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Fire Door Safety Week

One of the most effective fire safety products within your business premises are fire doors. Everyone knows that fire reacts and responds to oxygen. Having the correct fire door in place with the correct usage will prevent fire spreading. Flames will travel where there is the least amount of resistance. This week is Fire Door Safety week and an excellent toolbox of safety reminders has been created to assist the responsible person to manage their premises correctly. You can follow this link for further support and contact us to arrange a no obligation site survey on 0345 4592300.

Fire Safety, Fidget Spinners and False Alarms

Had enough of the latest fidget spinner craze yet? It will come. They are everywhere, much like fire safety - though our industry would be deemed far more important than the latest toy fad and rightly so. Although this latest ‘toy fad’ was born out of a serious need for learning support aids and initially deemed incredibly useful, on the flip side something as crucial as life safety can become an annoying, expensive inconvenience when a business property has poor alarm management in place and suffers from false alarms. The whole purpose of life safety systems comes in to jeopardy as soon as the reason behind the alarm comes in to question. Alarms should go off in the required event that a warning is needed. Fidget Spinners should be in place to aid and assist concentration.

This is real life and children like to play, even parents – I have a batman version! In real life ‘false alarms’ can occur, so let’s look deeper to help prevent and manage them.  Firstly, the use of the term 'False Alarm' is often misused when talking about automatic fire detection and alarm systems. A smoke or heat sensor will activate when smoke or excess heat is present. Vehicle exhaust smoke, bonfire smoke or burnt toast are all example of false or unwanted alarms. The sensor is only doing its job and whilst the activation may not be down to a real fire, the sensor has activated for the right reasons. In this case it’s better to refer to it as an ‘unwanted alarm’.

People can be too quick to blame false alarms on faulty equipment. However, modern electronic fire detection and alarm systems are no less reliable these days than any other item of electronic equipment. Fire sensors and control panels are produced not only in their millions by global manufacturing businesses to exacting quality requirements. They are also subject to an expensive approvals process prior to being released to market, designed to ensure they meet the appropriate European safety standards.

Drax can assist your business and work with the ‘responsible person’ to ensure several factors responsible for ‘unwanted alarms’ are quantified and reported, thus providing a clear indication of what needs to be done to reduce the occurrence of 'unwanted alarms'. We have evidence from large institutions that use the Drax Technology AMX software we supply, that demonstrates how effectively ‘unwanted alarms’ can be reduced. Achieved after collecting data from the fire detection and alarm systems, analysing that data and then instigating measures to ensure 'unwanted alarms' do not re-occur. 

'Unwanted alarms' need to be prevented to keep you compliant, save you money and more importantly keep everyone that enters your premises safe at all times. Do give us a call so that we can discuss which style of fidget spinner you have, I mean, which fire safety system you have in place and what measures we can put in to ensure your fire safety never becomes a frustration and does exactly what it is supposed to - Saves Lives.

We look forward to your call 0345 4592300 or email with the subject line : Help me prevent false alarms 

Fire Safety For All - Working with the Disability Discrimination Act

We recently ran a very popular twitter campaign highlighting the need - to know your fire escape route within your business premises. Under current fire safety legislation it is the responsibility of the person(s) having responsibility for the building to provide a fire safety risk assessment that includes an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be in the premises, including disabled people, and how that plan will be implemented.
It is essential that your business is aware of ‘fire safety for all’.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) does not make any change to these requirements: it underpins the current fire safety legislation in England and Wales – the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – by requiring that employers or organisations providing services to the public take responsibility for ensuring that all people, including disabled people, can leave the building they control safely in the event of a fire.
Public bodies have an additional duty, called the Disability Equality Duty (DED), which from December 2006 requires them to proactively promote the equality of disabled people. This will require them to do even more to ensure that disabled people do not face discrimination by not being provided with a safe evacuation plan from a building.

The Fire Risk Assessment guide produced by the government discusses how much focus has been placed on getting disabled individuals into buildings with parking spaces closer, ramps and larger door openings but equally we need to use these in order to get individuals out of a building should it become necessary. Here are some additional points highlighted for your consideration:
  • During your means of escape planning try not to overplay the safety issue to the detriment of the independence and dignity of disabled people.
  • A disabled person may have different capabilities in exceptional circumstances.
  • Reduce unnecessary escapes and false alarms. Some disabled people are placed at a great risk when carry-down procedures are used.
  • All employees should be made aware of all fire safety procedures upon induction.
  • Take into account how your standard evacuation plan affects visitors.
  • As standard always keep escape routes clear and free from obstruction to ensure that exits are readily available.
  • Every one using a building should also take responsibility for their own safety wherever possible and disabled people are no exception, therefore provide a choice of evacuation plans.
  • Train staff on unknown or uncontrolled visitors in the event of a fire.
  • A fully integrated PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) system should be an opportunity to improve safety for all.
  • Understand during your planning process that people often make their way to an exit they are familiar with rather than the most suitable escape route then adapt and plan for this accordingly.
  • In some instances, a disabled person may require allocated people to assist and facilitate their escape.
  • Maintain a regular commitment to staff training in the event of a fire.
  • People with learning difficulties may need to practise their routes for escape on a monthly basis.
  • Use the specifications set out in BS 8300 to assist with ‘reasonable adjustments’ that may need to be made to keep your building ‘fire safe for all’.
  • Cater for all types of disability such as mobility impairment, wheelchair users, hearing impaired and deaf people, visually impaired and blind people, people with cognitive disabilities, and unknown requirements.

You can read about this in a lot more detail via the link below but we hope that by highlighting some of the main points to think about you will make sure your business takes everything into account to provide ‘fire safety for all.’


If you have any questions or wish to discuss anything raised within this blog post please contact the communications team

Gain control, save money and reduce false alarms with your Gent system

Back in July Gent by Honeywell announced the introduction of their ViginSite tool. What does this mean for Facilities Managers?

Basically, with the ViginSite tool you are able to quickly identify how old each different piece of fire safety equipment is. This allows more control over budgets and planning with less likelihood of unexpected costs. More importantly you maintain control over compliance, essential to every business.
This is always about life safety. Too often we read yet another news story of a business with a hefty fine for non-compliance that has greater consequences far beyond what you read in the news and tragically these news stories don’t always have such a positive outcome of a simple £75000 fine.

According to Simon Foulkes, Gent Product Manager, ‘There are many thousands of Gent legacy systems all over the UK and Ireland and some will inevitably contain devices that, due to their age, are no longer fit for purpose. These products can cause high numbers of unwanted alarms or, more importantly, fail to detect fire in its early stages.’

Drax recognise if you are reading this you are one of many outstanding facilities managers who feel passionately about their role and what they give to their fellow colleagues by maintaining safe, suitable and secure buildings.
This is why we constantly seek to thank, reward and make your job easier. The VigInSite tool from Gent does exactly this.

Gent first undertook an extensive research programme into the lifespan of their products and components and found these range from 7 years for a Carbon Monoxide detector, 14 years for a smoke scatter light emitting diod and 20 years for equipment such as control panels, interfaces and other field devices.

As a Gent 24 Approved Systems Integrator, Drax can now plug ViginSite directly into a Vigilon control panel and allow its advanced software to identify the age of each device.

You then receive an inventory which uses a traffic light system to provide instant visual guides as to what action should be taken.

This saves time and money and gives you the peace of mind which should be taken for granted dealing with safety within your buildings.

Call the team at Drax 0345 4592300 to book a free visit or email Kelly on for further details.

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