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All the latest security news and information, plus insights and updates from IDS Security Systems Ltd.

your covid-19 fire safety questions answered

COVID-19 has completely changed the way that a lot of us work. Consequently, there have been a lot of changes to fire safety guidance and procedures too. We know you have a lot of questions about what you can and cannot do in relation to fire safety - well, today we're going to answer as many as we can!

The person responsible for fire safety in my workplace is self-isolating. What should I do?

No one can predict if and when members of the team will have to self isolate, your NHS Track and Trace app could alert you at any time. That's why it's important that people with responsibilities such as fire safety ensure that there are trained staff members who know the fire safety procedures so an incident can be managed effectively. 

There should be a premises fire risk assessment that's made available to all members of staff on-site so that everyone understands how to react to an escalating fire safety situation.

Can firefighters carry out a risk assessment of my premises for me?

No, the emergency services shouldn't be contacted unless the situation at hand poses a significant risk to life. A responsible person should be able to carry out a fire risk assessment for you. If you're unsure whether you need to update your fire alarm systems, we can offer a FREE security survey to help you out!

Can fire and rescue teams still respond to 999 calls as usual?

In line with the Government guidance, most fire and rescue services are doing their best to limit non-essential contact. That's why it's important that we all try to limit the number of false fire alarm alerts!

Read More: Preventing False Fire Alarms

Firefighters will still attend 999 calls if the risk is deemed severe enough to warrant a call-out. High-priority cases will be dealt with first. Head to your local fire and rescue website for more information on their current procedures.

emergency exit

Can fire exits be locked if there are fewer people on the premises?

As a general rule of thumb, no fire exits should be locked or blocked regardless of the number of people inside. There always needs to be a suitable number of fire exits available to occupants at all times, including signage and emergency lighting. Refer to your fire safety risk assessment as a guide, and if you're still not sure, speak to the person in charge of fire safety on your premises. 

Can fire doors be wedged open to limit the contact with door handles?

No, fire doors should never be propped open because this makes them ineffective in the event of a fire. Fire doors keep you safe by preventing a fire from spreading from one area of your premises to another. They can only do this if they're closed!

If you're concerned about people touching the fire door handles on a regular basis, then you should employ other hand hygiene tactics, for example:

  • Add a hand sanitising/hand wash station nearby.
  • Increase the number of times that handles and hard surfaces are disinfected. 
  • Ask employees to take a different route in and out of the building (unless it's an emergency of course!)

Should employees congregate outside if the fire alarm goes off?

Yes, if the fire alarm goes off, it's absolutely vital that all persons inside the building exit quickly and in an orderly fashion. They should congregate at the pre-determined fire assembly point.

What if this conflicts with social distancing?

If you're worried about social distancing at your fire assembly point there are a few things you can do. Firstly, you can choose a different fire assembly point that offers more space. Where this is not possible, you may need to revise instructions and expectations.

One way you could improve safety at the fire assembly point is to make sure that all persons have a face covering on them at all times while they're inside the building. Should a fire alarm occur, they can use their masks to provide some protection, even if social distancing is not 100% possible. 

Keeping your employees/occupants safe should be your number one priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you don't have an adequate fire safety system in place, get in touch with the IDS team today!

Our Fire Alarm Systems >

Read More: Fire Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

fire safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

We're still feeling the effects of COVID-19 a year on, which means many of us have made significant changes to our home and working environments. With these changes in place, it's possible that you'll need to review your fire safety protocols to make sure that your employees and your family are kept safe at all times. 

Fire safety in your home

While COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are ongoing, spending an unprecedented amount of time in your house has become the new norm. Most house fires start in the kitchen, so while you might usually have your breakfast on the go and your lunch in the office cafeteria, now, you're making more of your meals at home. 

We all like to think that we remember to turn the hob off after every use, but with children home from school and the added stress of at-home zoom calls, it's easy to walk away from your oven and forget. This is where a simple snack can turn into a serious incident real fast!

