We are pleased to announce that Dave Green is joining Midland Fire Security Services Ltd as a Training and Technical Specialist.

Dave has over 35 years’ experience working with Gent Ltd since 1984 giving him excellent technical knowledge of Gent / Honeywell products. His new role at Midland Fire will be to provide further training to Midland Fire staff and provide advanced technical support to clients and end users – further improving the great service we already provide to our customers.

Dave is very well known amongst Fire Alarm Engineers in the area for his excellent advice and technical support provided in his previous role. Rather than us telling you, we asked Dave to tell us more in an informal interview.

Tell us about your experience

I joined Gent Ltd in 1984 after finishing two years at technical college. Initially starting in the manufacturing side of the business but over time diversifying into first customer service type roles before finally settling in training and development roles of one form or another, not all of which technical, from 1995 to the present day.

Over these many years I have witnessed the Gent business and the industry as a whole evolve beyond recognition. Gent as a business went through several changes of ownership from the Pillar electrical group, to RTZ, to Caradon/Novar and finally, since 2005, to Honeywell. Each change of ownership bringing its own set of opportunities and challenges.

As an industry, we have witnessed not only the development in flexibility and applications of fire alarm equipment but also the on-going increase in professionalism in terms of 3rd party accreditation in the form of BAFE, ISO9001, BS5839:1 design and more recently, associated standard sub-sections for installation, commissioning and maintenance.

What products have you worked with?

In the main I have perhaps been a bit of a “one trick pony” as I have extensive experience in the Gent 3400 fire detection and alarm system  from the late 1980’s, Vigilon F.D.&A from its launch in 1998 and it’s metamorphoses into the current Vigilon Plus range more recently.

In recent years, a considerable amount of my time has been taken up with Winmag (the Gent graphical user interface), BACnet, XLS80 (a Honeywell branded Notifier panel) and more recently the C.L.S.S. remote monitoring and service diagnostics tool.

Have you ever come across any problems when training staff?

I can honestly say that I have not really encountered any problems worthy of mention when delivering training. More often than not, delegates actually want you to be successful and are usually relieved that it is someone else at the front of the training room rather than themselves. There are, however, a few absolutely key elements that should always be taken into consideration during any training activity;

  1. Basic Respect – never talk down to anyone and always value the input and experience of the delegates.
  2. Training is about changing behaviour – acknowledge that change can be difficult for people for a variety of reasons and always empathise and attempt to understand their point of view.
  3. Remember that people do things for their own reasons, not yours. A failure to acknowledge and respect their reasons and motivations will generally end in disaster.
  4. Make it relevant, Informal and relaxed – very few people perform at their best when under duress or when they cannot see a useful application for the information that they are being given.

All of the above may seem like straight forward, common sense but they are all things that I have witnessed either being forgotten or paid lip service to all too often.

What do you enjoy about training?

It sounds corny when you put it into words but what I really enjoy is “the lightbulb moment”, that moment when you help someone to learn a new skill, where you can instantly see the difference that what you are doing as a trainer is making. Training is a profession singular in its ability to offer instant job satisfaction and reward (unless you count being an actor or rock star – neither of which I have the talent nor the temperament for). A trainer generally does not have to wait to witness the results of their work, unlike so many other job roles where you form one part of a larger process. Having started in a manufacturing role where I had no visibility of the process that came before my role, nor indeed what happened afterwards, this instant visibility and reward is not something that I ever take for granted.

What are the common questions customers ask you?

In fire alarm systems, as in most walks of life, the most profound and the most common questions are usually the simplest – “How do I?”, “What Happens if?”, “Is it possible to?”. (You can probably add “How much is it going to cost me?” to that list as well). All of these questions can, as you might imagine, greatly expand dependent on the circumstances in which they are being asked and the knowledge and experience level of the person doing the asking. The key is to have the answers.

What do you hope to bring to Midland Fire Security Services?

In my new role with Midland fire I would hope to be involved in the development of both the people that work within the business and of the business itself. I expect this to take many forms including developing and delivering training materials, providing technical support, coaching and mentoring our engineers, being involved with CPD’s and other customer presentations, to assist in the preparation of tenders and audits, to be involved in launching new products such as the C.L.S.S. gateway to our client base and ultimately to assist in building strong, long term relationships with our customers.

