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Monitor your sites remotely with Fireco’s new software

Monitor your sites remotely with Fireco’s new software

Fireco is excited to be starting the year off by introducing a new innovation to its product range! This product has been developed throughout 2020 with the aim of being able to help customers operate more efficiently, reduce costs and meet compliance requirements.

Introducing InSite, Fireco’s open and unified monitoring software and the newest addition to the Pro Range.

The InSite software is cloud-based, offering remote monitoring of Fireco’s Pro Range door devices, providing real-time information about the status, battery life and signal strength through the ProHub system controller.

This software is an excellent way for Installers and Maintenance Managers to keep track of their different sites, enabling them to plan visits efficiently around the device reports.

InSite is also ideal for Building Managers, Facility Managers or even the Responsible Person for fire safety, who want to be able to ensure their building is compliant without physically having to check.

“I’ve worked with installers for 10 years and I know they will find this software invaluable for remote monitoring, system checks on-site and even pre-empting when a service is required. Ensuring critical areas of a building are compliant is of great importance and has been a hot topic in the industry this past year. InSite makes keeping buildings safe easier than ever.” Alex Stone, Commercial Services Manager.

We are planning to exhibit at FIREX in July and The Fire Safety Event in September, where we will be showcasing InSite, along with other Pro Range devices. However, we are also carrying out online product demonstrations, so no one misses out.

For more information about InSite or to sign up to a demo visit www.fireco.uk or call Fireco on 01273 320650.

My COVID-19 experience

My COVID-19 experience

During 2020 technology companies worked very hard to avoid the spread of Covid. Some great technology emerged during the year to avoid touching door handles and other commonly used surfaces. Interactive and innovative sanitising solutions became available along with security systems incorporating temperature sensing, occupancy counting and face mask detection. I am positive that no technology can entirely stop the spread of Covid, but I am certain it all helps.

I maintained social distance, I was careful to wash and sanitise my hands, I wore a face mask and gloves. I work in a safe environment and take my temperature every day before entering business premises. I did not contract Covid-19 from being at work, nor from social engagement. I contracted the virus, at home, in my lounge, on the sofa, most likely whilst enjoying a box set.

There was a long list of Covid symptoms throughout 2020, we were told what to look out for and when to get tested. My children attended school and very quickly there was a report of headaches. This was ignored, and since then a petition has been created to advise the government they need to be quicker in updating Covid symptoms and informing the public. Very quickly children stopped attending school and positive Covid tests increased at an alarming rate. My son, Freddie, came home with a headache just before the Christmas break. Freddie had a test, he was confirmed positive with Covid-19. I tested, my family tested, we were all negative.

Over the first two days of the Christmas break, Freddie isolated in his room, he touched absolutely nothing. His food was left outside his door, and of course being a typical 11 year old, as long as wifi was provided, he was generally in good spirits. However, trips to the toilet and occasional forgetfulness and strolling downstairs meant we did all share one thing – the air.

One piece of advice highly overlooked is the need for air circulation. 

This does not mean opening every window in the office or school, it would be freezing. The concept is very similar to that of smoke evacuation in fire safety, channeling the smoke in a certain direction through the building. We need to create the same behaviour for air to expel as quickly as possible in a controlled way. In our house, I opened the front window, and the back door, only. The fresh air was drawn in from one direction, pulled through the house and expelled from the back door. Wind, nicely helps to draw the air but having multiple windows and doors opened would create a whirlwind effect simply throwing the air everywhere and retaining it, this is what we need to avoid – Right-hand image needs to be avoided.

We managed to fend off the inevitable spread for 4 days using this practice. We all live together hence I use the word inevitable. However, in a school or office environment where people have shorter interactions, the above process can be VERY effective. 

If we approach this by believing everyone is infected, and secondly, imagining the virus as smoke, how can we avoid breathing in that smoke, and expelling it as quickly as it emits?

