How to avoid shooting yourself in the foot by shooting yourself in the foot – physically and metaphorically

These game shooting tips are about far more than safe gun handling, though that’s vital at all times. They’re intended to give you an insight into how to behave at what’s essentially a social event to get the most out of it. Safety Storage Centre has tapped into expert knowledge of the Countryside Alliance and top gunsmith Purdey for this brief beginner’s guide to shooting.

The story of a man having to learn to walk all over again after shooting himself in the foot is the perfect illustration of what happens when firearms aren’t handled correctly.

It could have been a lot worse; he might have shot or even killed the friend who was with him on the crow-shooting expedition – but it could have been a lot better if he’d followed all the safety rules and shot no-one at all.

The destructive power of every kind of gun is why there are strict rules about their handling, use, and storage – because if something can go wrong, it will.

Now’s a good time to highlight the right way to handle and use firearms, because the arrival of August brings with it the first of the opening days for game shooting seasons, and with them, perhaps novice shooters joining the million-strong UK shooting fraternity and trying the sport for the first time.

Game Shooting

Game shooting tips

Novices will no doubt be well advised by more experienced people, but it’s worth pointing out that there are numerous codes of good shooting practice, brought together in the Code of Good Shooting Practice guide published by the Countryside Alliance. They’re immensely detailed, covering every imaginable aspect of the sport, but at their heart are basic safety rules detailing how to behave with a gun in your hand. They’re made simple so they’re easily understood.

• Never carry a loaded gun
• Always treat a gun as if it’s loaded (even though you know it isn’t)
• Never point a gun at anyone
• Never carry a gun with your finger on the trigger
• Never have a loaded gun in your car
• In the case of shotguns, they should be ‘broken’ to show they’re empty and incapable of being fired
• Always use the safety catch
• Load the gun only when you’re going to fire it
• Never shoot unless you have a clear view of the target – and you’re sure there’s nothing behind it
• If you’re not sure, don’t shoot
• When shooting game be sure of a humane kill – it’s not a competition
• When your gun is not in use store it away in an approved gun cabinet

Game shooting etiquette

Top gunsmith Purdey says the essence of field etiquette is very simple, and is about being safe and sporting, adding:

“You will find that most of the unwritten rules are merely a logical means of shooting safely, and with pleasure for all.”

The Purdey web site shooting etiquette section also advises that anyone invited to a day’s driven game shooting shouldn’t turn up without ever having fired a gun, but should have lessons first. The right clothes are important too. It might seem obvious to mention it, but you need to be warm and dry, and have unrestricted movement. There are also good tips about making sure you know where you’re going – urging that you don’t rely on satnavs (shoot locations might be down tracks they can’t see) or mobile phones (you’re in the country; there’s every likelihood of poor reception). The shoot is unlikely to wait for a latecomer!

Much more information about shooting is available on the Countryside Alliance web site.

Why protecting the environment needs us all to work together

On June 5th the United Nations will be promoting World Environment Day, this year to make us aware that we’re using the planet’s resources faster than is sustainable. Safety Storage Centre wants to do its bit by raising awareness of the need for safe storage of chemicals, so there’s no danger of them causing pollution in spills that damage our under-pressure resources.

The French know a thing or two about food, and they’ve just changed their rules to make it go further. From now on supermarkets in the country aren’t allowed to throw any away.

It happens in many food stores, not only in France, but around the developed world. Once stock gets close to being out of date off the shelves it goes, ready to be replaced with newer incarnations of the same thing. This clever new law will force supermarkets to become inventive with what method they choose for disposal. Some will no doubt be donated, some will go for animal food. All of it will have a beneficial use.

We’re all a bit guilty

World Environment DayHowever, there’s an underlying issue here, and it’s that we’ve brought this situation on ourselves. It starts because we tend to seek out the longest-dated item or the best-looking vegetables on the supermarket shelves, regardless of the fact that the less attractive ones are perfectly safe to eat. Some of it never even gets to the shelves; cauliflowers have lots of leaves that are hacked off before the heart is offered for sale; sprouts grow on stems that are topped with leaves, almost like a free cabbage.

The problem is that we just don’t want them. It gets worse because we then over-purchase, and throw food away at the end of the week, and that problem’s compounded because local authorities have to find some way of disposing of it all.

The environmental elephant in the room

But the real elephant in the room is that we can’t afford it – not in a monetary sense, though we could arguably make better use of our cash – but in an environmental sense. Put simply, we’re putting too much pressure on the resources the planet can deliver. We need to be more careful, or there will be nothing left for our grandchildren.

That’s the message coming from the United Nations for this year’s World Environment Day on June 5th. This year’s theme is about consuming with care. Says the UN World Environment Day web site:

“The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. And yet, evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.”

What chemical storage cabinets have to do with World Environment Day

All the more reason, then, to look after what we have.

Safety Storage Centre recognises the dangers to the planet of spilled chemicals, but also understands that they have a role to play in our lives. Careful storage is therefore required, and is covered by a number of regulations.