Got a question for Dave?

Dave Green is due to start with Midland Fire on the 31st November 2020 and will be available to provide advice and guidance should you need technical help with any of our products. Please get in touch if you need assistance.

why hire a fire alarm engineer

This article looks at the difference between a general electrician or electrical contractor and a third party assessed fire alarm and life safety contractor (engineer).

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster, the government is in the process of creating a new building safety regulator. Dame Judith Hackitt was appointed to lead the investigation and provide recommendations on reform. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the industry has sufficient, robust regulatory systems and residents feel that the building they live in is safe and remains so in the future.

This means that new legislation and guidance is coming into force to ensure that high standards of fire safety are upheld throughout the construction industry.

As fully qualified Fire Alarm Engineers, Midland Fire Security frequently tender for contracts big and small and one debate still occurs – even in an industry that already has strict regulations. Should I hire a dedicated fire alarm contractor or an electrical contractor?

Its 2020, Why is this issue still being debated?

Looking from the outside in, the answer should be “Yes! – the safety of building occupants is paramount so I need to make sure the fire detection systems are adequate and meet current regulations”, unfortunately even in 2020 this isn’t always the case.

Electricians are not trained in BS5839 Part 1 2017 unless they take specific training

Luke Sillito from Midland Fire Security Services Ltd sheds some light on the problem “From the 20 years we have spent in the industry, we have been awarded several maintenance contracts where a recent installation does not comply with BS 5839. Quite often this occurs when the main contractor is a general electrical contractor and awarded the contract for the entire project – but has not received formal training in fire alarm installation. A common issue we see is that fire proof cables have not been used between the main supply and the fire detection system, this means that the detectors could stop working in an emergency. A fully qualified fire alarm engineer would know that this is a requirement. Of course this is not always the case, many electricians hold a formal qualification in fire alarm engineering but generally speaking electricians do not receive training specifically on BS5839 Part 1 2017 unless they take specific training”.

EN 16763 and minimum levels of training

As new legislation is being adopted throughout the EU and the UK meaning it has never been more important for Electricians in the Fire Alarm Industry to be fully qualified. European Standard EN 16763 states that a level 3 qualification is the minimum recommended to work as a Fire Alarm Engineer. Although this is not mandatory yet, the standard specifies that those working on a system should be qualified to at least a Level 3 on the European Qualifications Framework.

Jack studying for level 3 fire alarm engineer qualifications

Midland Fire Alarm Engineers have received level 3 training or are in the process of receiving training so that we fully comply with current and future legislation. At the start of the year Tom Chadwick, a Midland Fire Engineer was caught in the act, completing his course.

Specific Design Considerations

Fire Alarm System Design requires specific design considerations and planning to ensure that a fire is detected quickly in an emergency.

A good example of the depth of knowledge required to design fire alarm systems is the category system.

Fire alarm engineers must have a detailed understanding of different system types so they can specify the right system for a particular business.

It is required by law that fire alarm systems at business premises are fit for purpose. This includes ensuring your system falls into the correct category. There are 8 individual fire categories as defined in BS5839 that a competent fire engineer must understand. Typically this level of training is only offered on fire-specific training courses.

Whole system integrity

A well-known advocate for electrical safety – ‘Dan The Engineer’ has a YouTube channel where he discusses this issue in some detail. For those of you that don’t know, Dan the Electrician is a Fellow of the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) who spent most of his young career working as an Electrical contractor with a Fire Alarm Engineering bias. Having worked ‘both sides of the fence’ he sheds some light on the difference between BS7671 and the requirements of BS5839 Part 1 2017 for fire safety.

Probably the biggest point raised by ‘Dan The Engineer’ is that in order for a fire alarm system to be fully compliant. Main contractors must work more closely with suitably qualified Fire Alarm Engineer to ensure that the system meets the requirements of both BS7671 and BS5839. In turn, this ensures that the correct level of due care and attention is applied throughout the whole electrical system.

Does your contractor have the right third party accreditations?