Holding fire doors open is a fire risk, this is common knowledge and something we all try to avoid, albeit in the wrong way. Triangular bits of wood are used, wedges I believe people call them, a swear word to me. Fireco products, Dorgard and Freedor, a retainer and door closer that can legally hold open a fire door, and close if the fire alarm activates are perfect products to help with fresh air inlets and exhausts for your building.

To finish my article, eventually we caught the dreaded virus, our entire family felt poorly, starting with dizziness. We all got retested, we were all now positive. We could only describe the feeling of flu for the majority of the illness, with severe dizziness and fatigue. The last symptom was the lack of taste, which whilst a strange sensation at first, became very depressing but finally cleared up over two weeks. Something I want to mention is at NO POINT did we have a temperature. When considering your return to work process, please please do not rely solely on reading temperatures, please enforce sanitising, with a product like Germgard. Please ensure staff wear face masks and please do not overlook the inexpensive solution of fresh air, it’s so important. If I hadn’t practiced this at home, we would have all become ill much sooner and not have been able to stagger the disease over the family and look after one another. 

We were very fortunate to stay out of hospital, and my heart goes out to people who have had a far worse experience. Stay safe. Please like and share, this is one thing we do want to go viral.

James Wheeler – Chief Commerical Officer l Fireco Ltd

Fireco’s 2020 Journey

Fireco’s 2020 Journey

This time in 2019, none of us would have thought that we would experience a year quite like this one! Even the most comprehensive business plans wouldn’t have been able to prepare for a situation quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. What a year it has been, filled with a lot of uncertainty and concern, but equally full of hope and achievements.

Here’s what Fireco has achieved over the past year, pandemic and all…

Improving operations

We started off our year on a high! In January we moved from Hove to a new and much bigger premises in Southwick. We decorated the whole building in Fireco branding and our manufacturing facilities expanded massively, allowing us to meet customer demand. Just as we began settling in, the pandemic started to really kick-off and we got the notice to work from home where possible. 

With our new premises and with new working arrangements, we wanted to further improve and adapt our operations, with a big focus on quality management. Later in the year, we passed our ISO9001:2015 surveillance audit 1. Having ISO certification means that we are following procedures to continually improve our business operations and the services we offer. So, passing our ISO surveillance is an integral part of making compliance easy for customers as it ensures we are providing consistent and quality products and services. 

Pandemic Response

As soon as the virus came to England, we knew instantly we would be able to help our customers with germ control. Although we had always focussed on fire safety, we started promoting that our hold-open devices could help customers reduce cross-contamination on surfaces — by holding fire doors open, you minimise the need to touch door handles. Later on in the year as the weather got colder, the government advised that well-ventilated buildings could help minimise the spread of infection which is another great benefit of our hold-open devices.

As we approached the summer months with the hope that lockdown restrictions were easing and businesses were able to reopen, we realised that we could do even more to help our customers keep their buildings COVID-secure. We then designed and manufactured Germgard, the Smart Sanitising System. Germgard’s sensor detects when someone is approaching and will display a message on the screen advising the user to sanitise their hands before passing. We introduced three versions of Germgard so that it could be tailored to suit the needs of different businesses and risk levels. We’ve now helped hundreds of new and existing customers with germ control and fire safety. 

As expected all events and conferences were cancelled meaning that we had to find another way to connect with our customers. Many events moved online, and to date, we’ve taken part in the FIREX and IFSEC Tech Talks, The Care, Dementia and Nursing Home Winter Pressures Webisode and Sponsored the FPA’s Fire Sector Summit. 

Events weren’t the only thing that we’ve taken online this year. We’ve massively expanded our online services as we knew that’s where our customers would need us…

Fireco goes digital

Before the pandemic, we would take part in regular business meetings, host installer training at our HQ and present at shows. With all of this put on hold, we had to find new ways to interact with customers. We decided to start holding webinars and product demos through our website and due to high demand, we were organising weekly webinars with other companies which saw hundreds of attendees. Being able to carry on sharing knowledge about the industry and even enabling people to earn CPD points from our sessions has been such an honour and we’ve loved every minute of it.