We’ve pulled the important ones together on our advice pages, which will help you do your bit for the planet by making sure all the hazardous materials you need are used correctly, and kept out of harms’ way in the correct chemical storage cabinets when they’re not needed.

Most chemicals and other hazardous materials are covered by the COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health – regulations, which we show on our advice pages. There are a number of COSHH cabinets in our product range, all designed to comply with the relevant legislation. Details of each of which can be found on the individual product pages.

A really helpful step-by-step guide to implementing the COSHH regulations is part of our advice pages here.

Picture: Gajus via Dreamstime

Scunthorpe steel reaches a 125-year milestone

Products offered by the Safety Storage Centre and its Supply Centre sister companies rely on the qualities of a product first made in Scunthorpe 125 years ago this month, only a few miles from where we care for our customers today.

Life in the 21st century couldn’t be lived without steel. It is the foundation for everything we do. What isn’t made of it is manufactured with it or using tools made from it. Everything is moved with its help – and 125 years ago this month Scunthorpe was at the cutting edge of changing the world with it.Steel Work Anniversary

That was when the town was involved with the white heat, quite literally, of technology, when steel was made here for the very first time.

But the world of Scunthorpe steel in 1890 was very different from the one we’re familiar with today. The homes of the workers making it weren’t lit with electric light; there were no cars, no radio, and certainly no television. Conan Doyle had only just begun to write about Sherlock Holmes, Stan Laurel and Agatha Christie were born, and it would be another 50 years before the home freezer made frozen food commonplace.

The driving force behind steel in Scunthorpe was an Austrian called Maximilian Mannaberg, who built the town’s first steelworks for a little more than £110,000; a small enough sum by today’s standards, but about twice the budget he’d had available when he started the project.

Mannaberg’s legacy in steel

Although all of this was happening 125 years ago, it has left a legacy that gives Northern Lincolnshire a worldwide reputation. Thousands have worked in the industry and depended on it; tens of thousands more still do. Scunthorpe steel has shaped skylines on every continent, as well as much closer to home. It’s in the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carriers and forms the longest suspension bridges in the world – but you’ve undoubtedly bought some too, perhaps as bedsprings, or paper clips, a spiral-bound notebook or the cords bracing the tyres on your car. Even the wire fittings in bras are made using it, and London’s commuters already rely on it daily, not least in the rails, for Underground and over ground trains. The site can make steel more than 100 metres long. The contribution continues; this month steel is being made for the ongoing Cross rail project.

Family matters in the industry – Tata Steel Scunthorpe

Another very important, but often overlooked, element of the steelmaking story is the concept of ‘family’. It’s true that people working in steel see themselves as a family, and Tata Steel Scunthorpe is part of a family-owned global operation. Families in and around Scunthorpe have relied on employment in the industry for generations. Even here at the Safety Storage Centre our company is part of The Supply Centre family, having several sister companies. All of them set a great deal of store by the qualities of steel, because it’s in the vast majority of our products, which couldn’t exist without it and will continue to do a valuable job for years on behalf of the extended family made up of our customers.

Hardened, toughened, and shaped with precision, steel is a valuable servant in every home and business. Mannaberg would have been proud.

Did you know?

Even ‘copper’ coins are made of steel. Go on, hold one against a magnet and prove it for yourself.


Picture: Tata Steel


Safe Insurance Explained

When buying safes you cannot base your choice on looks or price alone, at least not if you want your insurance company to cover you for losses due to theft, fire or flood damage to the safe and or its contents.

The manufacturers of quality cash safes will give Insurance or Cash Rating for each safe expressed in terms of the amount of cash an insurance underwriter considers you can safely store in the safe. The general rule is that the higher the cash rating the more secure the safe is from burglars and safecrackers. The Cash rating also usually defines the Valuables rating of the safe i.e. the equivalent value of non-cash valuables such as jewellery the safe can hold. This is almost universally agreed by insurers as 10 times the cash rating.

A safe certified to EN14450 is suitable for low risk applications up to a maximum of £4000 in cash and £40,000 in valuables and are a popular choice for home security. The European standard EN1143-1 covers everything above this security level and safes to this standard are often termed Euro or Eurograde cash safes. The “Grade” is expressed as a number from Grade 0 to Grade13 in ascending order of greater security. A grade 13 safe is effectively equivalent to a bank vault with a cash rating of £3.5 million.

Assigning cash ratings is usually based upon testing to the European Attack Test Standards and drop tests that are now widely recognised by the insurance industry and provide independent third party confirmation of the security level and durability of a safe. You do sometimes see equivalent American test standards quoted usually prefixed by UL and independent laboratory certifications such as NT or NordTest more often for fire and water resistance.

Certification to international standards is the starting point for choosing the right safe for your circumstances but be aware that different insurers may apply different risk assessment criteria due to other factors such as the location of the property and the presence of other security measures. It is always best to check with your insurer that your cover is adequate particularly if you are storing lots of cash or valuables.