So how do you know that your Electrician is a fully qualified Fire Alarm Engineer? There are several third party accreditations that help show competence within the industry. For example – The NICEIC approved contractor status for electricians states that all approved contractors must have a copy of, and work to the latest IET wiring standards – But this is not fire specific. So what about Fire Alarms?

Ensuring your fire alarm engineer is competent

BAFE-SP203Well regarded in the UK, BAFE is an independent register of quality fire safety providers with the aim of ensuring fire alarm installers are competent and working to the latest standards.
BAFE develops schemes, which are sets of competency criteria, that UKAS* Accredited Certification Bodies use to assess companies providing specific fire safety services. Companies can be assessed for their competency providing fire and life safety services.

In order to achieve BAFE certification, a contractor must have met the strict quality audit process, ensuring that they are a competent fire alarm provider. So if you are looking for an indication that your electrician knows what they are doing with fire alarms – Look for the BAFE logo.

So what is the best option for my project?

When choosing a main supplier for electrical installations it is vital that they work closely with a suitably qualified Fire Alarm Engineer or a dedicated life safety sub-contractor in order to ensure the correct standards are adhered to throughout the system. Fire Alarm Engineers should be involved in the system design process to ensure the right category of system is specified and installed correctly.

If you are looking for a contractor to design or maintain your fire safety systems, make sure you choose a specialist fire alarm engineer who are accredited by BAFE like Midland Fire Security Services Ltd with the right experience for your project.

Need some advice on your next project?

We are here to help answer any questions you have. If you are a main contractor looking for qualified fire alarm engineering subcontractor or a company looking for a specialist please get in touch.

fire-alarm-leasing-available-midland-fire-2

Midland Fire have partnered with Complete Leasing Solutions – The official equipment leasing partner of the FIA (Fire Industry Association), helping to make Life Safety more affordable for your business.

A Finance Lease is the perfect way to fund your new system . With terms available from 1 to 5 years and ownership available on completion of the agreement you can spread the cost of your new fire alarm system and keep up with the latest legislative requirements.

We have added a leasing calculator to our website.

Please visit the Equipment Leasing page for more information.

the oaks coventry student accommodation

Main Contractor: McLaren Group

Client: Mechanical Contractors (Ashfield) Ltd

The Oaks in Coventry is a brand new private student accommodation block located just 1km away from Warwick University. It includes space for 382 residents, communal areas and high specification fittings, fixings and furniture throughout.

Midland Fire Security Services Ltd completed the supply and commission of fire detection and alarm system throughout the building. This included the installation of a managed fire alarm system in all living spaces including apartments, communal corridors, kitchens and games rooms.

The recent Grenfell Tower fire has highlighted the complexity of fire safety and evacuation procedures in Homes of multiple occupancies (HMOs) and busy student accommodation blocks. Life safety must be built in during the design stages to ensure that the risk to life is minimised in an emergency.

As a Gent Honeywell Approved Network Installer we were able to specify the latest Gent Vigilon system throughout the building utilising the brand new SAFE programming features designed specifically to bridge the gap between residential and landlord fire alarm systems. As part of the project we helped implement a complex ‘Stay Put’ fire strategy, helping ensure the safety of residents in the event of a fire and reduce false alarms.

Using the latest Gent SAFE programming features

The GENT safe system bridges the gap between BS5839 Part 1 and BS5839 Part 6 without the risk of generating multiple false evacuations.

SAFE, uses the principle of CONFIRMED fires. The panel confirms a fire, if a heat channel of a multisensory detector activates OR two smoke channels activate OR a single smoke channel detects smoke for a sustained period of time (programmable).

At the Oaks, each cluster flat is programmed as a “SAFE Area”, this means that if smoke is detected by a single sensor, the Sounders will operate in the “SAFE Area” only. If after 6 minutes there is no smoke present, then the panel resets itself.  If there is a smoke present after 6 minutes, OR a heat channel operates or a second smoke detector channel operates, then this is deemed a CONFIRMED Fire. The Sounders then play the Voice Message, “This is a fire alarm! Please leave the building immediately by the nearest available exit.” and automated cause and effect operations take place (smoke vent system operates, lifts ground, doors release etc) and the fire latches on the panel.

