FTS Safety Solutions are regularly asked to provide Fire Risk Assessments for companies, recently we were asked to provide a quotation for a potential client. This is the second time we have been contacted by the same client who had previously asked for a quotation for Fire Extinguisher servicing. This quote was accepted but on arrival it was very apparent that only one of the extinguishers on site was still within a safe date for use and within the discharge date. The rest of the extinguishers on the premises were anything from 6 to 14 years old and had not been serviced for about 6 years, so our recommendation was to replace the extinguishers with new ones and change some to a type suitable for the diverse environments within the building.
Risk Assessments Some People Just Don’t Listen
Following up on the quotation, we were informed that our quotation was far too expensive, as they had sourced all their requirements from the internet, the difference was £48. As I explained our quote was to supply the extinguishers including the installation, correct positioning and the extinguisher commissioning service. I I asked the client about the extinguishers he had purchased from the internet: ”Who would be doing the commissioning service?” Now buying from the internet is fine and can be a cheap way of purchasing certain products, but in this case do you really know where the fire extinguisher has come from? How was it manufactured and is it safe? We have all heard horror stories of Phone chargers catching fire, e-cigarettes blowing up and catching fire. Well the same can be said for Fire Extinguishers purchased online, only recently fake Fire Blankets have been highlighted on a recent BBC program. Due to the increase in internet buying, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) produced a “Guidance Buying Extinguishers via the Internet” and the true cost of doing so.
The internet isn’t always the cheapest
After explaining the need for a fire extinguisher commission service, which includes a visual inspection of the extinguisher highlighting if any of them have been damaged in transit, the monetary saving was next to nothing. The quotation that we sent next, was to attend the premises and carry out a commissioning service on all the extinguishers, which in comparison was twice the amount that was saved in the first place. We even had to explain that one of the extinguishers that they had replaced was not suitable for use in the manufacturing area and a different type will be needed, the client wasn’t very happy!
We are sure that the client will not be prepared to pay the extra to have their extinguishers serviced and checked, but then that is their decision and ultimately the responsibility of the “duty holder”, but they should be meeting the requirements of The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, if they don’t they risk endangering their staff and visitors and if the worst did happen their insurance could be void. Anyway, regarding the risk assessment, we explained to the client what a risk assessment consisted of and instantly we were challenged that they did not need us to complete some sections of the assessment as they already did it in house, obviously it didn’t matter what we tried to do this client knew better than us.
The Dangers of the wrong extinguisher
A few weeks ago, we attended another potential client’s premises, to provide a quotation for PAT Testing, on walking around with the Business Manager, we noticed that the Fire Extinguishers had not been serviced, it was mentioned to the manager and we were told, that they had been purchased and installed by the builder, so they thought that they were safe and had been provided to the relevant standards. Scarily, some of the extinguishers were once again the wrong type for the environments they were situated in and there were a number missing in areas that required them. Let me explain, using the wrong fire extinguisher can turn a small fire into an inferno! An example of this is using a water extinguisher on an electrical fire… so dangerous!
Having recently attended a refresher training course for Fire Extinguisher servicing, and of course completed the original training to BAFE standard we aim to provide a valuable health and safety service to our clients,working to the relevant BAFE and British Standards, the safety of your premises, your staff and visitors is paramount to us so when our advice is disregarded it really does make me go up in flames!
Until next time – stay safe!