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Fire Extinguisher Servicing

Fire Extinguisher Servicing

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Why should you service your fire extinguishers?

By law, employers must provide their staff with adequate meansof tackling a fire in the workplace. There is also a legal obligation for a competent person to annually service the fire extinguishers to the current BS standards. Workplaces must also carry out checks, at least monthly, to ensure all fire extinguishers are maintained in working order and in good repair between services.

Each extinguisher must be accompanied by appropriate fire extinguisher wall signage. These signs indicate the type of extinguisher andgive instructions about the use of the specific extinguishers.

All extinguishers should, where possible be wall mounted on a suitable bracket or placed on a fire extinguisher stand.

Legalities

Annual Fire extinguisher maintenance is a legal requirement under Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order. It also ensures compliance with thefollowing regulations:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that all fire safety equipment be “maintained in anefficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended in 1999) requires employers to carry out a fire risk assessment of their workspace in order to identify, reduce or eliminate any fire hazards that may be found in the workplace.British Standard Code of Practice BS 5306-3:2009 recommends that all fire extinguishers are serviced at least once a year by qualified technicians. BS 5499: Parts 1 and 3 also states that if for any reason extinguishers are placed in positions hidden from direct view their position should be indicated by suitable signs.

Monthly internal visual inspections should also be carried out to check for:

Any sign of tampering, such as missing or broken tamper tags or pins. Signs of discharge such as water, powder or foam traces on the hose or horn of the extinguisher. Gauges showing low or high pressure. Any damage to fire extinguishers such as rust or missing parts etc.

Any damaged extinguishers must be replaced immediately or repaired by a servicing company.

Type of Fire Extinguishers

Type of Extinguisher Description
Water Good for tackling fires involving burning paper, wood and soft furnishings, as the water soaks into the materials (Class A fires). This type of extinguisher does not leave a residue, but does have a comparatively low rating and are therefore larger and heavier. Water with additive extinguishers has a higher fire rating, which therefore reduces the weight of the extinguisher and removes the risk of self-electrocution.
Foam Suitable for flammable liquids and areas where soft furnishings and carpets are present (Class A and B fires). Foam extinguishers are safe to use with regards to electrical risk. This type of extinguisher usually contains additives which are carcinogenic, making the cleaning process of the premises after the vent of a fire more problematic.
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Contain only pressurised CO2 gas and leave no residue. This type of extinguisher is suitable for use on fires involving burning liquids (Class B fires), but is also an excellent solution for quenching fires involving computer equipment and other electrical appliances, as it does not cause damage to the electrical items and does not cause the system to short circuit. It is important to remember that when using CO2 extinguishers there is a possibility that once the gas has floated away the fire may reignite if the source of the fire is not removed (eg switching off the power supply). Please be aware that CO2 extinguishers that are not fitted with double-lined swivel horns may cause your fingers to freeze to the horn during the deployment of the CO2 gas.
Powder Extinguishers Also called ABC extinguishers, or dry powder extinguishers are suited to fight class A, B and C fires. Powder extinguishers have a good fire fighting capacity, but this agent does not soak into materials and does not have a cooling effect on the fire. This could result in the fire reigniting, if it is not properly extinguished. Care must be taken when using powder extinguishers and they should not be used in small confined spaces where there is a risk of inhalation of the powder.
Wet Chemical Also called ABC extinguishers, or dry powder extinguishers are suited to fight class A, B and C fires. Powder extinguishers have a good fire fighting capacity, but this agent does not soak into materials and does not have a cooling effect on the fire. This could result in the fire reigniting, if it is not properly extinguished. Care must be taken when using powder extinguishers and they should not be used in small confined spaces where there is a risk of inhalation of the powder.

How much will it cost ?

There is a minimum call out charge which covers your first 10 fire extinguishers and £3.75 thereafter for each additional extinguisher.

This minimum call out charge can be waived if you employ us for any of our other services, such as PAT Testing, as all work will be able to be carried out at the same time.

Extinguisher costs will vary depending on the type of extinguisher required.

