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Electrical Fire Safety Week

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The 24th January marked the start of the inaugural Electrical Fire Safety Week a new government initiative aimed at raising awareness of one of the biggest causes of accidental fires in the UK.

The official estimates according to Sir Ken Knight, the government’s chief fire and rescue adviser, suggest that faulty or misused electrical appliances caused over 20,000 fires across the UK in 2007 with accidental electrical fires in the home resulting in 40 deaths and nearly 4,000 casualties. Still mystifies me that in the digital age the best we can muster are 3 year old statistics.

The equivalent statistics for commercial business premises were not included at the launch press conference as the onus appears to be on educating home owners. Clearly a fire in the home can often be devastating and as reported in today’s news sometimes extremely tragic, but a fire in business premises can have equally dire consequences for owners and staff alike.

Premises can be rebuilt, offices refurbished and equipment replaced but a fire does not discriminate and proprietors should stop to think of the consequences of losing the nuts and bolts of the business aka – systems data, accounts records, customer records and order process ledgers that are now not stored in box files but on backup digital media tapes. This data is essential to continue trading and is difficult and in some cases impossible to replace.

For security purposes backup tapes are usually stored in a secure locked cupboard or cabinet on the premises but your bread and butter office storage cabinet will provide little protection if a fire breaks out when the heat generated heads towards four figures Celsius and above.

Question your reliance on data stored on digital media and the implications of a total loss – assuming the fire has also melted your Quad Core server into the bargain. If the answer gives you nightmares then take a look at our range of Digital Media Fireproof Storage Safes. These give you all the benefits of a high security safe for paper, valuables and the like but with added safeguards including fire and magnetic flux protection specifically designed to protect tape drives, CD’s, DVD’s and USB drives.

If you take the position “it will never happen to me” be aware that I recall one business that was lucky not to be burnt to the ground by a single, presumable blind mouse that inexplicably chewed through an electrical cable feeding the one piece of electrical equipment that was running 24/7 – the Server. Ironic when you think of it.

 

Storing Up Trouble

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During the recent cold spell many businesses and domestic consumers, I amongst them, were left without heating oil supplies. In desperation people were forced to find whatever containers they could and trawl the local suppliers for emergency supplies. This was not easy and I for one was forced to introduce some expensive diesel to the tank to get me through. As a consequence domestic and business users were transporting and storing extra quantities of fuel many without knowledge of current safety legislation for flammable substances.

For reference the good news is that for Heating Oils and Diesel, under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) there are no specific legal requirements on the quantity allowed either in workplaces or domestic premises. They are not, from a health and safety point of view, classed as particularly hazardous substances within the context of DSEAR – as their higher flash point means that their vapours will not ignite anywhere near normal room temperatures.

Kerosene and diesel do however constitute an environmental hazard, incurring high clean-up costs if they should leak into a drain, watercourse or the soil. Also if they are caught up in a fire they will contribute to fire intensity and spread so safe containment is essential.

When not in use, containers of flammable liquids needed for current work activities should be kept in sealed containers and stored in suitable fire-resisting cabinets or bins which are also designed to retain spills (110% volume of the largest container stored in it).

The recommended maximum quantity of highly flammable liquids, i.e. with a flash point below the maximum ambient temperature of the workroom, that may be stored in DSEAR type flammable storage cabinets and bins should be no more than 50 litres. For other flammable liquids with a higher flashpoint of up to 55°C no more than 250 litres is recommended.

The amount of petrol that can be kept in a domestic garage or within six metres of a building is a maximum of two ten litre capacity metal containers or two suitable plastic containers with a maximum capacity of five litres each. Under no circumstances should the petrol containers be stored in the home itself.

The design of our standard flammable storage cupboards is intended to provide a physical barrier to delay the involvement of the stored materials in a fire and limit exposure to the flames and hot gases for sufficient time to allow safe evacuation.

If your working practices require internal storage of quantities of highly flammable liquids above the recommended maximums then you are well advised to consider fire proof storage cabinets conforming to the BS EN 14470-1:2004 Standard. Unlike single skin cabinets that segregate from flames but not heat the EN14470 cabinets have stringent design specifications covering the fire resistance of the complete cabinet that prevent the internal temperature from rising above preset limits protecting the contents from fire damage or destruction for up to 90 minutes. Although their use in the UK is not yet a legal requirement under DSEAR legislation for excess storage quantities employers may find installing BS EN14470 cabinets with enhanced fire performance helps in justifying the integrity of their risk assessment as well as protecting valuable assets.

 

Welcome

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After 10 weeks of frenzied behind the scenes activity I am delighted to introduce you to our brand new website The Safety Storage Centre.

No prizes for guessing the raison d’être behind the launch of a website that has a mission statement that reads “The Safety Storage Centre specialise in providing storage solutions to ensure our customers compliance with workplace safety legislation and to protect personnel and secure property and valuable assets from workplace hazards, fire and theft.”

Why now? Well as a company we have been supplying and distributing fire protection and personal safety products for over a decade and The Safety Storage Centre now  joins its sister website The Fire and Safety Centre as an integral branch of The Supply Centre network and thereby expanding our internet e-commerce product portfolio.

The popularity of the specialist range of fire safety storage products available through The Fire and Safety Centre convinced us that we offered Private and Public organisations the right mix of product, price and quality to expand our range to include all types of Safety Storage Solutions. Given the thousands of safety products we currently supply and the thousands of safety storage cabinets, cupboards, chests, boxes, safes, lockers etc, etc, etc, that are required for compliance with the myriad of safety legislation the only solution was a brand new dedicated site that does exactly what it says on the box or in this case the URL!

This blog will keep you in the loop with industry insight, news and independent commentary on what’s happening in the safety storage arena and updates on any changes in legislation that may impact your organisation.

I hope you find the website relevant, accessible and informative and of course you are cordially invited to add comments and raise issues relevant to the cause for the benefit of all our customers.

Barrie

 

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