Once a spark has ignited, fire can spread rapidly through a building. The fire produces intense and dry heat which means flammable items within the building can easily catch alight and provide further fuel for the flames to spread. In addition to the heat and flames, fires give off smoke which can cause a lot of damage.
The speed at which the flames spread, the poor visibility due to the smoke, the lack of oxygen in the air and the intense heat make it extremely difficult to escape from a building that is on fire. People are reliant on early warning systems such as smoke and fire alarms and knowledge of what to do in a fire in order to significantly improve their chances of escape.
As the UK’s largest city, London is served by the country’s busiest fire and rescue service. With 5,800 fire fighters, London Fire Brigade is one of the largest in the world. If you live or work in London, installing fire safety measures will help you to avoid becoming one of their annual statistics.
Over the last decade, fire prevention has become the focus of fire services across the UK. In educating everyone from school children to business owners about the dangers of fire and how to reduce the hazards in any household or company building, changes are being made for the better. In 2013 there was a 25% drop in the number of fires in London compared to the previous year. Over the last decade, there has been a decrease of 64% despite the fact that the population of London has grown during this period.
Whilst this is excellent news and shows that things are moving in the right direction, an average of 56 fires were reported every day in London during 2013. This shows that fire is a very real threat to your property and the people and belongings in it. So, if you have yet to minimise the risks in your home or business, now is the time to take fire prevention seriously.
Whilst there are many reasons that a fire can start, the main causes are cigarettes, unattended cooking pots and overloaded sockets.
Cigarettes and Cigars
In a work environment, this hazard has been greatly reduced since the laws were introduced to ban smoking in public areas. They do remain a high risk threat in the households of smokers. It is important that you ensure that there are no small sparks or heat left in the cigarette when it is disposed of.
The kitchen is the highest risk room within a home. If you have a canteen or cooking facilities in your workplace, it is also a significant hazard. Pots and pans should not be left unattended whilst you are cooking. Flammable items such as tea towels and kitchen roll should not be left near the hob and electrical items must be kept way from water. Always follow the cooking and reheating instructions on food labels and remember to never put metal objects into a microwave.
This is becoming an increasing problem in both the workplace and home. Our reliance on electrical items means that there are often multiple devices plugged into sockets and this significantly increases the risk of an electrical fire.
Every household should be fitted with a minimum of one smoke alarm. This needs to be checked on a regular basis to ensure the battery is still working and to replace the battery as needed. You may also chose to install other fire safety measures such as fire guards and fire blankets in the kitchen.
Any company should undertake a Fire Risk Assessment which covers a range of preventative measures including the installation of fire safety equipment such as fire alarms and fire extinguishers. Emergency exit routes need to be identified with signs, an evacuation process needs to be planned and all employees should be made aware of this process. Employees should also be trained on what to do in the case of a fire and be made aware of the damage that fire can cause. In addition all electrical equipment needs to be tested on an annual basis.
If you are looking for a company to prepare your Fire Risk Assessment, provide staff training or install fire alarms, London is served by Surrey Fire Service
Contact us today for more information and a free quote.