
It highlights how much work is involved for business owners to reopen safely, comments “Bristol Live”.
Many late-night businesses will reopen on July 4 2020 after the Government eased lockdown restrictions further.
Boris Johnson gave the green light to pubs and restaurants to reopen, as well as most leisure facilities and tourist attractions including cinemas, museums, galleries and arcades, providing they can do so safely.
In the lead-up to the return of pubs and restaurants a handbook has been published by NDML, a leading insurance firm for venues and the late-night leisure industry, covering health and safety advice, risk management and control advice, wellbeing support and a reopening checklist.
Written in partnership with the Night-Time Industries Association, it goes some way to highlighting the amount of work business owners in the night-time industry, which comprises restaurants, bars and nightclubs, must undertake before they can think about throwing their doors open again.
“We’ve been waiting months for our industry to be allowed to reopen so our industry can get back on its feet,” it says in the guide, which is directed at venue owners.
“But don’t let your enthusiasm to get back to work, leave you exposed to unnecessary risk.
“The situation surrounding COVID-19 means that there are likely to be new pressures, and things to consider, to make sure your venue is safe for both staff and customers.”
The guide, which can be read in full here, includes a reopening checklist broken up into three categories, outlining 25 things business owners should do before customers return.
The guide states: “As well as taking into account specific COVID-19 related actions you should be taking before reopening, it’s important to make sure your premises are still up to scratch, to make sure there are no nasty surprises when you turn on the water or fire up your heating.
“Run through our opening checklist below, to make sure your venue is in tip-top condition, ready to welcome your first customers back.”
Re-Opening After Lockdown: Buildings and external spaces
- Check all escape routes are reinstated, fire doors operable, communal escapes accessible and back to normal with all security/lockdown measures removed.
- Ensure fire safety equipment (e.g. extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinklers) are in place, operable, in-service date and tested where necessary.
- Check Intruder Alarm is operable, in-service date and tested where necessary.
- Check any fuel supplies required are checked to be in good order and safely turned back on.
- Make sure emergency arrangements with third parties (e.g. landlords, adjacent tenants, etc.) are back in place with any changes agreed and documented.
- Ensure first aid stocks are available and in date, with any AED’s operable.
- Put heating and cooling equipment settings and controls back into normal operation.
- Check any other building service controls are set back to normal operation with service and maintenance in date.
- Check electrical and/or plant rooms are clear of any combustibles/flammables / etc.
- Consider the recommissioning of water systems. Ensure you are not at risk of legionella (read more here).
Check for any damage, water ingress, damaged pipes, and ensure fences and gates secure (no signs of break-in/damage), with no fly tipping or waste build-up
Re-Opening After Lockdown: Operational
- Re-order any hazardous/valuable stock with reduced levels as part of dormancy measures, ensuring storage and security facilities are in a good state of repair.
- If any catering facilities are to be provided, ensure catering equipment/extraction ductwork / etc. are properly cleaned and recommissioned.
- Check Hot Work Permits/Risk Assessments etc. are all updated and in place for a return to work
- Check suitable coverage of trained staff where there is a phased return to work.
- Ensure an adequate number of Fire Marshalls / First Aiders / etc. are back in the business
- Ensure procedures and property is in compliance with your insurance cover and notify brokers on details of any business changes.
- Ensure stock of PPE relevant for the control of COVID-19 (e.g. face masks/gloves) where necessary.
- Put in place a comprehensive social distancing plan to ensure employee safety.
- Undertake a full COVID-19 site risk assessment to control any potential exposure to employees or the public.
- Implement COVID-19 awareness procedures to identify symptoms and isolate potential incidents to avoid spread.
- Review cleaning procedures and adapt as necessary to increase efficacy against the spread of
Re-Opening After Lockdown: Covid-19
- Inform contractors/suppliers/customers that you intend to reopen your premises.
- If accepting cash payments, re-instate adequate float and money handling procedures.