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your home is protected against fires during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Ensure that all of your fire alarms are in working order.
  • Check that you have something to put out a fire should one occur, eg. a suitable fire extinguisher.
  • Identify new risks & put plans in place to reduce the risk.
  • Ensure that vulnerable or sick people understand what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Make sure that escape routes are accessible (does your new home office have a fire escape?)

Fire safety in commercial properties

Commercial properties have really had to adapt to continue functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with so many changes being made in the workplace, it's vital that fire safety procedures are reviewed and updated too.

Fire doors

We know that some premises have been propping open doors so that people walking through the building don't have to touch as many door handles. While this might seem like a perfectly acceptable idea, propping open your fire doors is incredibly dangerous.

Fire doors are designed to stop fires from spreading from one area of your building to another. Wherever possible, keep your self-closing fire doors shut.

Empty buildings

Lots of business owners have taken steps to close their premises for the time being. Whether your staff are working from home or your business has been deemed non-essential, there are a lot more empty buildings than usual. 

With fewer people on-site, it's unlikely that a fire will occur, but if a fire does start it has a much better chance of spreading before someone can be there to stop it. For this reason, it's important that you have a fire safety system in place before you leave your premises empty.

Our Fire Safety Systems

Here at IDS Security, we can design, install and maintain a fire safety system in your home or commercial premises that will keep you safe through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Our team of installers has been installing fire safety systems for over 20 years, so we can provide sound advice and expertise. We also offer round-the-clock monitoring so that you have one less stress on your mind during these worrying times. 

Our Fire Alarm Systems >

To find out more about our fire safety systems, or to find out more about what we can do for you during the COVID-19 pandemic, give us a call on 029 20 753 251.

Read More:

5 Fire Safety Tips

Waking up to smoke and flames is possibly one of the worst things that can happen to your family and home. From April 2018 to March 2019, over 30,000 fires occurred in homes and other buildings in England, resulting in millions of pounds of damage. The worst thing of all is that the majority of these fires could have been prevented with adequate fire safety measures. Families, homes and business can be kept safe when proper precautions are put in place, such as creating a fire escape plan and ensuring your smoke detectors are functioning properly. Here we list the top fire safety tips to help prevent fires from happening and to limit their effects if and when they do occur.

 

1.      Get a smoke alarm

Smoke alarms are one of the most important ways to protect your home and business from the risk of fire. At the very least, it will alert you of a fire before it gets out of control, giving you enough time to get out of the building and contact the fire service. There are several important things to remember when it comes to smoke alarms. These are:

  • Have at least one alarm on every floor of your home or business
  • Test that it is working every month
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out
  • Replace the batteries annually
  • If you’re hard of hearing, install a strobe light or vibrating pad alarm
  • Only buy reputable smoke alarms that feature the LPCB logo or kite mark

 

2.      Be conscious when you are cooking

Despite cooking being a regular daily routine for most households, it is still a fire hazard, accounting for 48% of accidental dwelling fires. So, to help prevent fires from cooking here’s what to do and what not to do:

Do’s:

  • Keep your oven and hob clean at all times – build-ups of grease and fast can trigger a fire
  • Keep your toaster clean for the same reason
  • Keep plugs and electric leads away from water
  • If fat that you’re cooking with begins to smoke, immediately remove them from the heat – fat can easily set alight

Don’ts:

  • Leave pots and pans unattended
  • Pour water onto hot fat
  • Leave flammable materials near a lit hob
  • Leave children unattended in the kitchen or near appliances
  • Leave saucepan handle sticking out where they might get knocked over

 

3.      Be mindful of electrics

Nearly 25% of all fires caused in England during April 2018 to March 2019 were caused as a result of electrical distribution and appliances and therefore should be one of the main focuses when it comes to preventing fires in your home and business. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Ensure all electrical changes conducted in your home and business are performed by a qualified electrician.
  • Check all electrical cords regularly, ensuring no cords run across doorways and carpets where they could be damaged.
  • Limit the number of plugs you have in an electrical outlet or power strip.
  • Only use lightbulbs that match the recommended wattage for each lamp.

