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Fire Safety: Fire Alarm Sounders and Fire Blankets

by:Rhino     2020-06-04
Fire is an element that should never be underestimated and there are two important tools that we use to keep us safe; fire alarm sounders and fire blankets. Fire alarm sounders are an essential part of alarm systems - they warn everyone in the building that there's danger. The word alarm comes from the French ?� l'arme which means 'to the arms', in historical times this call to action would tell men with weapons to get ready to face any oncoming danger. In modern terms the word alarm applies to the warning signal we might see or hear when there's imminent danger. People can also be alarmed which means they have an awareness of danger or are experiencing a state of panic. On an instinctive level the sound of an alarm can instigate a fight or flight response in people. Generally though we tend to flee when there is an alarm - from a young age we are taught how to respond, often running through drills and evacuations several times a year throughout our school careers and on into our professional careers. As such it has become second nature to many of us to immediately evacuate a building and help others to safety when we hear a fire alarm sounder. In modern fire alarm systems, alarm sounders should be evenly distributed to provide a minimum sound level of 65dB. Where there is continuous background noise the sound level of the alarm sounder should exceed 5dB above the noise. In places where there may be people sleeping, like hotel rooms, the sound level required is at least 75dB and the alarm sounder should be placed as close to the bed-head as possible. There are many types of fire alarm sounder available on the market, each suitable for a different situation and type of alarm system such as addressable or conventional. When choosing the correct alarm sounder for your needs and deciding how many you need and where they should be placed you should consult your fire risk assessment, if prepared correctly this document will help you make the right decisions. Another important aspect of fire safety is that of the fire blanket. We've probably all seen a fire blanket in public buildings and even in homes but do you know why they're useful if there's a fire? These blankets come in a variety of sizes, each size is best suited to a certain application.1. Small blankets, e.g. 1m by 1m, are a good size to keep at home in the kitchen and can be used to extinguish small fires that may occur when cooking. Ideal situations include chip pan or grill fires.2. Large blankets can be used in places like laboratories and are ideal for extinguishing small chemical fires or fires caused by machinery. Fire blankets are made of fire retardant material and are usually only suitable for one use as the efficacy of the blanket will probably be reduced when exposed to fire. Materials that are commonly used for fire blankets are fibreglass, Kevlar and wool coated in a fire retardant liquid. For a fire to burn effectively it must have three sources - heat, fuel and oxygen. Removing one or more of these fire sources will cause the fire to extinguish. For example, when the fire service sprays water onto a burning building they are trying to cool the burning materials (the fuel) so they don't burn as easily. Some fire extinguishers spray foam over a fire and this prevents oxygen in the air from reaching the fuel and heat. Fire blankets work on the same principal, when you cover a fire with a fire blanket you are preventing air from getting to the fire thus removing the oxygen element and extinguishing the fire. Fire blankets are suitable to use when the fire is still small and manageable and only if you are confident enough to use them. Extinguishing a fire as early as possible can save thousands of pounds worth of damage and even lives. However, if you think the fire may be too large and you might risk harming yourself call the fire service immediately and raise the fire alarm if you have not already done so.
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