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Monday, May 28, 2007

Fire Alarms For the Deaf (By Haydn Lewis)

LIFE-saving smoke alarms designed for deaf people will be fitted free by the fire brigade as part of an awareness drive.

During Deaf Awareness Week next week, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service is teaming up with RNID - the national charity for deaf and hard of hearing people - to raise awareness of special smoke alarm systems, which could save the life of a person with hearing loss in the event of a fire.

Station manager Carl Boasman, said: "It's really important that people have working smoke alarms and, more specifically, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to have special smoke alarms.

"This is particularly important for deaf or hard of hearing people living in rented accommodation, which may have a standard smoke alarm that is unsuitable for them.

"Contact us on 01609 788545 and we will visit your home to give fire safety advice and fit a smoke alarm that meets your needs."

A third of people with a hearing loss say they would have difficulty waking up to a conventional alarm, especially considering most remove their hearing aids before they go to sleep each night.

Almost a quarter, 23 per cent, say they would struggle to know if the alarm went off during the day.

"Deaf people need to place a vibrating pad under their mattress or pillow at night. If smoke is detected, the alarm will sound and set off the pad to assist in waking them," said Mr Boasman.

"We all have a part to play in creating safer communities. Deaf Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity for those who know anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing, to make sure they have alarms that meet their needs."

Brian Grover, head of technology and research at RNID, said: "Fire can strike at anyone's home, but not everyone is equally protected because deaf people cannot rely on hearing an ordinary alarm.

"We encourage deaf and hard of hearing people to think about their personal fire safety and ensure they have the right alarm for their needs." Deaf Awareness Week promotes the positive aspects of deafness and social inclusion, and raises awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.

How do smoke alarms work?

Conventional smoke alarms work by emitting a loud noise when smoke is detected, providing a vital early warning of fire, and aiding escape. People who are deaf or hard of hearing need additional ways of making them aware the alarm has been activated, including vibrating pads and flashing strobe lights.

Read Article: The Press

digg story

Sunday, May 27, 2007

National Fire Service

The National Fire Service (NFS) was the single fire service created in Great Britain in 1941 during the Second World War; a separate National Fire Service (Northern Ireland) was created in 1942.

The NFS was created in August 1941 by the amalgamation of the wartime national Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) and the local authority fire brigades (about 1,600 of them). It existed until 1948, when it was again split, with fire services reverting to local authority control, although this time there were far fewer brigades, with only one per county and county borough.

The NFS had both full-time and part-time members, male and female. Its uniform was the traditional dark blue double-breasted tunic, and it adopted the peaked cap worn by the AFS instead of the peakless sailor-style cap which had been worn by many pre-war fire brigades (including the London Fire Brigade). The peaked cap was retained by fire services after the war.

When they were on duty, but in the frequent long stretches between calls, many firemen and firewomen performed vital wartime manufacturing work, in workshops in the fire stations or adjacent to them. This was entirely voluntary, but since many of the wartime personnel had worked in factories before the war it was work with which they were familiar and skilled.

The Chief of the Fire Staff and Inspector-in-Chief throughout the war (until 28 February 1947, when he retired) was Sir Aylmer Firebrace, former Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade.

At peak strength the NFS had 370,000 personnel, including 80,000 women. The Fire Services Act 1947 restored fire services to local authority bodies in 1948.



* Fireman
* Leading Fireman
* Section Leader
* Company Officer
* Senior Company Officer
* Column Officer
* Divisional Officer
* Assistant Fire Force Commander
* Fire Force Commander
* Chief Regional Fire Officer
* Chief of the Fire Staff


* Firewoman
* Leading Firewoman
* Senior Leading Firewoman
* Assistant Group Officer
* Group Officer
* Assistant Area Officer
* Area Officer
* Regional Woman Fire Officer

By Wikipedia

Chief Fire Officer

The rank of Chief Fire Officer or CFO is the highest in the fire Service in England and Wales. Its equivalent in Scotland is Fire Master, although this title has been replaced by Chief Fire Officer in some Scottish brigades. With the changes to the UK fire service in 1974, the title changed to reflect the new county structures and now other titles for this office can include 'County Fire Officer' and 'Chief Executive', neither of which are in common use on their own for example, Greater Manchester FRS use the title 'County Fire Officer and Chief Executive'. In the London Fire Brigade, the CFO is known as 'Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade' - the post is currently held by Sir Ken Knight.


