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Editors Note: Bilco UK provide:

  • Fire protection

  • Smoke ventilation

  • Access doors

  • Roof hatches

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BILCO UK - Summer Riots: A Timely Safety Warning To Employers

Our screens have been ablaze with images of stores, offices and warehouses burning uncontrollably across London and other cities over the summer.

The actions of rioters, looters and arsonists have left a stain on the country and brought home the risk to innocent people of being caught up in fires and trapped inside blazing buildings.

James Fisher, UK/Europe general manager at Bilco, sees the fire-raising disturbances as a timely reminder to employers to prioritise safety and to work in partnership with regulation authorities to provide the appropriate equipment to protect people at work.

“Fire protection and people’s safety is imperative in every building,” he said. “Safety should never be compromised and that applies equally to the quality of all safety and protection products.”

The warning comes as the latest national statistics show that 321 people died in more than 57,000 building fires across England during the 12-month period to the end of March 2011. Most of the victims died from the effects of smoke and toxic fumes inhalation.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics office, are 6 per cent down on the previous 12-months. James Fisher suggests the improvement reflects the combined efforts of architects, designers and specifiers working together to reduce the risks by increasing fire protection in buildings.

Credit for the declining number of fires on industrial premises is also due to safety-conscious manufacturers working in partnership with employers and regulation authorities to provide the appropriate equipment and raising safety and protection standards.

Companies like smoke vent and access equipment supplier Bilco (www.bilcouk.com) have earned a reputation with designers and specifiers for supplying products that prioritise safety standards to construction and engineering projects throughout the UK and worldwide.

The company leads the way in developing and manufacturing specialty access doors and smoke vents, together with roof hatches and other access solutions.

Smoke vents are a potential life-saver for occupants and anyone visiting, living or working inside a building – should fire break out.

“They provide a clearer means of escape from a burning building through dedicated escape routes,” said James. “As well as helping to protect the property and its contents, they enable the emergency services to bring a fire under control by removing smoke, heat and gases.”

Smoke ventilators perform four crucial functions by helping to:

• Remove smoke and noxious gases when a fire takes hold
• Improve visibility for occupants to escape from the building
• Improve firemen’s ability to see clearly when entering a building and as they try to  prevent the fire spreading
• Protect building contents and reduce structural damage.

More than 90 per cent of all fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation. When a fire breaks out, Bilco single-leaf REM smoke ventilators open up to 140 degrees within 60 seconds which helps to disperse heat, smoke and noxious gases rapidly. Double leaf vents for larger areas open to 90 degrees.

When smoke is detected the REM vents automatically raise to the fire open position. The vents are operated by a fire control panel for opening and closing which is triggered by smoke detectors or the fire alarm being raised.

EN 12101-2 performance standards insist that vent covers reach the fire open position within 60 seconds and that single covers must open to 140 degrees – the point at which smoke is unlikely to be blown back into the building.

Hospitals, colleges, office buildings, factories, warehouses, colleges and retail premises are among the many types of buildings where occupants are protected by Bilco smoke vents – and often with the added security of fire-rated floor doors.

In extreme installations, such as plant rooms, floor doors offer a secondary means of escape. Bilco floor doors provide up to two hours of protection when a fire occurs. Constructed in steel or aluminium, the doors are fitted with lift assistance which allows them to be operated by one hand.

The J-FR and FR fire-rated doors maintain a fire rating of a two-hour floor or ceiling assembly where access is required between building floors. All Bilco fire doors feature a positive hand-open arm that engages automatically when the cover is fully open and a stainless steel slam lock with removable top-side handle.

James Fisher said: “No business or employer can be complacent about the risk or the impact of fire. The shocking scenes we have witnessed this summer show how quickly fire and fumes take hold in any building.

“Fire protection and people’s safety is imperative in every building. Corners should never be cut which could put people’s lives at stake, and that applies equally to the quality of all safety and protection products.

“Product development is increasingly driven by stringent and evolving legislation and design codes. The specification and appropriate positioning of smoke vents, for example, can have a major impact both on safety and building costs. But we understand and react to ever-changing market needs.

“Our smoke ventilators and fire doors provide the safety solutions that ensure architects and designers meet all the building regulation requirements.


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News Categories:
Fire protection Smoke ventilation Access doors Roof hatches

Arundel Jones Associates Ltd
Hill Farm Business Park, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME17 4AL
Tel : 01622 745333

news@buildingdesign.co.uk


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