It is Candles galore as the Festive Season kicks off

An elegant candelabra is the most beautiful centrepiece for the festive dining table and there are so many designs to choose from to make your home look special. Of course, a candle is a mini fire, so caution is needed when having a live fire in the centre of your house, albeit a tiny one.
It would be ideal to choose specific dinner candles for the candelabra, these are standard sized long candles usually tapered at both ends, with the base ribbed vertically so that it fits into your flame resistant holder securely. The choice of wick is important too, and a more expensive branded candle would have a suitable wick which should not create smoke and burn evenly without too much dripping. You should always check that your candles are stable before lighting. If the candle is a little wobbly, one tip is to drip some warm wax into the base cup and quickly but firmly press the candle onto the small pool of wax in the holder until it cools and hardens to make sure it sticks.
Once lit the candelabra comes into its full glory, it’s time to chink your wine glasses, but always keep an eye out for flammable materials like curtains and table linen, as well as pets and children running about.
After the dinner party is over, remember to extinguish the candles when the last person leaves the room and make sure they’re out completely at night.
Also check your smoke alarm and test it regularly to provide further safety precautions. There were over 350 casualties related to candles in the UK last year, so a candle fire can be a real problem.
For all your fire safety needs, contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety, your local experts for fire extinguishers, fire safety training and fire alarms and fire safety training.

Crazy Brazilian Ref zaps Wasps with Fire Extinguisher

Tempers were sizzling recently in South America as a women’s football match was delayed by an invasion of a wasps’ nest on the goal net. The players stood around tapping their boots patiently as stadium staff struggled to contain the swarm of the pesky yellow and black buzzing bandits. But then the eager-to-please referee had a spark of initiative. Taking a fire extinguisher … that is, an extinguisher which is supposed to put out a fire, he aimed the horn at the offending nest and ‘blasted’ the blighters out into the atmosphere. After several shots and with the help of a few friends, the barmy ref threw his arms up in victory, and the game continued.
But wait! Those banded wingnuts would have just been blown up in the air, and knowing the tenacity of wasps they would have had their revenge well focussed and could divebomb from any angle. There are no reports as to whether the ref suffered any sort of sting from the wasps, but we would advise him from now on to prick his ears for any low buzzing sound, and to ensure that he keeps alert for maybe a tiny crawling sensation on his neck. Wasps are a relentless enemy – anyone who has taken a cream tea outside in the height of summer will confirm that the fight for jam dominance from wasps is a constant ruination of a relaxed afternoon. Reader, never use your extinguisher for anything else except to put out a fire … and if the wasps spoil your day, glass jar wasp traps work like a dream apparently.
For all your fire safety needs, give us a buzz at Bath & West Fire & Safety, your local experts for fire risk assessment, fire extinguishers, fire alarms and fire safety training

The Kings Cross Fire – 30 years ago this week

On the 18th November 1987, the news that one of London’s busiest tube stations had been hit by a devastating fire rocked Britain. As the story unfolded, the fire, started by what was thought to be a single burning match thrown on an escalator grew from a tiny smoulder to a raging inferno engulfing all in its path. In the 1980s smoking was banned on some carriages on the underground, but permitted in the station and often caused small fires which staff would put out. But not this one. A tiny smoulder glowing underneath an escalator was spotted by a man at around 7.30pm and he alerted railway staff but no one took much notice, often these small smoulders would just burn out. But years of debris had collected under the escalator: smoking paraphernalia, sweet wrappers, rat fur, oil and the rush of warm air from the depths below all played their part in spreading the fire creating a wall of choking smoke.
Unbelievably there were no emergency procedures in place and the staff had had no fire safety training. But on this particular evening, the escalator rumbled with the flames below, and within a few minutes four London Fire services arrived, along with several hoses and a ladder.
No public address system was working and worried passengers were still using the other escalator, only a matter of yards away as the fire services battled on. Still no one seemed to panic – the plan was to simply drench the offending escalator with water and depend on the its solid steel casing to stop the fire from spreading.
Then things took a turn for the worst. A violent and prolonged flash of fire jumped swiftly from the escalator, licking over the low tunnel roof, entering the main booking hall at an estimated speed of 40 feet a second; engulfing anyone in its path, police and firefighters included.
The result was that 31 people lost their lives that night, and over 100 people injured, many more were traumatised for life.
There were many lessons to learn from the Kings Cross fire: after the public inquiry over 150 recommendations were made, including fire safety training for staff, sprinklers and fire fighting equipment. The fire fighters, police, ambulance crew and railway staff that day were singled out as particularly heroic when faced with such a challenge, but they were fighting against such terrible odds.
Now, London has an underground system which is the envy of the world, with many beautiful and modern stations, step-free trains and platforms, emergency procedures and confident, professional staff. The older escalators are all gone, replaced with slick and silent state of the art escalators, but if you ever used one of the old wooden escalators, the rumble and vibration of the creaking mechanism was something to remember, you could also peer through to see the floor below between the steps, and ponder at the ease for flammable debris to collect and pile up, Kings Cross was a tragic accident waiting to happen.
For all your fire safety needs, large or small, contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety, your local experts for fire risk assessment, fire extinguishers, fire alarms and fire safety training.

Unsure? Listen to your gut!

Sometimes when thinking about something, there is a strange sensation, a tingle, a tightening in your gut that persists. This feeling could come from your brain or something more spiritual, but if it is a sensation that won’t go away then you should listen to it.
Scientists have conflicting theories as to how much of our brain we actually use, and what further depths of consciousness we are yet to discover. Or how memories of information and experiences accumulate and are stored and can be used for future events. Gut instinct has been proven to be a force to be reckoned with when an analysis of a situation is not possible, there are many examples of the power of instinct proven to be correct.
If you have noticed something about your fire safety equipment that doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t. If you have observed that there is a bare wall in your premises when you were sure something was there before, then you are probably right. If you have a feeling that your staff would not know what to do in a fire emergency, then you are probably correct.
So, if it doesn’t ‘feel’ right it probably isn’t. Listen to your gut and contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety, the experts for up-to-date advice, fire risk assessments, fire safety training, services and products for all your fire safety needs.