 

4.      Keep an eye on candles

Candles cause at least two house fires a day in the UK. So being mindful about how many candles are lit and where they are placed in your home is important. Here’s how to stop your candles from becoming a fire hazard:

  • Keep candles away from curtains, shelves and other flammable materials.
  • Always burn candles in a secure holder.
  • Never leave children or pets alone when candles are lit.
  • Blow out candles fully before you leave the room.

 

5.      Create a fire escape plan

Fires in the home can spread in minutes, therefore every second counts. Have a plan in place whereby you and your family know what to do when a fire occurs is crucial to yours and your family’s safety. Everyone should know who to call in the case of an emergency, as well as knowing what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear one. You should also establish and practice an escape plan, especially if you have small children. Here are some tips for creating an effective plan:

  • Draw a floor plan of your home that shows all doors and windows.
  • Show and discuss the plan with all members of your family.
  • Identify at least two ways out of every room, if possible. This could be through either windows or doors.
  • Once outside, everyone should meet at an agreed-upon place that’s a safe distance from the house.

These tips can also apply to businesses and their staff members.

By following the five tips outlined above, you can make incredible strides to ensuring your home and business not only prevents damaging fires but can limit their effects if they occur. Here at IDS Security Systems, we supply high-quality fire alarm systems that can help detect when a fire occurs, potentially saving you, your family and your employees. Click below to learn more!

Our Fire Alarms >

 

If you would like to learn more about our range of fire alarm systems, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the IDS team today!

 

Fire safety is a very important subject - it truly is a matter of life and death. Homes and commercial premises both require certain measures to ensure that, in the event of a fire, the dangers to human life are kept to a minimum.

We specialise in fire protection systems here at IDS, but how much do you know about fire safety? Read our infographic to make sure you understand how to make your property safe:

Infographic Transcript

Research shows that buildings burn faster now than ever before:

  • 30 years ago you would have approximately 17 minutes to escape a house fire
  • Nowadays you can have less than 5!

Fire exit: Always know where public fire exits are and the safest way to evacuate your house if there is a fire.

Make sure you have a fire alarm installed and test the ones you do have.

2/3 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke or fire alarms or have alarms that don't work.

Fire alarms should be tested once a month and have their batteries changed once a year

Be sure to take all the correct safety precautions by installing the right fire alarm!

You should have a smoke alarm on every floor of your home.

Which Fire Alarm Do You Need?

Conventional Fire Alarms

  • Can tell you which zone a fire is in
  • Great for small buildings with low risk of fire hazards

Wireless Fire Alarms

  • Wirelessly links the alarm panel with sensitive sensors
  • Ideal for buildings where wires aren't suitable such as temporary locations

Addressable Fire Alarms

  • Ideal for large spaces with a higher risk of fire
  • Can tell you the exact location of the fire

Biggest Fire Hazards

  • Cooking
  • Unattended Flames
  • Faulty Electrical Systems
  • Heating

If you want to know which security system would best protect your business learn more at www.ids-securityltd.co.uk

Fire detection

Fire alarm systems are the most important and essential safety measure for any home or business, and while you may hope that you never have to use them, it is imperative that these systems provide reliable detection and warning in the event of a fire.

At IDS we design systems to meet the specific needs of customers in properties and establishments of all sizes, providing state-of-the-art fire detection technology and professional installation, to ensure that the systems being installed meet the strict standards needed to provide maximum safety. 

In addition to our installation service, we also provide the added benefit of a 24/7 call out and engineering service, along with a fire alarm monitoring service. In order to ensure that your fire alarm system is functioning properly, and continues to deliver the high standard of safety expected, our call out service will help to solve any issues you are having with your system. Our fire alarm monitoring service will also provide additional support in the case of fire alarm activation, to ensure that the situation is able to be addressed as promptly and appropriately as possible.

Some benefits of fire alarm monitoring include:
  • Quick response to the location of the fire.
  • Rapid correspondence with the emergency services.
  • Peace of mind for property owners when they are away from their property.
Whether you simply need a conventional alarm, or a networked, addressable fire safety solution, we can provide a carefully considered and safely installed system, which will be monitored and maintained to the highest possible standard.

If you'd like to find out more about our fire alarm monitoring service and safety systems, then get in touch today by calling 02920 753251, or be filling in our simple enquiry form here.
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