With the use of a SAFE button, it is possible residents would be able to test their own fire alarms, silence an unconfirmed fire activation and/or extend the delay period, if they knew the cause of the alarm was a false activation. Landlords can check to make sure alarms have been tested at the correct intervals from a central control panel. This will also tell the landlord which areas have had the highest number of false alarms, helping identify problems early.

At the Oaks, the latest Gent S-Quad multi detectors with integrated voice and EN54-23 certified visual alarms were installed throughout the building minimizing risk to life during a fire and reduce confusion when the alarm activates. Different tones and voice messages are used to distinguish between an activation in the cluster flat or from another area in the building. This allows residents to quickly understand if the activation is in their flat or if they should evacuate the building. The control panel for the entire system is located on the ground floor for convenience and compliance with the latest fire regulations.

What is a HMO?

HMO is an abbreviation of Homes of Multiple Occupancy. This includes any property that is rented out by at least 3 people who are not part of the same household but share facilities like bathrooms and kitchens. HMOs are subject to different fire safety regulations when compared to a home occupied by just one family.

Implementing a ‘Stay Put’ Fire Safety Strategy for Student Accommodation or a HMO

In a building of this size with residents living in close proximity to one another, fire safety is a lot more than just providing fire alarms in every room. Using passive fire protection materials, fire is compartmented into each living space allowing residents in adjacent areas to evacuate safely. False alarm prevention is also important given the inconvenience and complexity of evacuating an entire building.

At the Oaks – Bedrooms, shared kitchens and games rooms have their own one-hour fire compartments. This prevents the rapid spread of fire between rooms.

The building is divided into ‘shared apartments’ where up to 8 students may share the same kitchen and games room. Each shared apartment has its own fire alarm system giving residents the opportunity to silence a false alarm (if they burn their toast in the kitchen for example) and also extinguish a fire themselves before the fire brigade is automatically notified. Fire blankets and extinguishers are present in the kitchens of every ‘shared apartment’ for this reason.

Further to this, Corridors and key escape routes also have one-hour fire compartments. They must be kept empty of flammable objects (sterile) to prevent the rapid spread of fire and give occupants time to evacuate safely.

The system is very reliable meaning that only a single escape staircase is required by law.

A timely delivery

Due to the nature of this type of work, there was a tight timescale for the commissioning of the system. We had to be ready to demonstrate/witness test operations of the system to building control.

Several cause and effect fire strategy meetings were held throughout the process to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.

Midland Fire was responsible for supply and commission only. The finished system was installed by Mechanical Contractors (Ashfield) Ltd.

Need a Fire Alarm System for your Student Accommodation?

Over the past 20 years we have provided reliable Fire Alarms for student accommodation blocks and HMOs of all sizes. Please contact Midland Fire Security Services Ltd for a free consultation.

Moseley Hall Hospital Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Over the past 12 years Midland Fire Security Services (Midland Fire) are proud to have worked on fire and life safety projects with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust (BCHC). Our reliable design, installation and maintenance service has helped the trust comply with legal requirements on time and within budget.

BCHC NHS trust operates a portfolio with 22 sites, predominately health centre clinics, however the portfolio includes 4 residential hospital buildings across Birmingham and the West Midlands region.

We conducted comprehensive site surveys at each location. We also worked with the existing fire and life safety systems to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet the latest legal requirements.

2007 – Present

  • Access control systems
  • BT Redcare centralised monitoring services
  • Electrical installations in line with site refurbishments
  • Fire alarm system Installation
  • Planned and reactive maintenance services
  • Remedial works and electrical safety testing

Working in a live hospital/care environment

BCHC NHS Trust operates primary care facilities for the elderly including patients with high dependant needs with conditions such as dementia. When working in this environment, extra care was taken to ensure patients were not disturbed.

Dan Sillito, Director at Midland Fire explains: “Midland Fire safety engineers are experienced in working in busy public spaces. All engineers have up to date DBS checks and we took extra care to ensure that patients were not disturbed and planned our work around the hospital’s day to day routine. A detailed risk assessment was completed and agreed with the BCHC NHS Trust prior to any work taking place.

