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“Protect your business by being proactive” – Q&A with Darren Young

“Protect your business by being proactive” – Q&A with Darren Young

For Fire Door Safety Week 2020, we contacted Darren Young Managing Director at 1st Aid Fire to discuss all things fire doors!

Darren has worked in the fire industry for over 30 years. He followed in the footsteps of his father, brothers and cousins which led him to begin his career in the Royal Air Force Fire Service at 20 years of age. He is now Managing Director for 1st Aid Fire who specialise in first aid training, fire training and fire risk assessments.

From the opinion of someone who works in fire safety, why are fire doors so important?

Fire doors complete compartmentation and when fitted and maintained correctly they will help save lives and property. Too many people see fire doors as being normal doors which leads to them thinking it’s ok to wedge/prop them open. A fire door is only a fire door if it is shut. If a fire door is wedged open, it is just a hole in the wall allowing a fire to spread. Fire doors save lives – FACT!

What importance do you think Fire Door Safety Week has for not only the fire industry but also the users of fire doors?

We all know that fire safety can be a complex subject and Fire Door Safety Week gives people the chance to access information they may not have necessarily considered before. People can take part in events, some of which are CPD, and then they can apply the information they’ve gained to carry out checks with the correct knowledge. The fire industry is a fast-paced industry with new products coming out all the time. FDSW gives service providers the opportunity to showcase new products for all users to see so they can decide which option is best for them.

What are the most common fire door compliance issues you come across on the job?

Once a door is fitted correctly, general maintenance should keep a fire door compliant for quite some time. The common compliance issues I come across are mostly due to fire doors not being maintained. The main things to check for is:

  • The self-closing device closes the door fully and by itself.
  • The seal is in place and is not damaged in any way.
  • The recommended gap between the fire door and the frame does not exceed the current standards (Side and top of a fire door 3mm recommended; max 4mm. The bottom of a fire door 10mm gap to allow for undulating floors, devices can be bought to keep this gap down too)

Do you feel that people face any barriers when it comes to maintaining fire door compliance?

The main barrier that people see is the cost! People don’t want to get a fire door survey done as they believe it will cost thousands to put things right. However, maintaining a fire door or even replacing a fire door is a great deal cheaper than they think. Another thing to note is with fire safety, it’s better safe than sorry.

What do you think would help people to overcome these barriers?

I would always recommend getting a survey and then get a quote for what needs to be actioned. There are lots of options out there and the surveyor will be able to help you achieve compliance within your budget. Alternatively, you can pay for a member of staff in your company to be trained in fire door inspections. Once complete they will be able to survey and maintain fire doors regularly, which in the long run can reduce costs.

Do you have any advice for the readers of this blog on how they can increase the lifespan of their fire doors or keep them compliant for longer?

  • Check fire doors regularly and fix things as soon as you see them. It’s best to be proactive and stop problems from getting worse.
  • Fit the best products you can for your budget range. However, sometimes it’s better to invest in something that is of higher spec, it can avoid replacements and engineer call-outs.
  • Never be afraid to ask companies for advice. It’s what companies like us are here for! We, at 1st Aid Fire, will always welcome questions and try to help in any way we can. By having conversations with us, solutions can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Having the right testing and certification for each door set component is important for your fire door to be compliant. What is your opinion on global assessment vs primary test evidence – is it practical to test every door with every combination of ironmongery?

There are many companies out there that will say that their products are the best. If fire doorsets are manufactured well and to a specific standard, then it still must be installed correctly. Only use a company which is third-party accredited, this will give you peace of mind that not only the fire door is compliant but the workmanship can be checked at any time. If the standard is not right, the company can be struck-off the accredited recommendation books. We use Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) accredited carpenters and we have never been let down in the past. There are many accredited companies out there, so you can choose the one that suits you and gives you the reassurance you need to feel safe.

How can a business like 1st Aid Fire help people stay safe and compliant?

We offer several different courses from Fire Awareness to Fire Warden training. We want to work with clients so they can ensure their staff are not only trained to deal with fire but also how to be proactive within the workplace. We also work closely with other companies in the industry that offer training in fire door inspection courses or that manufacture the best equipment on the market. 1st Aid Fire can do the hard work for you and ensure that your workplace is safe and compliant.