One common theme we come across often in the fire industry is how difficult it can be to buy a fire door and specify all the right components for it whilst also ensuring it’s compliant to standards and regulations. So, we worked with one of our business partners, Safelincs, to create a fire door selector which gives you the ability to build your own doorset with all components available in one place. It prevents the need to buy everything from separate shops, having to check what products are compliant and coordinating different delivery dates.

Making compliance easy is our main goal here at Fireco and our Customer Support Team are an integral part of this. To make it even easier for our new or existing customers to contact us, we launched an online live chat service as another way to contact us aside from phone calls. We want our services to be accessible to everyone so this was an important addition to our services. 

Celebrating One Million

Even throughout a very challenging time, we had a reason for a big celebration! We sold One Million of our original product, Dorgard. Fireco was established in 1995 with Dorgard as the sole product and here we are today, still selling Dorgard along with our other innovative products that we’ve developed over the years. That was an amazing feeling and one that wouldn’t have been possible without our employees, distributors and customers!

What to expect from us in 2021

We have some big plans for 2021, with a range of new innovations launching which have a very different twist on what we currently offer. The new products we develop here at Fireco are based on what our customers have asked for, so you should all find our launches very exciting! We will also (hopefully) be attending a few big events, including, FIREX and The Fire Safety Event. We’re hoping to connect with you all in person again!

We want to end 2020 on a positive note, by saying a massive thank you to everyone who has supported our business this year and all the years previous. Whether you’ve liked our social posts, hosted a webinar, bought a Dorgard, downloaded our eBooks or joined us at an event, you’ve helped us get where we are today.

On that note, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, from all of us at Fireco.

25 years of fire safety compliance

25 years of fire safety compliance

In September 2020 we achieved our one-millionth Dorgard sale!

Over the past 25 years, Dorgard has been keeping buildings, businesses and people safe from the dangerous consequences of door wedging. Dorgard is an acoustically-activated door retainer that holds doors open and when the fire alarm sounds, will release and allow the door to close, preventing the spread of fire. Since its launch, two more versions have been introduced to the Fireco range, to help customers even further with their fire safety compliance.

Fireco started as a small business founded in Brighton and is now selling products worldwide. But, how did we come this far?

Focus on compliance

Dorgard was originally created with compliance and fire safety in mind and this has laid the foundations for everything else we have done since – even our motto becoming “compliance made easy”.

Over the years, we have worked with countless installers, fire safety consultants and associations, in order to ensure our products are suitable for all types of building scenarios. This led to the development of Dorgard SmartSound and Dorgard Pro. There are three different versions of Dorgard to meet different compliance requirements, Dorgard Pro being suitable for Cat A.

In more recent years, we have partnered with door manufacturers to carry out burns testing so that we can reassure customers, especially councils and housing associations, that Dorgard is safe to use and will not affect the fire rating of a fire door.

Meeting the needs of customers

Making fire safety easy is another big factor for us. Dorgard can be installed by almost anyone in under 5 minutes and its supporting documents are easy to understand. However, if preferred we do offer an installer service.

Fire safety is at the forefront of all product benefits, but this is not the only problem that we can help customers with. By installing a Dorgard, you can also improve ventilation and access throughout a building, both of which can be invaluable for the user.

Manufacturing a high-quality product that meets standards

When Dorgard was first introduced to the market, there was no guidance available for how and where acoustically actuated devices should be used. As is often the case, it took some time before relevant standards were updated. BS7273-4 now offers clear guidance which allows Dorgard and Dorgard SmartSound to be used as part of a Standard or Indirect installation.

One of the main reasons acoustic devices aren’t considered suitable for Critical Installations (i.e on fire doors on an emergency escape route) is because there is no direct connection between the device and the fire alarm panel, so if the alarm went into a ‘fault’ state, the retainers wouldn’t release to close the door.

