Category Archives: Events

Brigade warning on No Smoking Day

London Fire Brigade report that 8 people have died in fires related to smoking in London in the last 12 months, according to new data.

The new figures have been released to coincide with national No Smoking Day and the Brigade is continuing to urge people to switch to vaping or better still stop smoking altogether to avoid the risk of dying or being hurt in a fire.

In the last five years, there have been an average of 22 fires every week linked to smoking. Since 2013/14, there have been 5,978 fires in London linked to smoking, 416 people have been injured and a total of 76 people have died.

Dan Daly, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “So many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented either stopping smoking or by switching to vaping.

“We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping is a safer option. There is a common misconception that vapes are a fire risk but the reality is they have caused a very small number of fires – normally because the device is broken or it’s being charged by a faulty charger. Smoking on the other hand is a killer.

“Common causes of smoking related fires are people falling asleep while smoking or discarding cigarette butts or matches that have not been properly extinguished.”

The people who die in smoking related fires are often the most vulnerable who live alone, including the elderly, those with mobility problems, illnesses, drink or drug dependencies.

Family members, carers and neighbours of those who smoke are also urged to look for early warning signs that someone could be at risk of having a fire related to smoking and ensure that they have working smoke alarms fitted, especially in rooms where they smoke.

Assistant Commissioner Daly added: “Burn marks on carpets, furniture, clothing and bedding are often the first obvious signs that someone could be at risk of a smoking related fire.

“We would urge anyone in contact with smokers who notice these tell-tale signs or has any concerns to request a Home Fire Safety Visit from London Fire Brigade and visit our website for practical advice on how to reduce fire risk.”

Government Launches New Office for Product Safety and Standards

The government has today (21 January 2018) announced the creation of a new national oversight body tasked with identifying consumer risks and managing responses to large-scale product recalls and repairs.

The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will enable the UK to meet the evolving challenges of product safety by responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online shopping and the increasing rate of product innovation.

London Fire Brigade have responded to the announcement:

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said:

“I won’t be able to rest until I know that people can easily check whether or not they have a potentially deadly appliance in their home. We welcome the establishment of the new Office for Product Safety and Standards but their first act should be to establish a single government backed product recall database to make it easier for people to check whether they are using a faulty appliance.

“We don’t even know how many defective white goods there are in use in homes across the UK but we do know there are at least a million Whirlpool tumble dryers with an identifiable defect that has caused over 750 fires in the UK.*

According to London Fire Brigade figures, nearly one fire a day in London involves white goods and in 2016, the Brigade launched its Total Recalls campaign which calls on the government and manufacturers to implement a number of changes to make all white goods safer including making it easier for consumers to find out if they own potentially dangerous goods via a centrally managed recall data base.

What is the Brigade calling for?

• A single government backed product recall database
• Recalls notices to be better publicised to reduce confusion
• Greater regulation of second-hand appliances
• Changes to the way that fridges and freezers are manufactured
• All appliances to be marked with a model and serial number to allow identification after a fire

(*As reported by Whirlpool to BEIS select committee)

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety regime and will allow consumers to continue to buy secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced.

I thank the working group for their efforts to help improve product safety and I look forward to working with them in this new phase.

Neil Gibbins, Chair of the working group, said:

It has been my mission to make the public safe since I joined the fire service nearly 40 years ago. That’s why I’m pleased to see the government respond to our recommendations with concrete steps to ensure the safety of consumers, now and in the future.

The government will continue to work with stakeholders such as consumer groups, manufacturers and retailers to ensure the office coordinates the UK’s product safety regime as effectively as possible.

This will not lessen any of the legal responsibilities that sit with manufacturers, importers and retailers to present safe products to the market, and to take rapid effective action when safety issues arise with their products.

SOCIAL HOUSING PROVIDERS URGED TO INSTALL SPRINKLER PROTECTION FOR ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE

Protecting the elderly and most at risk from fire’ is the message set to come from a sprinkler seminar, hosted by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), in Stafford on March 17

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service fire engineer has said: “We would urge both business owners and Social Housing Providers alike to consider fitting sprinkler systems in new build projects and premises undergoing major refurbishments wherever possible. The impact of a fire can be devastating and sprinklers can play a vital role in reducing this” Sprinkler

The free conference, organised by the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), will address delegates about the need for increased use of sprinkler systems to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries each year.

The seminar hopes to raise awareness of the key role that sprinklers play in fire prevention and control and of their benefit to those who may find escape more difficult such as older people or those with a disability.

Older people are at a greater risk of experiencing a fire with almost twice as many people over the age of 50 dying in a house fire compared to those aged under-50. This age group is the fastest growing in the UK. Fires not only put lives at risk but also damage properties and have a detrimental effect on business continuity.

They cost UK companies a staggering £1.29 billion a year. They also leave many firms facing ruin with up to 80 per cent of small businesses ceasing to trade within twelve months of having a fire.

Architects, housing associations, local authority building control officers and building inspectors are amongst the groups of people who have been invited to the event which is being held at The Moat House, Acton Trussell, Stafford, on Thursday, March 17.

Speakers at the event will include Steve Mills, BAFSA Fire and Rescue Service Coordinator, Ritchie O’Connell, BAFSA Technical Adviser for Wales, John Berrisford, SFRS Business Support Manager, and Stuart Ruckledge, SFRS Fire Engineer.

Fire Engineer Stuart Ruckledge said: “We would urge both business owners and Social Housing Providers alike to consider fitting sprinkler systems in new build projects and premises undergoing major refurbishments wherever possible. The impact of a fire can be devastating and sprinklers can play a vital role in reducing this.

“An ageing population, more independent living and an increase in social vulnerability could result in a dramatic increase in accidental fires in domestic and residential properties in coming years. We need to take action now to prevent this and that action is to make the fitting of sprinklers more widespread.”

The event will run from 9am – 3.30pm and lunch will be provided. Attendance is free of charge although booking is necessary. For more information about the event programme please follow the link below: http://www.bafsa.org.uk/news-events/book-an-event-testing.php