If you have any more questions about fire doors or you’d like to discuss further how 1st Aid Fire can help your business, check out their website www.1staidfire.com or give them a call on 0808 123 2401

“Protect your business by being proactive”

Back to school safely with Fireco

Back to school safely with Fireco

The Government has made the decision that all schools will be reopening for the new term in September. Preparations and precautions will have already been put in place when the children of key workers were still attending school. However, with all students, staff and visitors returning in September a new risk assessment will need to be carried out to ensure everyone is in a safe environment

Places of education have a duty of care to students and will already use the Governments advice on Health and Safety. However, it is important that a specific Coronavirus Risk Assessment is completed. By doing this, Coronavirus hazards can be identified, measured and controlled.

There are different resources available for Coronavirus Risk Assessments, however, The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has created this template which can be used by all industries.

Fireco’s products have already been helping many businesses, hospitals and schools with their germ-control. Here are some of the hazards identified by HSE that Fireco can help with.

Ventilation

Buildings should have good ventilation and fresh air circulating throughout. Our hold-open devices allow you to legally and safely hold your doors open which will improve airflow. When the fire alarm is activated, the doors will automatically close. With colder weather approaching, it’s important to have other methods in place to ensure good ventilation throughout your school, as keeping the windows open won’t always be a suitable option.

Pinch points

High traffic areas in the school such as Reception, hallways, doorways, toilets, lifts, changing rooms, canteens, break rooms etc are going to need to be monitored. Our hold-open devices will allow you to keep your doors open, reducing the need to touch door handles, limiting the risk of cross-contamination. Our Smart Sanitising System, Germgard, can be installed by entry and exit points, which will promote the use of hand sanitiser before passing through.

Anxiety around Coronavirus

Being isolated from lockdown and social distancing can heighten feelings of anxiety about returning to normal activities such as attending school. Many students and staff members will need assurances and physical evidence that there are practices in place to maintain hygiene. Germgard is a clear and visual way to encourage good hygiene. A sensor will detect someone approaching and a screen with digital signage will prompt them to use hand sanitiser before entering. This system could be ideal for a reception area, break room, or delivery bay as staff and visitors passing through will use hand sanitiser before being allowed entry. Our hold-open devices can create a more open atmosphere and reduce the need to touch door handles, this could also be encouraging for people who are concerned about contaminated surfaces.

Inadequate hygiene

If people on the school premises are not keeping up good personal hygiene, they could easily cross-contaminate items they touch. Germgard is designed to promote good hygiene practices to building users through the use of hand sanitiser. It can also be integrated with access control and other systems to further reinforce sanitisation by only allowing entry once the sanitiser has been used.

Fireco can help keep schools fire-safe and COVID-secure. If you would like to know how we can help your school, contact us today on 01273 320650.

Doorsets made easy

Doorsets made easy

Since Grenfell, compliance with fire safety procedures has been in the spotlight. It has become increasingly difficult to know whether what you are buying is really going to be safe and this has made buying doorsets even harder.

Specifying a doorset can be challenging and often filled with uncertainty. “Have I definitely added all the parts I need?” “How do I know that I’m buying compliant products?”. We have been working with our partners to create something that makes buying a doorset easy.

“Fire doors are a massive talking point in the industry and having compliant doorsets is something that comes up in a lot of client meetings. At Fireco our motto is ‘Compliance made easy’ which means the next logical step for us was to build an easy way of specifying a doorset.” 

Alex Babbage - Key Accounts Manager

We’re sure that you’ll find our new door selector simple and efficient to use. It helps you navigate through the buying journey and builds a virtual doorset so that you can visualise what you’re buying. 

Our new door selector uses a British Woodworking Federation (BWF) accredited door manufacturer, a range of CE marked hardware and where possible we use third-party accredited products.

Specification sheets and catalogues will no longer be needed. Doorsets made easy.

Build your doorset the easy way

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Fireco introduces Compliance as a Service

Fireco introduces Compliance as a Service

We are pleased to announce Compliance as a Service (CaaS). A new service option available for Digital Messaging Service and Dorgard SmartSound.

We understand that in some sectors such as education and care homes, it can be difficult to get approval on larger payments and raise capital expenditure. Although our products will improve the daily running of the business, they may not be considered as an ‘essential’. Compliance as a Service will make our fire safety systems more accessible to businesses that experience budget restraints.