- Check licensing requirements of your local council in case there are any COVID-19 stipulations imposed on license holders.
Re-Opening After Lockdown: Elite Fire Security
Elite Fire and Security can check, service and/or maintain your fire alarm and/or intruder alarm ready for you to re-open your business after the lockdown. We are prioritising new and existing customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Our teams are working around the clock to ensure Bristol and Bath businesses are safe to re-open and get back to earning an income. Call today on 0333 577 1230.
IOS 14: IPHONE CAN NOW ALERT YOU TO DANGEROUS SOUNDS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE NOTICED
iPhones can now start alerting users when they hear a sound that could be putting them in danger, reports Andrew Griffin in The Independent
A new setting in the upcoming software update – iOS 14, which was revealed this week and scheduled for release later in the year – gives the phone new “sound recognition” features.
It means that the phone will continuously listen out for particular sounds, and alert its user if it hears them.
Those sounds can include everything from a cat to a fire alarm.
The feature is part of Apple’s wide accessibility features, intended to be used by deaf people who might not otherwise be able to hear important or dangerous events.
It can be found within the Settings app and by clicking into the Accessibility option from there.
The feature is explicit about the fact that all of the listening and processing will be done on the device, with no audio being sent off to Apple. The company does the same with its always-on “Hey, Siri” feature, to ensure that the microphone is not collecting private audio and sending it to Apple.
“Your iPhone will continuously listen for certain sounds, and using on-device intelligence, will notify you when sounds may be recognised,” the description reads.
“Sound Recognition should not be relied upon on in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation.”
Users can pick through a long list of sounds, choosing which of them should be recognised and trigger an alert.
They include alarms, such as sirens or those for fires; cats and dogs; households noises such as doorbell being rung or running water; and “people noises”, which includes babies crying and shouting.
Students saved by smoke alarms when a fire broke out in the kitchen at Preston student halls
Residents at a student flat in Brook Street were saved by the smoke alarms when a fire broke out in the kitchen, reports Rachel Smith in Preston News.
An unattended pan caught fire in the communal kitchen at Foundry Court at 11 am on Friday, June 5.
Four firefighters entered the property wearing breathing apparatus and used a hose reel to extinguish the fire. A ventilation unit was also used to clear the smoke from the property.
All the occupants were outside the building by the time the fire crews arrived, however, there was severe smoke damage to the kitchen and further smoke damage to the lounge and first-floor corridor.
An LFRS spokesperson said: “All persons were already out of the property on the arrival of the Fire Service, which demonstrates the importance of having working smoke detectors fitted to provide an early warning to occupiers.”
- Pans should never be left unattended when cooking.
- Smoke alarms not only save lives but can also minimise substantial damage to your home.
- Every home should have at least one fitted and working.
- Remember to regularly test your smoke alarms at least once a week.
Long Eaton junior school destroyed in a large fire
A primary school has been wrecked in a fire which sent huge plumes of black smoke into the ask, reports the BBC.
Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze at Harrington Junior School, in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, which broke out at about 12:10 BST.
Two firefighters were taken to hospital but their injuries are not serious.
In a statement, the school said there were no pupils in the building at the time but staff had been left “heartbroken” by the blaze.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said everyone was “safe and accounted for”.
Police are also at the scene and have urged people to avoid the area where possible.
Gavin Tomlinson, Derbyshire’s chief fire officer, said it was a “tragic loss to the community” and “50 firefighters tried really hard to save it”.
An investigation at Harrington Sch has concluded that the fire was accidental, most likely caused by hot works taking place on site.
Schools are the heart of communities; our thoughts go to all affected by the loss of the school ❤️ #LongEaton
— Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (@DerbyshireFRS) May 29, 2020
A spokesman said the injured firefighters were in the first crew on-site and were hurt as they tried to get into the building.
They added an investigation into the cause would begin as soon as it was safe to do so.