Asbestos is a big concern in older facilities. Our engineer’s due diligence was crucial in checking the Asbestos Registers prior to carrying out work and their awareness throughout each project.  Commissioning works were performed by our fully trained fire system technicians, who are qualified to Gent24 standards and competent in many system protocols.”

Planned maintenance and emergency callouts

Midland Fire has been awarded a planned maintenance contracts for fire alarm systems across the region. Projects include working with fire alarm equipment from multiple suppliers including Gent Vigilon, Ziton & Notifier multi panel network systems.

Our maintenance service includes regular site visits for maintaining the fire alarm systems, planning and liaising with site contacts, testing of control panels and standby batteries, input device testing (MCP’s, Sensors), Cause & Effect testing & reporting defects / recommendations for compliance to BS5839-1 2017. As part of this contract we also provide full customer support, callout facilities and access to our qualified technicians 24hrs a day, 365 days a year.

BT Redcare secure 24 hour alarm monitoring

Midland Fire has recently been awarded the BCHC BT Redcare manned centre monitoring contract. Monitoring is an important part of any life safety system. All monitoring is undertaken by our partner company EMCS monitoring who provide comprehensive monitoring solutions for a wide variety of fire alarm equipment. Midland Fire worked closely with EMCS to ensure a seamless transition to our services.

Helping the NHS stay within budget

Working with EMCS Midland Fire secured a significant discount (and in some cases free) on BT Redcare monitoring equipment. We are pleased to have been able to add value to the contract. The new equipment comes with a full manufacturer’s warranty, reducing the risk of expensive maintenance should equipment need replacing in the near future.

Access control and Fire alarm refurbishment at Moseley Hall Hospital

As part of a major building security improvement project, new door access equipment was installed and interfaced to the main fire alarm system. Midland Fire was responsible for conducting initial site surveys and worked closely with NHS project management and security contractors to ensure the system was adequate for the trust’s needs.

All fire safety system design work is completed in house at Midland Fire to ensure that legislative and technical requirements are met. The system meets or exceeds the requirements of the Fire Risk Assessment, Fire Safety Order Regulatory Reform (2005) and British Standards in Fire Alarms BS5839-1 2017.

 

We look forward to working with BHCH NHS Trust on future projects.

Types of Fire Extinguisher

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are a necessary part of fire safety and protection. In order to ensure that you keep your surroundings safe, it is important to ensure that you utilise the right type of fire extinguisher for your unique situation. There are different types of fire extinguishers that serve a variety of purposes and these will be covered in this article to ensure that you are adequately protected. There are six types of fire extinguishers that will be outlined here, each suitable for a different class of fire.

Categories of Fire

Let us first take a quick look at the different categories of fire, this should help you to understand when is best to use each type of extinguisher.

  • Class A – fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.
  • Class B – fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils.
  • Class C – fires involving gases.
  • Class D – fires involving metals.
  • Class E – fires involving live electrical apparatus.
  • Class F – fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.

Water – Category A

Water fire extinguishers are suitable for fires involving solid combustibles (category A), these include wood, textiles and paper. When using this type of fire extinguisher it is important to avoid electrical equipment, as this is another potential fire risk. Water based fire extinguishers are also not for use on burning fat or oil fires.

To use a water fire extinguisher, point the jet at the base of the fire and move it around the area, ensuring that all of the fire is extinguished.

Water based fire extinguishers work on solid combustible fires as they cool down the fuel’s surface.

There are a few different types of water based fire extinguishers, which is worth noting. Some have additives added to the water and this makes them overall more effective. This is due to the fact that this extinguisher sprays, rather than jets, covering a larger surface area, and also the addition of surfactants helps to penetrate the combustibles, cooling them more rapidly.

Another category of water based fire extinguishers is the Water Mist Extinguisher. These extinguishers contain de-ionised water and are capable of fighting class A, B, C and F fires (solid materials, flammable liquids, gases and cooking oils/fats).The mist emitted from the extinguisher suffocates and cools the fire. It also helps to create a barrier of sorts between the person using the extinguisher and the fire itself, therefore improving safety.

