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Stepping outside of your comfort zone

On Tuesday 28th March, Service Co-ordinator Danielle Brown asked to step outside her comfort zone and take a trip into London to visit our site office within Guys Hospital. An excellent opportunity to chat face to face with the Drax Engineers and gain a better understanding of what their day job involves:

Drax Service Co-Ordinator Danielle BrownSo, Danielle how did your day begin?

Really, early! I was surprised how quick it took to get into London from Baldock then round to Guys on the Northern line. I arrived at the office just before 8am and grabbed a drink while I waited for our Engineers to turn up for work.

Once Jake, Jack and Barry arrived they showed me their office located on the 8th floor. I already know the Engineers, we meet up throughout the year at staff parties, service meetings and training but it was great to see them at work and understand how their day operates.

And how does their day operate?

On Tuesday’s they carry out the bell testing in the Cancer Centre and I accompanied Jake while he tested each call point. Jack was in security monitoring and writing up the bell test sheets.

The Cancer Centre has amazing views and despite being such a busy place, everyone has time for each other. When I chat with the engineers on the phones we build up a great rapport with a lot of banter, as you can imagine. It was nice to see their sensitive side in action.

I was then shown around the rest of the hospital. Looking at maps from my desk it’s often hard to grasp how big the site is and how long it takes for the guys to get from one place to the next.

After lunch the Engineers showed me Nimbus, I was surprised how quick and simple everything felt, or they made it look that way at least! Then Jack and Jake demonstrated how they check the smoke detectors. I didn’t really know what this entailed so it was a great learning curve for me to watch.

What does testing a smoke detector involve?

They use a long pole and reach up to the device to make sure the light flashes red and they know it works ok. I’m sure they would have a more technical way to describe this procedure though.

What would you say were the highlights of the day?

Seeing what the engineers do. Reading from logs and seeing data on our computer system doesn’t show you what really takes place on site.

What was the most important thing you took from the day?

How much walking the engineers do! Guys is such a big site – though not our largest by far, and Jack said on a Wednesday bell test they once walked over ten miles in a day!

Any amusing episodes?

I was mistaken for Jake’s girlfriend by a lady in a lift? (Jake can be seen showing off their site office to the left)

Lasting impressions?

It was a long day, my journey back was delayed and after leaving site around 3.15pm I didn’t reach home until nearly 6 O’Clock. The location of Guys is stunning as it sits right next to the Shard. It must be lovely to work in central London but tiring at the same time.

What's next?

Now I’d like to see the guys spend a day at my desk so they realise my job doesn’t just involve sitting around waiting for them to call all day with nothing better to do. Chance would be a fine thing!

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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Does your business have the correct fire extinguishers

When it comes to ensuring your business is safe from fire and compliant with fire safety regulations, there are a number of factors you need to consider. One of the most important aspects for business owners is having the correct fire extinguishers on their premises. There are a number of different extinguishers available, and it’s crucial the correct type of unit is present to deal with the risks that exist in your particular workplace.

Before understanding the different extinguishers, it’s important to recognise the types of fire so the responsible person knows how to safely deal with the situation.

Different Types of Fires

Class A: A fire involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, straw, and plastics.
Class B: Fires which involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, petroleum oil and paint. Class B fires can also include flammable gases like propane and butane.
Class C: Fires involving electrical equipment such as motors, transformers and appliances. If the power is removed, though, a Class C fire changes to one of the other classes.
Class D: Fires in combustible metals like potassium, sodium, aluminium and magnesium.
Class F: Fires involving cooking oils and greases such as animal and vegetable fats

Different Type of Extinguishers

There are five main types of fire extinguisher you should be aware of, each designed to cope with a specific fire hazard, with some capable of being used on more than one type of fire.  
Water: A water fire extinguisher is used for the most common Class A fires. These extinguishers are NOT suitable for any fires where either liquid or electricity is involved. 
Foam: A foam extinguisher can be used on fires where wood, straw or paper is involved as well as tackling fires started by flammable liquid. While not recommended for electrical fires, foam is safer than water if accidently coming into contact with live electrical apparatus.
CO2: Carbon dioxide extinguishers are often found where electrical fires could occur, also capable of tackling flammable liquids and other Class B fires.
Powder: A powder extinguisher is suitable for a number of different types of fires making it ideal for premises where a range of fires could start, from flammable liquids to gas or electric, as well as Class A fires.
Wet Chemical: A wet chemical extinguisher is designed specifically for fires involving cooking oil and fat, but it is also effective with Class A fires.
For more information about fire extinguishers and which ones your business should have, contact the team at Drax on 0345 459 2300 or email


Why your business needs to consider Emergency Lighting

When it comes to ensuring your business premises are compliant with fire safety regulations, emergency lighting can often be overlooked. Installing emergency lighting is a crucial aspect of keeping staff and visitors safe when inside your premises. As well as being a moral obligation, the installation of emergency lighting is also a legal one; with the Government setting extremely tight guidelines regarding commercial premises.

What qualifies as Emergency Lighting?
Exit Signs – Fire exit signs are placed at specified locations throughout a building, signalling where emergency exits are located and ensuring they remain visible even in the event of a power outage.
Emergency Escape Lighting – Emergency escape lighting is there to provide illumination for anybody attempting to evacuate your premises in the event of a fire or any other emergency.
Standby Lighting – This backup lighting acts as part of the overall emergency lighting system, providing basic and low-level lighting that ensures people inside the building avoid being left in complete darkness so they can make a safe evacuation.
Escape Route Lighting – Escape route lighting clearly illuminates the safest and quickest route to the nearest exit and safety.

Meeting protocol
The team at Drax understand the legal obligations your premises has to meet, and all our work is done in accordance with British Standard BS EN 5266; which defines the requirements of your emergency lighting. Using extensive knowledge of these guidelines, our engineers can advise you on how to ensure you meet the required guidelines, as well as highlighting certain improvements that could be made to your current systems.

Not just for emergencies
Emergency lighting might be essential in order to help your staff or visitors reach safety in the event of a fire, but it’s also important in a number of everyday situations. Take a power outage, for example - emergency lighting will offer enough light to help staff access the fuse box, also potentially covering you should a circuit trip.

What Drax can do for you
Drax Services will ensure that your emergency lighting systems are maintained on a regular basis in accordance with BS EN 5266 standards, providing premises managers with the assurances they need that all six-monthly and annual testing is completed on a timely basis and meeting regulations.

Drax’s testing service includes a duration test of whole systems, including mains failure simulation, also offering a comprehensive range of maintenance and repairs services for all emergency lighting systems regardless of manufacturer. 
To talk to a member of the team at Drax about your emergency lighting options, call us on 0345 459 2300, or email us at
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