A CFO is responsible for the day-to-day command of the fire service in all areas. Ultimately however major policies and procedures have to be agreed and passed by the Fire Authority to whom the CFO reports. The Fire Authority is a committee of locally elected councilors. The committee's prime responsibility is to ensure that the fire service is run properly and responsibly. In simple terms the Chief Officer is directly answerable to someone who represents the interests of the general public. The collective voice for CFOs on policy, planning and strategy in the UK is CFOA Chief Fire Officers Association, previously known as CACFOA (Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association).

By Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

London Fire Brigade

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is the statutory fire and rescue service for London, England. It is run by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and is the third-largest fire service in the world with nearly 7000 staff of which 5800 are operational firefighters and officers.

In 2004 it answered nearly 300,000 emergency calls, responded to 60,000 fires and over 5000 traffic accidents, making it one of the busiest fire brigades in the world. In 2005, it received over 9000 hoax calls, the highest number of all the fire brigades in the United Kingdom.

As well as fire fighting, the LFB responds to hazardous material incidents, conducts emergency planning and performs fire safety inspections and education.

It does not provide an ambulance service, this function is performed by the London Ambulance Service as an independent NHS Trust, however all firefighters are trained in first aid and fire engines - or appliances as they are known - carry first-aid equipment including basic resuscitators.

By Wikipedia

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fire Damages Famed Cutty Sark Ship (21st May 2007)

A spectacular fire caused heavy damage to the clipper ship Cutty Sark on Monday, adding millions to the cost of restoring one of London's proudest maritime relics. The cause of the blaze was under investigation, but within hours officials responsible for the graceful 19th-century sailing ship said they were determined to carry on with a four-year restoration project.

"We're going to redouble our efforts to ensure that the ship is open, available, back and running in the future," said Chris Livett, the chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises, responsible for restoring the world's only surviving tea clipper.

Read Full Article at Fire Fighting News

Fire Classes

European and Australasian Classifications

In Europe and Australasia, a different classification system is used.

* Class A: Fires that involve flammable solids such as wood, cloth, rubber, paper, and some types of plastics.

* Class B:
Fires that involve flammable liquids or liquifiable solids such as petrol/gasoline, oil, paint, some waxes & plastics, but not cooking fats or oils.

* Class C:
Fires that involve flammable gases, such as natural gas, hydrogen, propane, butane.

* Class D:
Fires that involve combustible metals, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

* Class E:
Fires that involve any of the materials found in Class A and B fires, but with the introduction of an electrical appliances, wiring, or other electrically energized objects in the vicinity of the fire, with a resultant electrical shock risk if a conductive agent is used to control the fire.

* Class F:
Fires involving cooking fats and oils. The high temperature of the oils when on fire far exceeds that of other flammable liquids making normal extinguishing agents ineffective.

The system is more or less the same as the U.S system, with letter designations shifted around - for instance, Class C fires in the U.S system are known as Class E in Europe.

By Wikipedia

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fire Fighting

Firefighting is the act of extinguishing destructive fires. A firefighter fights these fires and prevents destruction of life, property and the environment. Firefighting is a highly technical profession which requires years of training and education to become proficient in.

Historically, physicists created a graphical representation detailing the three elements of fire (fire triangle). In recent years, one more point has been added, creating the fire tetrahedron. The four elements needed to sustain combustion are:

fuel, oxidizer, heat and a chemical chain reaction.

To extinguish a fire, it is necessary to remove one or more of the four components of combustion. Removing any of these components of the fire tetrahedron will stop the other elements from interacting and not allow combustion to continue. Firefighters work on limiting exposures (fuel that is in jeopardy of being ignited by nearby flame or from radiant heat), containing and extinguishing fire and then overhauling charred and burned debris from the affected areas as well as extinguishing all hidden fires to prevent a rekindle.

goals are to save life, property and the environment. A fire can rapidly spread and endanger many lives; however, with modern firefighting techniques, catastrophe is usually avoided. To prevent fires from starting a firefighter's duties include public education and conducting fire inspections. Because firefighters are often the first responders to people in critical conditions, firefighters provide basic life support as emergency medical technicians or advanced life support as licensed paramedics.