AFFF Foam – Categories A, B, E

AFFF fire extinguishers are used for fires that are burning solids or liquids. They are not suitable for use on fires stemming from oil/fat. AFFF Foam extinguishers are used in the same way as water based extinguishers, in that you aim the foam at the base of a solid combustible fire and cover the area of the flames, ensuring that all of the fire is extinguished. However, if the fire is a liquid, you need to aim to build enough foam to cover the surface of the liquid. Therefore, it is a good idea to aim the foam above the flames, or into a corner of the flames if the fire is in a container.

AFFF Foam extinguishers work by forming a barrier on top of the burning liquid, preventing the interaction between the flames and the fuel. The foam prevents reignition from occuring due to the foaming agent.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – Categories B and E

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are best used for electrical fires, as CO2 is not a conductor of electricity. They were originally intended for use on flammable liquid fires, but have since proven to be very effective on electrical fires. As a result of this, they are commonly used on large computer servers.

When using CO2 extinguishers it is important that you take care as they are not recommended for use in close quarters, as it can lead to suffocation. Not only that, but it is important to remember that these extinguishers are not to be used on category F (fat/oil) fires as it can carry the oil out of the container, therefore spreading the fire. Areas should be ventilated as soon as the fire is under control in order to avoid asphyxiation.

To use a CO2 extinguisher you should point the horn at the base of the fire and keep it moving until the flames have extinguished. The extinguisher works by literally suffocating the fire, as the CO2 displaces the oxygen in the air. As the CO2 dissipates there is a risk that the fire will reignite, so be aware of this.

ABC Powder – Categories A, B, C and E

ABC Powder extinguishers are very versatile and can be used on many different categories of fires, including organic materials, liquids, gases and electrical fires. They are not to be used on oil/fat fires.

There is a slight danger of inhalation of the powder when it is used within buildings and it is therefore not recommended for use within enclosed areas. To use this type of extinguisher point the horn at the base of the flames and move it in a rapid sweeping motion, driving the flames backwards.

ABC powder is effective as it cools the fire down so much that the chemical reactions can no longer take place. However, there is a chance that the flames will reignite shortly after the powder is administered when the components heat back up.

Wet Chemical – Categories A and F

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are ideal for use on cooking fires including oils and fats. They can also be used on category A fires. The wet chemical extinguisher is simple to use and should be applied in a slow circular motion to the fire, eventually the fat/oil will become a soapy-like liquid and this shows you that the fire is adequately extinguished. Application should be gentle in order to prevent any oil from splashing and the fire spreading.

Wet chemical extinguishers work by providing a blanketing effect, similar to foam extinguishers. They usually contain some form of chemical, such as potassium acetate, that helps to cool and blanket the fire.

Summary

It is important that you have the right type of fire extinguisher for your own situation. But remember that safety is key and anybody expected to use a fire extinguisher should have the proper training in order to ensure that they fight the fire effectively.

Do I Need a Fire Alarm?

Do I Need A Fire Alarm?

Nobody ever expects to be caught in a fire but sadly it is not an uncommon experience. Government statistics show that between 2018 to March 2019, the fire and rescue services attended 576,040 incidents including 182,825 fires. There were 7106 fire related casualties and 253 deaths which took place in both a domestic and business setting. Aside from the risk to human life the cost of a fire can run into millions.

So yes, you certainly need to take precautions against fire because the odds of this happening to you or your business premises are higher than you probably imagine.

Protecting your business with adequate fire detection is not only sound common sense, it is a legal requirement. Failure to comply with safety standards could see you facing a fine or imprisonment.

What type of Fire Detection do I need for my business?

The type of alarm system you need, will depend upon your needs and your Fire Risk Assessor will be able to advise you. However all business premises need to have a designated Responsible Person who can ensure that all the security measures are in place and that everyone in the premises knows exactly what to do in the case of a fire.

Even if your business premises are small and you only employ a couple of people who could be alerted, just by someone shouting fire, you do need to know what to do in a case of an emergency. Fire can spread very quickly; exits can become cut off so it is important to have a plan in place even if you do not need to invest in fire prevention measures.