Schools in England, which had been open only to vulnerable children and those of key workers during the pandemic, are due to open more widely next week.
But the plans have sparked concerns from teaching unions, headteachers and many local authorities.
Former pupil Polly Barton, 15, lives nearby and saw the fire not long after it started.
“I was just in my room and I noticed these orange flames and big clouds of smoke so I just shouted into the garden to my stepdad Daniel ‘fire, fire’.
“They came up and had a look and it was just big clouds of black smoke and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she said.
Adrian Webster, who attended the school as a child, said he had heard “several small explosions” which sounded like “pops”.
“The fire alarms are still audible from the main road here,” he added.
Dave Holloway, 42, has two children at the school and said they were both upset.
He added: “If the building is unsafe and unstable and the kids can’t go back that will be awful.
“My children are both very much looking forward to going back to school as soon as they can.”
Nearby Derby Road was closed in both directions, causing delays on some bus routes.
Local councillor Dan Pitt tweeted: “Terribly sad scenes at Harrington Junior School which is usually a lovely and vibrant school.”
Interruptions to the power supply mean nearby Wilsthorpe secondary school will also be closed on Friday.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue cuts
Forget birds trapped in netting and look into charging a fee for lift rescues.
These are among potential changes to the way a fire service will operate if planned cuts go ahead, reports Samuel Brooke in The Argus.
Fire chiefs are now debating proposals to cut engines and firefighters from Sussex stations.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority’s controversial five-year plan for its service was put to the public in April.
The consultation ended on Friday. Councillors are now considering public opinion before they make a decision on the plan in September.
The Fire Brigades Union and Sussex MPs Maria Caulfield and Lloyd Russell-Moyle have all voiced opposition to the cuts.
The biggest change would leave six fire stations unmanned at weekends: Battle, Bexhill, Crowborough, Lewes, Newhaven and Uckfield.
Currently, these stations use “day-crewing” systems. This means staff work a mix of hours in the station and on-call each day, so stations are manned seven days a week.
But fire chiefs want to replace this with a “day only” system. This means the stations will be manned on weekday daytime only.
At evenings and weekends, all firefighters would only work on call. This means response times would increase for weekend daytime incidents.
Fire chiefs predict firefighters will respond more slowly to 84 weekend incidents a year in Bexhill if the plans go ahead. Slower response times on weekends are also expected for 58 incidents in Lewes per year and 61 incidents in Newhaven each year.
The move is expected to cut up to 33 firefighters from these stations. These firefighters would be used in other teams “subject to financial challenges”, the plan claims.
Meanwhile, The Ridge station in Hastings would be converted into a “day-crew” station. This means it will not be staffed full time as it is now.
The move is expected to increase response times in the area for 64 night-time incidents a year.
The plan also proposes cutting a fire engine each from Battle, Bexhill, Crowborough, Lewes, Newhaven, Rye, and Uckfield stations.
This means engines from other stations would have to pitch in if an incident in these areas required more than one vehicle. But the plan claims this usually happens during the daytime anyway as often not enough on-call firefighters are available. Meanwhile a second engine would be added to the Hastings Bohemia Road station.
Plan proposes responding to fewer types of incidents
Firefighters would no longer free birds trapped in netting if the plans go ahead.
The service would also delay its responses to broken lifts “where people are not vulnerable or in distress”. It would look at charging a fee for attending these calls, subject to public consultation.
Finally, the plan proposes firefighters no longer respond automatically to automatic fire alarms in “low-risk” commercial premises. The service claims 95 per cent of automatic alarm calls are false alarms. It would also look at charging for responding to these incidents, subject to public consultation.
The fire authority claims these changes would increase fire service coverage to 92 per cent of East Sussex’s population, up from 75 per cent.
Elite Fire Security is a Bristol-based fire alarm, security alarm, access control and CCTV repair, service and installation company. Working throughout the South West and South East England. Call today on 0333 577 1230.