PAT Testing

PAT Testing

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What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) involves a series of electrical and visual inspections on all portable appliances within a place of work. These tests determine whether or not the electrical appliances are safe for use.

Why do we need PAT Testing?

All employees have a duty of care to their employees and customers. PAT testing can help employees to meet this obligation.

The main reasons for carrying out PAT Testing are:

To comply with the Electricity at Work regulations.Reduce risk of fire and injury.Insurance companies cannot dispute claims for damage through fire because of insufficient electrical maintenance.The ISO 9000 Quality Assurance Standard requires all companies to comply with the Health and Safety requirements.

The Health and Safety Executive claim that more than 2000 fires are caused by faulty electrical appliances in any single year. Without regular PAT testing, if an electrical accident occurred on your premises, you could find yourself in a serious situation and worse case scenario with a criminal record. The maximum penalty for failure to comply with the Electrical Regulations is a fine of £5,000 and/or 6 month’s imprisonment. Insurance policies may also be an area for concern as many insurance companies will now ask for evidence of PAT testing before insuring you.

Legalities

PAT testing is considered to be the best way for employees to comply with all electrical regulations and health and safety requirements as stated below:

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 places a “duty of care” on employers and landlords to maintain electrical systems to prevent danger. Regulation 4 (2) states: “As may be necessary to prevent danger all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable such danger.”Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASW 1974) places a duty of care on employers and employees to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises.

What type of appliances need testing?

Any type of equipment, which is powered by electrical energy must be tested. This includes:

Portable AppliancesHand-held AppliancesStationary Equipment or Appliances

Information Technology Equipment (Business Equipment)

Extension LeadsHard wired appliances such as Hand Dryers

How often should PAT Testing be carried out?

This varies depending on the workplace environment and the equipment to be tested. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you to select the correct time periods between tests.

What is the procedure for testing?

There are a number of tests included in PAT Testing which include:

A full visual inspectionInsulation testEarth continuity test or earth bond test

Earth leakage test

Following this we will issue you with a certificate for your records which will indicate the results. Each item of equipment is also given an individual code for identification and will be issued with a personalised pass/fail sticker.

How much will it cost?

We price each job individually, based on the number of appliances requiring testing. For a free quote please fill in our online form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Included in all P & R tests are any replacement plugs and fuses required and all reterminations. Many companies charge for these items separately and also add charges for parking, travel and even overnight accommodation.

Fixed Wire Testing

Fixed Wire Testing

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What is Fixed Installation Testing?

Fixed Installation Testing, also known as Periodic Inspection or Hard Wire Testing, is the testing of all electrical services and systems that conduct electricity around a building. This includes all parts of a distribution system, from the main incoming supply point, through to wiring accessories such as sockets and light fittings, and everything in between.

As with PAT Testing it includes a visual inspection along with several electronic tests which will determine the integrity and functionality of cables, accessories and disconnection devices and will:

Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment are overloadedFind any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installationIdentify any defective DIY electrical workHighlight any lack of earthing or bonding

Why do we need Fixed Installation Testing?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 places a duty of care on employers to maintain electrical systems to prevent danger where it may otherwise exist.

The benchmark for the Fixed Installation Testing process is BS 7671:2008 Guidance Note 3 (The IEE Wiring Regulations) which provides guidance on how systems must be designed, installed and maintained.

Legalities

The Electricity at Work Act, 1989, states that all electrical systems and equipment used in the working environment should be in a safe condition.The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty of care on the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises.The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:The risks to the health and safety of their employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, andThe risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in their employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by them or their undertakingThe Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:”All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.””As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”“System means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment.”“Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”

Who should carry out the work?

Fixed Installation Testing should be carried out by a fully qualified and experienced test engineer, such as a fully qualified electrician who has experience of test and inspection and has been trained and qualified in electrical inspection work specifically.

How often should a building be tested?

As with PAT Testing the time between tests will depend on the workplace environment and the use of the installation.