What type of Fire Alarm is best for my business?

There are several fire alarm options to choose from and they all suit different purposes.

  • Automatic Smoke Alarms and Heat Detectors.

There’s no smoke without fire, and a smoke alarm detects smoke or fire in its early stages and automatically sounds an audible alarm. They work by detecting smoke particles in the air, sensing heat or in a combination of ways.

 If you are responsible for a block of flats or hotel where people may be sleeping, a smoke alarm will alert them to the danger before they are overcome by smoke inhalation in their sleep. This type of alarm does not require anyone to act or sound an alarm and can be linked to an automatic 999 dialling system.

An automatic smoke alarm and heat detector is a legal requirement for any residential property such as a hotel or nursing home.

  • Conventional Fire Alarm

A conventional fire alarm can be suitable for low risk environments. These should be positioned in key areas and they divide your premises into zones. These types of alarms include the glassalarms that somebody smashes and they need to conform to British manufacturing standards and be positioned in crucial areas. Your Fire Risk Assessor can advise.

  • Addressable Fire Alarms.

Theseare often used for high risk environments such as hospitals, schools or care homes. Because they are electronically wired together, the location of the fire is immediately visible. These types of fire alarms can be integrated with other fire prevention systems such as sprinklers and the automatic shutting of fire doors.

  • Wireless Fire Alarm.

This type of fire alarm works exactly the same as the Addressable Fire Alarm and is suitable for premises where cabling cannot be installed. It works on a wireless network.

  • Site Alarms.

Most suitable for use in larger areas such as building sites, a site alarm can include, a hand turned siren, whistles or air horn. 

General Fire Precautions

As well as having a suitable method in place for raising the alarm in case of a fire, there are general fire precautions that need to be in place in any premises of work, apartment block, or anywhere where people gather.

There needs to be a suitable warning system in place to alert people to a fire. Whether this is a shouted command or a complex fire alarm system, it has to be effective and proven to work.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are also mandatory. The ability to fight a small fire at source will help prevent the fire from spreading. The general rule is to have a fire extinguisher in place for every 200m of floor space. It is also important to have fire extinguishers in sensitive areas such as kitchens. These need to be within their shelf life and tested because if they don’t work when they are required, you could be in trouble. Making sure you have the correct class of fire extinguisher is key.

Fire Drills

It is important to carry out a fire drill especially if your business involves many people. The escape route should be designated and there should be a muster point away from the building so the responsible person can check that nobody has been left behind in a burning building.

If there is only one exit from the premises, this needs to be maintained and made as fire resistant as possible. You may need to fit an automatic fire detection system so that if the worst happens everyone can get out of the building safely. Doors on the exit route must be easily opened by people who are likely to be panicking and they should be marked fire exit if the area is used by the public.

Signage, Emergency Lighting and Escape Route Planning

You may need emergency signage and fire safety signs. You may need emergency lighting to sign the way if there is a power failure.

There are also some basic safety requirements that should be implemented. For example, high risk areas such as kitchens should not open directly onto the escape route. Flammable materials such as bundles of packaging should be stored in a safe location.

Although these measures may not concern you if you run a small business premises such as an office, the basic aim is always the same and that is to minimise risk to life and property in the case of a fire.

Whatever your scale of business, everyone should understand exactly what to do if the unthinkable happen.

What are the legal obligations for fire detection and prevention?

The 2005 Fire Safety Order is based on two key principles;

  • 1/ Owners of companies and buildings must appoint a ‘responsible person’ to ensure compliance with the law and heighten awareness of fire protection.
  • 2/ There must be ‘adequate’ means of detecting fire and raising the alarm.

If you are not trained professionally in fire prevention, it can be hard to translate these principles into hard facts and equipment.

Your fire risk assessment will highlight your potential areas of concern but the services of a professional fire risk assessor will provide solutions.

How much does a fire detection and prevention system cost?

The cost of a fire prevention system will depend upon your premises and the type of business you run. Costs could be as little as the price of some smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. You may only need some advice about fire safety measures and an effective escape plan.  Alternatively the cost could run into thousands.