This level of Critical compliance can now be achieved wirelessly, by using Dorgard Pro, utilising a hardwired radio transmitter which allows doors to close on either a ‘fire’ or ‘fault’ signal. This means that we can now offer a version of Dorgard based on the level of compliance needed for each door.

British Standards only give guidance on where a product can be used and how it should be actuated. For performance, we need to look at different guidance. All versions of Dorgard are tested to EN1155 which is the harmonized European Standard that gives the product it’s CE mark and classifies door closers using a 6 digit coding system, with each digit referring to a particular feature of the product measured against the standard’s performance requirements. This testing really looks at mechanical reliability, it looks at how many cycles the device can operate on before it starts having problems. 50,000 cycles are the open set close requirement – At Fireco, we actually put our products through 20% more testing than we’re required to.

As previously mentioned, we have completed EN1634-1 testing as part of a complete Doorset with several fire door manufacturers. This means that customers have the option of having a complete doorset fitted with a Dorgard already installed. This testing is vital in giving building managers the evidence they need to show that having our products installed to the door does not damage its integrity.

Ensuring that our products are compliant and meet the needs of our customers, we continually work on our manufacturing operations and product testing. If you have any questions about whether our products are suitable for your building, call us on 01273 320650.

Co-written by Sasha Brigden and Pete Davies.

Keep your care home safe with the Infection Control Fund

Keep your care home safe with the Infection Control Fund

What is the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund?

Introduced in May 2020, initially worth £600 million, the fund was bought into action to help tackle the spread of the Coronavirus in care homes.

Now, due to its success, it has been extended to March 2021 with an additional £546 million, giving care providers further funding to help control the spread of the virus.

This funding is “specifically for supporting providers with the additional costs they will face in complying with the government guidance on infection prevention” and in particular for measures that restrict staff movement. The funding can also be used to buy necessary equipment which supports infection control measures and for ‘capital based alterations’ to allow safe visiting.

How do you receive funding?

This kind of funding you don’t need to apply for. Local authorities are given the money to automatically distribute to care providers based on the number of beds they have.

What about PPE?

This funding was not put in place to cover the costs of PPE. The Government has set up a PPE portal where a range of health and care providers can request free PPE to help meet extra demands due to the pandemic. 

How can Fireco help care homes with germ control?

A recent study carried out in Australia found that the virus that causes COVID-19 can last on some surfaces for up to 28 days, making a clean and hygienic environment key to controlling the spread. 

In order to improve germ control, the government has highlighted the importance of:

  • Improving ventilation
  • Keeping pinch points, such as doorways and corridors clear
  • Social distancing
  • Limiting touchpoints and sanitising them frequently

Fireco manufactures a range of products that can help with germ control throughout care homes whilst also keeping you compliant in other areas, such as fire safety. We have different versions of each product, offering different levels of compliance.

Dorgard, Dorgard SmartSound & Dorgard Pro

Dorgard is a fire door retainer. It allows you to hold doors open, closing them upon the sound of the alarm.

Freedor SmartSound & Freedor Pro

Freedor is a free-swing door closer which takes the weight out of heavy fire doors and allows you to place them open at any angle, closing upon activation of the fire alarm.

Holding fire doors open can help with ventilation, reduce the need to touch door handles and aid in social distancing by keeping pathways clear.

Germgard

Germgard is a smart sanitiser that uses digital signage to promote the use of hand sanitiser. It is available as a portable station or a system that can be installed on the wall and integrated with other systems like access control. Integrating Germgard can allow you to make the use of hand sanitiser a requirement to gain entry, limiting the chances of cross-contamination.

For more information about the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund, click here.

To find out how Fireco’s products can help your care home with germ control, call us on 01273 320650.

Smart sanitisers, webinars and touchless entry points: Fireco’s pandemic response

Smart sanitisers, webinars and touchless entry points: Fireco’s pandemic response

Fireco’s James Wheeler chats with James Moore, Editor at IFSEC Global, about what we’ve been up to this year – read the full interview below. 