CaaS is a service through subscription, your company will receive the product range with added benefits including surveys, installation, maintenance, technical support and product replacement in the event of accidental damage. The subscription allows payment to fall into your business’ operational budget.

“Finding even a relatively small amount of capital can be difficult in this current climate, many people I speak to on a daily basis find themselves with a requirement for our products but have their hands tied by being unable to pay for everything upfront. I’m really excited that we have launched CaaS as it gives people the ability to improve compliance in their building with more budget-friendly monthly payments.” 
Chris Russell- Education Sales Manager

If you would like more information about CaaS then please contact us on 01273 320650 or email us at contact@fireco.uk.

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Power cuts and the Pro Range

Power cuts and the Pro Range

Approximately one million people were affected by the power cut on the 10th August 2019. Homes and businesses were left powerless, people travelling on trains were stranded and traffic lights were cut off, all the result of two power stations disconnecting.

What has this got to do with fire safety?

The main issue is, how will fire safety products work if there is nothing powering them?

  • Some products are battery powered, for example, wireless household fire alarms and so will not be affected by loss of mains power.
  • Some products may be controlled by mains power but have a battery backup pack for scenarios where the power isn’t working.
  • Products that depend on mains power to work will no longer function

Is Fireco’s Pro Range compliant during a power cut?

Fireco’s Pro Range consists of Dorgard Pro and Freedor Pro. Both products allow you to keep a fire door open safely and legally. The Transmitter is connected to the fire alarm panel so when the alarm is activated, will send a radio signal to allow all doors to close, stopping the spread of smoke and fire.

The Pro Range is designed to be the highest form of compliance (Category A/Critical). It has a built in fail-safe mechanism so when there is no power being sent to the Transmitter, all Pro products will automatically close the doors. This means the Pro Range will remain compliant, even during a power cut.

If you are concerned about how power loss may affect your fire safety then please speak to a member of our team on 01273 320650.

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Are fully wired systems still the best option?

Are fully wired systems still the best option?

There are a lot of fire safety products out there and knowing what is best for your building can sometimes be unclear. One topic that has been coming up recently is whether to go with a wireless system or a fully wired system. 

Wireless products are normally activated by sound or radio signal. There may be an element with a direct wired connection to the fire panel, though the units themselves avoid the need for cables as they are typically battery powered.

Fully wired systems involve running cables between the units and the fire panel. They are ideal for new build environments, where the cost of cabling is less prohibitive.

Wiring products through a building may not always be the best solution as it can bring with it a range of different problems.

Hidden costs

As well as buying the products to fit, you will also need to pay for a professional installer to run cables through the building. After cables are fitted, there will need to be restorative work carried out on floors, walls and ceilings affected.

Asbestos survey and control

Installing wires through buildings that are particularly old may not be possible due to safety reasons, for example, drilling through areas that contain asbestos. This involves major health risks and will need to be done by a specialist.

Dangers to staff and visitors when work is being carried out

Risk assessments should be filled out to ensure that occupants won’t be harmed during building work.

Business disruption

Running cables through a building can be a big job. Parts of the building may need to be blocked off for work to be carried out or the whole building may even need to be closed for business. This could even mean that no one is allowed to enter the building until work is complete.

Maintaining compartmentation

A fire can spread through a hole the size of a pen nib so it’s vital that compartmentation is maintained. If holes have been made and not filled correctly it will compromise the fire safety of the building. Once the work has been done, all holes will need to be filled so that the area remains fireproof.

Some people believe that fully wired systems are the only option when it comes to having the highest standard of protection. However, there are wire-free alternatives that are also suitable for high-risk areas and are often more cost-effective and easier to install.

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Back to school safely with Fireco

Back to school safely with Fireco

Schools will be welcoming back all staff and students for the new term in September. Is your school COVID-secure? Fireco can help with your Coronavirus risk assessment.

How Fireco can help with your Coronavirus Risk Assessment

How Fireco can help with your Coronavirus Risk Assessment

Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are gradually lifting and a phased plan is in place to reopen businesses. This means that all businesses must prepare return strategies in order to make their building safe for staff, customers and visitors.

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