Sudoku – Mailboxes

Give the grey cells a workout with this special version of Sudoku using letters instead of numbers. The rules are the same, each row, column and 3×3 square box must contain each of the letters in the keyword exactly once.
We have filled in some of the solution to give you a start.
Your keyword describes products everyone should have at this festive time of year “MAILBOXES” for the Christmas post.

Answers next week!

Sudoku – safety cupboards

Here is a special version of the popular Sudoku brainteaser that uses letters instead of numbers. The rules are the same, each row, column and 3×3 square box must contain each of the letters in the keyword exactly once.

We have filled in some of the grid to give you a start.

As you might expect from the safety storage specialists your keyword is “CUPBOARDS“.

Come back next week for the solution and a new puzzle!

Anagram Teasers

Being a cryptic crossword nut I recently had to solve a clue that read “Keep savings in adapted face sash”

The answer was an anagram of Face Sash. Can you solve it? Pretty easy I think.Sentry Safe

Here’s a few more Anagrams to test your brain power. All the answers can be found somewhere on this website.

Tuscan Binge – 2 words

Rare Gecko Lost – 2 words

Infect Big Snail – 2 words

If you are stumped follow the links for the answers

If you can come up with any more Anagrams on the same theme to test our readers let us know.

Letter late than never

Without realising it most of us live our lives around of a set of routines. You know the type of thing – down the pub on Friday night, supermarket on Saturday, wash the car on Sunday and so on. I am frankly no different although when it comes to washing the car it’s twice a year whether the car needs it or not.

It is strange how a break in this routine can brighten the day. This month two seismic change events hit my village. The landlord – well lease holder – of my preferred village pub finally gave up the battle against government persecution of the drinking man and brewery avarice and called it quits. A closed pub is bad enough news but shock and horror we also have a new postman.

The landlord may have gone to new pastures but fortunately we have another pub in the village. Due to a sense of loyalty to the embattled ex landlord I have not set foot in the “other end” for a couple of years. I am quite looking forward to a change of scene for my “Friday night in the Pub” routine. A new postman is a different kettle of fish.

Post and Mail BoxesI first came upon the young chap pushing his small hatchback down Pinfold Lane. I was just about to offer to help when a villager leant over his wall and said “Don’t bother asking, he says he’s pushing it to save petrol”. Definitely a chuckle moment although not an encouraging introduction when you consider the houses in the village don’t have numbers just names. When you have a Pinfold Cottage, Pinfold House and Pinfold Gardens on the same street and four families with the same surname you need a Postie who knows his eggs from his omelettes.

Many houses also have long gated drives particularly the farms and like me don’t have a door letterbox so over time we have resorted to leaving a variety of receptacles for the Post on the road side, tea chests, biscuit tins and old wooden boxes amongst others.  At an impromptu alfresco parish meeting as we observed the postman’s painful progress into the distance it was decided that it may be prudent to encourage the populace to write the householder name or at least the words “Deliver Post Here” on the makeshift post boxes.  I obviously suggested we also point out that purpose made post boxes don’t cost the earth and are a good deal more stylish, secure and weather proof than a biscuit tin.

This morning I noticed that the Postman has devised a cunning plan to avoid pushing his car. He was loading a bicycle out of the hatchback which he then used to deliver post to a dozen or so houses. He then put the bike back in the car drove down the road a hundred yards and then repeated the process. No doubt he will develop a routine that suits him given time.

Securing the Tools of the Trade

While I was wiling away the dregs of an evening watching a late night repeat of the Antiques Roadshow my attention was suddenly caught by a large elongate wooden chest being appraised by one of the experts. It turned out to be an early 19th Century sailor’s sea chest.

The expert explained in some detail the waterproof pitch pine construction which was virtually rot proof and made the chest very heavy to prevent it sliding around below decks in a swell. He explained the braided rope handles at either end covered in tar pitch apparently recycled from old mast rigging and the reinforced cast metal strapping and heavy lock to deter theft of the few possessions and tools of the trade the sailor had.

Would you believe it but I have one that looked very similar also in pitch pine complete with braided rope handles that was gifted to me by a retired shipwright.  Too much of a coincidence but I suspect mine is probably not as old but nevertheless used to this day to lock away my more expensive tools.

Of course these day’s hens teeth are easier to find than 18″ planks of pitch pine and the valuation on the box was in the high hundreds so out of reach for many. If you are looking for a land based equivalent for secure tool storage modern technology and design comes to the rescue and you can now buy tool strong boxes at a fraction of the cost of the old sea chest. For tradesmen who routinely take expensive kit to site on open trucks they can secure their equipment with van strong boxes that feature prise resistant lids and bolt down holes to secure the box to the truck. The rope handles have been replaced with solid welded steel but otherwise like the sea chest they are eminently portable

The sailor was probably not that concerned about someone stealing his sea chest – just the contents. After all where would you conceal it on board a ship assuming one man could lift it in the first instance? Mere landlubbers need to take security to a different level.