Best known for its Dorgard solution, Fireco has been working hard in 2020 to keep building occupants safe from fire and assist in germ control. IFSEC Global sat down with James Wheeler, Chief Commercial Officer at Fireco to find out more about how its products and webinars have provided the ideal solution for its customers.

IFSEC Global (IG): We hear you’re showing off your latest product, Germgard, at tomorrow’s IFSEC Tech Talks? Can you give us a little preview of how the solution works and why you launched it?

James: Germgard was created because we wanted to further assist our customers with germ control. Germgard is a smart sanitiser combined with digital signage, designed to promote awareness of the importance of hand sanitisation to all building users. It can also be tailored to suit individual business needs, helping as a building management tool. Some examples of potential messaging includes instructing users to follow your one-way system or putting on a mask before entering.

Our customers require visual, physical products as evidence in promoting their return to work strategy in their workforce. Germgard meets those requirements, ensuring best practice, encouraging occupants to self-police when moving around the building.

IG: And how else has Fireco responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you been running any new initiatives to support the industry?

Since the beginning of the pandemic many people have been working from home so we decided to host webinars offering free education on fire safety, door compliance, evacuation strategies and legislation. We have had over 2000 sign ups and 16 guest speakers from the fire safety industry take part. We’re really pleased to have been able to keep all of our customers and suppliers up-to-date with the latest news from Fireco and from the industry in general.

We want to thank our amazing guest speakers for uniting our industry during lockdown, and keeping us all educated and focused – watch this space as we have more to come!

IG: Have you witnessed new benefits to your Dorgard solution with the onset of contactless solutions?

When COVID-19 hit our business we reacted quickly and recognised the huge importance of Dorgard, not only as a fire safety product but as a product that can assist with a premises germ control. And, due to our quick reaction to the needs of the market, we recently celebrated selling one million Dorgards!

Dorgard holds fire doors open safely and legally and closes when the fire alarm sounds. By allowing our customers to hold their doors open, they are limiting the need to touch door handles and reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Dorgard can also aid with reducing pinch-points in corridors and doorways and increase ventilation throughout a building.

IG: After the recent Fire Door Safety Week highlighted the importance of fire doors, what would be your advice to those specifying fire doors to ensure they remain compliant and protect the lives of building occupants?

Firstly, it’s worth noting the ever-increasing requirements for better and more comprehensive testing for doors and hardware. It’s important to use a reputable company that has tested the doors against an agreed British standard. A number of door manufacturers now have excellent methods of quality control and traceability using new methods.

Some advice that we’ve picked up through working with customers and suppliers are:

  • Identify the correct door hardware at the specification stage
  • Choose door closers suitable for the users of the door
  • Correct fitting of all parts of the door and the hardware
  • Keep fire doors maintained by getting them checked regularly by a trained professional

Quality installation of the doors is as key to resident safety, perhaps, as much as the doors themselves. Use accredited fire door installers that will fit the doors to a high standard.

I would also like to add, on the Fireco website we have a fire doorset configurator which allows you to select your door and all the hardware in one place, making it really straightforward for the user.

IG: Can you explain to us a little bit more about your role in FIMA, and how the organisation is looking to support the industry?

Fireco created FIMA and works closely with all its members. At Fireco, we work extremely hard to meet all legislative requirements for the safety of our products and have even gone as far as testing our products with other brands to help customers when making buying decisions. We wanted to create an alliance for manufacturers who want to unite and work together in achieving certification. We also thought it would provide a great opportunity for companies who wanted to integrate their products, whether that’s through hardware or software.

More often than not, installers and customers will need a variety of solutions for the fire safety and security in their building, which means it’s important for different products to work in unison. It makes it much easier for the end user when making decisions if they can see that products from different companies can work together, meet regulations and hold certifications. We wanted FIMA to provide customers with a selection of trusted companies all in one place.

We’d like to thank IFSEC for the Q&A and for allowing us to feature it on our website, as well as their own.

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