The IEE recommend the following maximum period between inspections:

Installation Type                                                                                                                      Max Period Between Fixed Installation Testing

Commercial                                                                                                                                                                                     5 Years

Educational Establishments                                                                                                                                                        5 Years

Hospitals                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Years

Industrial Premises/Factories                                                                                                                                                     3 Years

Hotels & Restaurants                                                                                                                                                                     1 Year

Theatres                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Year

 

However, many companies prefer to carry out 20% of this testing annually to spread the cost as well as ensuring any problems are discovered and repaired on an ongoing basis.

What is the procedure for Fixed Installation Testing?

Each circuit tested will require isolation from main supply for a short period of time whilst insulation and continuity tests are carried out as well as a visual inspection. On completion of the dead circuit tests the power is restored and an earth loop impedance measurement is taken.

Upon completion of this you will receive a report that details the following:

Installation details and characteristicsCircuit information and test resultsSchedule of items tested and inspectedA list of defects or deviations from the British Standard (these will require attention)

How much will it cost?

Costs will depend on the type of building and the number of circuits to be tested, the availability of circuit data and whether testing takes place while the building is manned or vacant.

Contact us today on 0800 612 2574 letting us know your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a quote.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency Lighting

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What is Emergency Lighting Testing?

Emergency Lighting is a necessary requirement in all premises where people are employed. It is a Life Safety System which is designed to assist in the evacuation of a building in an emergency situation and in the event of a power failure. It is a mandatory requirement to be installed where artificial lighting is installed.

During Emergency Lighting Testing all key components within the system will be tested and inspected. Included in this is a functionality test of key switches, luminaries and control equipment.

Why do we need to have our emergency lights tested?

Emergency lights are installed to assist in evacuating a building in the event of loss of supply to the mains lighting circuits. These lights automatically operate for between 1 and 3 hours on a battery back-up system and must be checked to ensure they will work for the required duration in the case of an emergency.

Legalities

All employers, landlords or occupiers have a duty under the “Fire Precaution (Workplace) Regulations 1999” and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to annually carry out a risk assessment to ensure their premises and activities are able to facilitate safe escape in the event of an emergency.

The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 state that “Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in case lighting fails.”It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that these systems are suitably maintained and checked to ensure they are safe and compliant. All emergency lighting systems should now be installed, tested and inspected in accordance with BS5266-1.It is also a requirement under Article 14(2)(h) of the Fire Safety Order that the person responsible for a premises ensures adequate emergency lighting has been installed.

Where are emergency lights required?

Emergency lights are required in all areas where artificial lighting is installed including:

On escape routesOpen areas greater than 60 square metresAreas of special riskNear to stairs and adequate to shine direct lights on all treadsAt any change of directionAt any changes in floor levelNear to corridors and intersectionsNear to fire fighting equipmentNear to first aid pointsOutside each final exit point

Who should carry out the work?

Emergency Lighting Testing should be carried out by a fully qualified and experienced test engineer, such as a fully qualified electrician who has experience of test and inspection and has been trained and qualified in electrical inspection work specifically.

What is the procedure for testing?

The test required is a simulated mains failure to the light unit for the duration of the hourly rating (1-3 hours). It requires that every circuit supplying an emergency light is isolated to demonstrate that the internal battery in the emergency fittings keeps the exits illuminated during a power failure. Each light is inspected to ensure it operates correctly and that the lamp inside is sound. The engineer will also ensure that there are a sufficient number of lights and check all fittings are correct.

How much will it cost?

Costs will depend on the type of building and the number of circuits to be tested, the availability of circuit data and whether testing takes place while the building is manned or vacant.

Contact us today letting us know your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a quote.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal Imaging

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What is Thermal Imaging?

Thermal Imaging, also known as thermography, is the production of infrared or heat pictures which can pick up images which are often invisible to the naked eye. Potential problems are highlighted where there is an excess of heat being released by a component, which if left undetected can result in failure and in extreme cases fire.

Thermal Imaging can detect:

Loose connectionsOverloadsPhase imbalancesBlocked or restricted cooling tubes in transformersHigh resistance in fuses and switchgear

Thermal imaging should not be used as an alternative to a fixed wire inspection but be used in conjunction with it as it is limited in its ability to detect all electrical faults.