 If you have any doubts about the level of fire cover you need, a professional fire risk assessor will help you. A professional will show you exactly what you need for fire safety so you are not tempted to cut corners, nor invest in expensive equipment you may not need. 

Don’t ignore fire safety!

There is never a good time to spend money, especially if you are running a business and every penny counts. However you can’t afford to ignore fire safety and the longer you leave this issue, the higher the risk becomes.

For the business owner it is not all bad news. Taking action and implementing adequate fire safety measures, gives you one less worry to think about and if there is a fire you can be confident that you have done everything possible to minimise danger and damage to property.

 You can check out the Government’s general advice for fire safety in the workplace for more information. In addition, Your Fire Risk Assessment will help you identify potential problems and a trained Fire Risk Assessor will help you put the findings into practical solutions.

If you would like a free site assessment and advice on how to protect your premises please contact Midland Fire Security Services today for a fast response.

Midland Fire has been supporting Burton Albion and the Community Trust Charity for several years. We recently took part in their corporate 5-a-side tournament helping raise money for local causes.

This month we made it official and became a Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT) ‘Friends of the Community’ supporter. As part of the agreement we will be providing all BACT facilities with adequate fire safety systems.

For more about the BACT please visit the Burton Albion Community Trust website. You can read more about our partnership here.

To find out more information about becoming of BACT’s ‘Friend of the Community’ visit https://www.burtonalbioncommunitytrust.co.uk/ or E-mail bactadmin@burtonalbionct.org.

Aston University, Birmingham

After successfully becoming one of three nominated framework providers for Aston University’s Electrical Framework, Midland Fire is pleased to announce that we are the Life Safety Framework provider for the next 3 to 5 years at Aston University.

We will be providing all-inclusive service and maintenance to the fire alarm system across campus. The system is made up of over 30 networked Gent control panels complete with full graphics package and a total of over 6000 devices.

The framework includes service and maintenance of all emergency lighting units so we will be conducting 3hr discharge and monthly flick tests including a mixture of self-contained battery back-up and central battery systems. Disabled refuge systems and pager systems are also covered ensuring the protection of all staff, students and guests in the event of a fire.

Midland Fire has over 10 years’ experience working within the education sector including schools and colleges. Please contact us if you would like a free consultation.

midland fire celebrates 20 years of trading

Over the past 20 years Midland Fire Security Services Ltd (Midland Fire) has become one of the most successful fire alarm and life safety system providers in the local area. With a team of 20 engineers the company has come a long way from its inception at the start of the century.

Midland Fire’s focus on commercial fire safety systems have seen them work on several complex projects over the years. Previous projects include fire alarm systems at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport, Xscape Shopping Centre, Milton Keynes and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK near Derby.

The company’s engineers are local to the Burton On Trent area, it also employs 5 apprentices to support the future growth of the business.

Humble beginnings

To this day Midland Fire remains a family run life safety company. The company was founded by Gary Sillito in September 1999. Gary worked as a specialist subcontractor to Gent / Honeywell Building Solutions, catering for their more complex commissioning and programming needs. He earned a reputation for quality workmanship and excellent customer service helping the company win projects of their own throughout the East and West Midlands.

Over the last decade the business has continued to grow with the help of Gary’s three sons, Daniel, Luke and Jack who started out their careers as electricians at WT Parker Ltd. Their input and varied experience enabled Midland Fire to be able to carry out more installations throughout the UK and offer more services including electrical services, emergency lighting, door access, gas suppression and fire extinguisher services.  The company has also gained several accreditations to meet suppliers’ requirements and maintain the highest standards of workmanship.

Recent successes

Throughout the busy summer period, Midland Fire have successfully completed a range of complex projects, including the full rewire of fire alarms at Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, several school fire alarm rewires for local electrical contractors, the electrical Infrastructure for the new medical school at Aston University and the upgrade of sub-station fire alarms system at Toyota Manufacturing. Along with this they have secured a 3-year electrical framework contract at Aston University, and multiple contracts with the NHS within the West Midlands, along with various upgrade works to fire alarm systems for local contractors.

For more information or to work with us please call 01283 741000 or email info@midlandfiresecurity.co.uk