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#412620 - 12/03/08 01:50 PM Banning fire extinguishers?
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA

"Fire extinguishers could be removed from communal areas in flats throughout the country because they are a safety hazard, it has emerged. The life-saving devices encourage untrained people to fight a fire rather than leave the building, risk assessors in Bournemouth decided.

There are fears that their recommendation, which has seen the extinguishers ripped out of several private, high-rise flats in the town, could set a national precedent. Under the Fire Safety Order of 2005, fire assessments must be carried out to 'eliminate or reduce risk as is reasonably practical'.

But Mike Edwards, who lives in one of the blocks, said he was 'absolutely staggered' that risk experts thought it a safe decision. 'They are worried we will point them in the wrong direction or use the wrong extinguishers,' he said. 'But if you are trapped in a burning building, you will work out how to use one.' The 61-year-old claimed his neighbours were now worried sick that a fire could break out.

Dorset Fire and Rescue defended the move, saying: 'Obviously, in some cases, an extinguisher could come in useful but, with new building regulations, every escape route should be completely fireproof.' The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents backed their removal because different extinguishers should be used on different types of fire. But the Department for Communities and Local Government denied it would see them removed from all flats.

'Fire and safety regulations make clear that appropriate safety equipment must be provided,' said a spokesman.
Independent health and safety consultant Anthony Petitt suggested training people in their use 'otherwise it's just putting people at risk'."
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#412621 - 12/03/08 02:14 PM Re: Banning fire extinguishers? [Re: MattJ]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I hope those people own a big bucket.
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."

#412622 - 12/03/08 02:36 PM Re: Banning fire extinguishers? [Re: Ames]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Forgot to mention that this is in the UK, not the USA.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#412623 - 12/04/08 09:37 AM Re: Banning fire extinguishers? [Re: MattJ]
iaibear Offline

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
First they were deprived of personal protection against criminals; now, this has been extended to protection against fire.


#412624 - 12/06/08 04:43 PM Re: Banning fire extinguishers? [Re: iaibear]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
This mirrors the age-old discussion of whether a little MA instruction is worse than no instruction @ all.

#412625 - 12/13/08 05:21 AM Re: Banning fire extinguishers? [Re: MattJ]
Cord Offline

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
To be honest, as someone who has tried to fight a fire with an extinguisher, and as someone who liases with the fire dept. when they are called out to university properties, I can understand the logic at work in this decision.

Fire Brigade's number 1 priority is the preservation of life, both others and their own.

Property and possessions come a distant second.

A fire extinguisher will only be successfull against a very small fire, or one about to combust (smoking or smouldering material). Anything bigger than a waste-paper bin and you can pretty much forget it.

The risks inherent in using an extinguisher unsuccessfully are:

Being overcome by smoke/fumes.
Being 'circled' by fire and your exit route blocked
Being Burned to a crisp.
Long term lung damage.

The risks inherent to getting the f*ck out of dodge and leaving it to professionals are:

Wounded pride at not being a 'hero'
The inconvenience of Making an insurance claim

When we respond to fire alarms at work, all the brigade are concerned about is that the building had been evacuated. If they turn up at a dept and there are people in there, working on, under the presumption that it is a false alarm, they hit the roof!!
Same if they find out a 'hero' has gone to check the area before they have arrived.
People in burning buildings prevent the fire dept from tackling the fire itself, and force them to put their lives at risk.

When I was duty manager of the last healthclub I worked at, we had our sauna unit go up in flames- everyone evacuated, but me and the kitchen manager decided to 'give it a squirt' with the C02 extinguishers. Now bear in mind, from finding fire, to hitting alarm and people beginning to evac, to opening the sauna door, extinguishers in hand, was no more than 50 seconds. The heat was unbearable- we couldnt get close enough to aim the C02 at the source, and the increased oxygen from opening the door caused a blowback that took one of my eyebrows off!!
We both ran like hell, got outside and waited for the brigade.

More often than not, tackling a fire with an extinguisher is like turning up at a major RTA with a box of elastoplast expecting to save lives.

IF you find a fire, raise the alarm, and, if you want to be a hero, concentrate on ensuring all elderly, young, and disabled get out safe, along with yourself.
That will really help the fire service.
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'


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