Why do we need to carry out Thermal Imaging?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 places a duty of care on employers to maintain electrical systems to prevent danger where otherwise it may exist. Thermal Imaging can be a valuable tool as it highlights any potential causes for concern without the need to isolate circuits. This allows corrective action to be taken before any costly system failures.

Who should carry out the work?

Thermal Imaging should be carried out by a fully qualified and experienced test engineer, such as a fully qualified electrician who has experience of test and inspection and has been trained and qualified in electrical inspection work specifically.

How much will it cost?

Contact directly on 0800 6122 574  to discuss further.

Fire Alarm Testing

Fire Alarm Testing

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Why do we need to test our fire alarms?

Fire Protection systems must be fully operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Servicing Fire Alarm Systems is just as important as installing them in the first place and is a legal requirement.

Legalities

Fire Alarm testing is essential to ensure that the system is in full working order and is a requirement under BS5839 Part 1 2002.

How often should Fire Alarm Testing be carried out?

Quarterly for systems with lead acid batteries otherwise 6 monthly (periodic) and annually. A more frequent service schedule may be put in place if the responsible person or service engineer feel that it is required.

What is the procedure for testing?

Both periodic and annual tests are the same as the annual test but on the periodic inspection you only have to test one detector or manual call point from each Zone/Loop and on an annual test all detectors and call points are to be tested. On each subsequent periodic test a different detector or call point should be tested from the previous years, for this reason on a periodic test it is advisable to list which detector  or manual call point has been tested.

Quarterly inspection and testing

Inspecting log bookVisually inspecting any structural or occupancy changes to assess whether changes to the fire alarm system are requiredChecking false alarm recordsBattery checking and testingChecking and testing of control panel functions

Testing of fire alarm devicesChecking automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving centre (ARC)Checking and testing of all fault indicators and circuitsTesting of printersOther checks and tests recommended by the manufacturerReporting of outstanding defectsCompleting log bookIssuing servicing certificate

Annual inspection and testing

Testing of the switch mechanism of every manual call pointExamining and testing of every automatic fire detector

Visual and audible testing of all fire alarm devicesReplacement of filament lampsChecking of radio fire detection and fire alarm system signal strengthsVisual inspection of readily accessible cable fixingsChecking of the cause and effect programmeChecking of the standby power supply capacityOther annual checks and tests recommended by the system component manufacturersReporting of outstanding defectsIssuing the servicing certificate

Heat and Smoke Detectors

There are 3 different types of smoke detectors:

Optical – work on the principal of infra red light refracting off smoke particles entering the chamber. This makes the detectors more sensitive to smouldering fires such as modern fabrics or furnishings. Also more prone to false alarms from steam or dusty environments.Testing of the switch mechanism of every manual call point

Beam Detectors – works as an infra red beam is emitted from the transmitter (TX) to the receiver (RX), which detects any obstruction by smoke.

Ionisation – works on the principal of charred smoke particles passing between two electrodes causing a small current flow. This detector is more suited for fast flaming fires such as paper/wood. Also more prone to false alarms from burning smells outside kitchens etc.Testing of the switch mechanism of every manual call pointTesting of the switch mechanism of every manual call pointTesting of the switch mechanism of every manual call pointTesting of the switch mechanism of every manual call point

There are 2 types of heat detectors:

Rate of rise – these detectors will respond to a sudden increase in temperature and also have a fixed element in case of a slow smouldering fire. Most suitable for areas where is a smoke detector is undesirable i.e. a staff room.

Fixed temperature – have a sensing element which operates the detector when a particular temperature is reached. This type of detector is ideal for rooms where a rate of rise detector would not be suitable such as a kitchen or a boiler room.

How much will it cost?

Costs will depend on the type of building and the number alarm points and heat and smoke detectors to be tested and whether testing takes place while the building is manned or vacant.

Contact us today letting us know your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a quote.