By Wikipedia

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fire service in the United Kingdom

The fire service in the United Kingdom has undergone dramatic changes since the beginning of the 21st century, a process that has been propelled by a devolution of central government powers, new legislation and a change to operational procedures in the light of terrorism attacks and threats. Fire services in the UK are not nationalised, but are generally known as fire and rescue services (FRS) in legislation and by government departments. Many FRS were previously known as brigades, or county fire services, but legislative and administrative changes; and alterations to boundaries has led to the almost universal incorporation of FRS into the name.

A FRS is usually the operational fire fighting body, as distinct from the fire and rescue authority which is the legislative, public and administrative body made up of civilians and councillors that runs the FRS. Prior to the introduction of devolved parliaments and assemblies in the UK, the fire service had been the sole responsibility of the Home Office. There are now many layers of governance including central, devolved and local government; fire brigades, fire and rescue services; and other executive agencies, including Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate (HMFSI), HMFSI Scotland, and the Chief Fire Officers Association, all with a degree of operational, legislative or administrative involvement with the fire service in the UK.

By Wikipedia

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Risks of a Fire

The primary risk to people in a fire is smoke inhalation (breathing in smoke); most of those killed in fires die from this, not from burns. The risks of smoke include:

* suffocation due to the fire consuming or displacing all the oxygen from the air;
* poisonous gases produced by the fire;
* aspirating heated smoke that can burn the inside of the lungs.

As an example, plastics inside a car can generate 200,000 m3 of smoke at a rate of 20-30 m3/sec. Firefighters carry self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) (an open-circuit positive pressure compressed air system) to prevent smoke inhalation.

Obvious risks stem from the effects of heat. Even without contact with the flames (conduction), there are a number of comparably serious risks: burns from radiated heat, contact with a hot object, hot gases (e.g., air), steam and hot and/or toxic smoke. Firefighters are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) that includes fire-resistant clothing (nomex or polybenzimidazole fiber (PBI)) and helmets that limit the transmission of heat towards the body.

The heat can make pressurised gas cylinders and tanks explode, producing what is called a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion). Some chemical products such as ammonium nitrate fertilizers can also explode. Explosions can cause physical trauma or potentially serious blast or shrapnel injuries.

Heat causes human flesh to burn as fuel causing severe medical problems. Depending upon the heat of the fire, burns can occur in a fraction of a second. A first degree burn (on the skin surface) is extremely painful. A second degree burn is a burn into the skin, and can cause shock, infections, and dehydration and if left untreated often results in death. Second degree burns compromise nerve tissue and are not painful. Third degree burns leave muscles and internal organs exposed from completely destroyed skin. If the person survives the shock and exposure to germs, medical treatment is extremely difficult.

By Wikipedia

Friday, May 4, 2007

Will The Fire Safety Order Affect Me?

Yes if you are:
• Responsible for business premises.
• An employer.
• Self employed with business premises.
• A charity or voluntary organisation.
• A contractor or agent with a degree of control over any premises.

Fire Risk Assessments
All non – domestic premises with 5 or more employees and all shared or common parts of a property with more than one occupier are legally required to produce a written fire risk assessment. Completing a fire risk assessment is not only a legal requirement under the FSO; it can also deliver realistic benefits to employers and their Company. Through the risk assessment, the likelihood of a fire and loss of life or injury can be significantly reduced. By taking a few simple steps, employers can not only prevent fires breaking out but also ensure their business continuity and safety of their premises and employees. This is an interesting viewpoint when you consider that:-

• 70% of businesses close within 2 years of the fire.
• 80% of businesses that suffer a moderate fire do not stay in business, lose their market share or lose their skilled staff to competitors.

By Pyrotech

Fire Watch

Fire watch, the act of watching for the occurrence of fires. This is usually done with the intent of detecting fires early so that they can be extinguished quickly and damage to land and/or property can be prevented or minimalized. Fire watches are often employed in forested areas where the risk of fires is high (dry conditions, hot weather, etc) or in industrial settings where "hot work" (welding, metal grinding, etc) is occurring.

By Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fire Hazard

A fire hazard is any situation in which there is a greater than normal risk of harm to people or property due to fire. Fire hazards can take the form of ways that fires can easily start, such as a blocked cooling vent, or overloaded electrical system, ways fires can spread rapidly, such as an insufficiently protected fuel store or areas with high oxygen concentrations, or things which, in a fire, pose a hazard to people, such as materials that produce toxic fumes when heated or blocked fire exits.

By Wikipeida: Fire Hazard

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