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Electrical Safety In The Home

For the past 38 years we have provided electrical services across Hertfordshire and London. As I’m sure you can imagine, we have encountered some electrical horrors and very near misses over the years! This could be due to incompetent tradesman, electrical DIY, or faulty electrics.

Our most recent discovery was this socket outlet in a house in Kensington. The tradesman who installed the fridge had left the socket outlet in this condition from over 4 years ago! This was highly concerning for our engineer to discover as electrics like this can be fatal. There was risk of electric shock to the resident, but also electrical sockets like this could’ve caused the appliance to become very hot and potentially explode!

Electrical Safety Tips

Electricity was a brilliant discovery for the human race, however its important to be cautious with electricity as it can cause fatal injuries if mishandled. We recommend the following tips to optimise electrical safety in your home:

  1. Always use registered electricians. NICEIC, Elecsa, and NAPIT are UK registering bodies for electrical contractors. They will carry out thorough audits to assess the electrician is competent and works to the highest standard of safety and quality. The electrician will also have to work to the latest British safety Standards.  Electrical Safety First have a register in which you can find a local, registered electrician HERE.
  2. Do not carry out electrical DIY! According to Electrical Safety First, DIY causes half of electric shocks in UK households. The safety factor is a major concern, therefore its best to always use a registered electrician to carry out the works. Many DIY electrical incidences are caused by cutting through a power lead, not turning off electrical devices before working on them, and drilling into wiring. Always seek advice from a professional, and if you’re not sure then do not carry out the DIY works.
  3. Use Part P registered electricians in St Albans. As mentioned above, if you use a registered electrician they are likely to also meet Part P requirements. Part P is a building regulation which ensures the electrical installations within dwellings are safe. Majority of electrical works within a dwelling will be Part P affected. Therefore the works needs to be notified and inspected by a building control body to ensure they meet building regulations.
  4. Have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on your property. The EICR will highlight any internal wiring defects, as well as visual defects to your sockets or wiring which could cause a fire.
  5. Have a common sense approach with electricity. Do not overload sockets, do not leave electrical items charging while unattended, and contact an electrician if you notice any visual defects with your sockets or wires.

Its important to treat electricity with the utmost respect. Sometimes you can follow all the above advice and an electrical incident could still occur. However its important to eliminate the risk as much as possible.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for all your electrical needs or for further electrical advice.

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Keeping Your Pet Electrically Safe

Apparently it was national ‘Love Your Pet’ day on February 20th (who knew!). At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we’re big animal lovers and believe that every day should be ‘love your pet’ day. Therefore what better way to show your love than caring for their safety?

During the working day our pets are often home alone. Therefore it’s important to make sure there are no potential electrical hazards in the house which could cause a fire in your absence.

We recommend you take the following measures to eliminate the risk of harm to your pet:

• Don’t leave any electrical items charging while you’re not in the house.
• Be aware that some pets do like to chew on cables. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep your cables tidy and not trailing on the floor. If your pet chews through the cables insulation it could result in them electrocuting themselves.
• Ensure extension leads and sockets are not overloaded. This is to avoid a build-up of heat which could potentially cause a fire.
• Don’t leave portable heaters or electric fans on while unattended. Both of these items could injure your pet.
• Carry out visual checks on your sockets and cables. If burn marks are present or there is exposed wiring, it is best to call an electrician! Electrical Safety First has this great visual inspection app which you could use around your home.
• Don’t forget to make sure your hair straighteners and curlers are turned off and taken out of the socket. Not only could these burn your pets, but they could also cause a fire.

Many people consider their pet to be their baby. Therefore reflect on the electrical safety measures you would take for young children and relay those onto your pets. Don’t let them suffer for your carelessness!

For any electrical assistance in your home or workplace, speak with your local registered electrician in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire or please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Emergency Lighting Remedial Works

Following on from last weeks blog post, we thought this week we would discuss remedial works for if your emergency lights do fail during a test.

According to BS EN 1838:2013, Emergency Lights should stay luminated for a minimum of 1 hour. However this does vary between the size and complexity of a premise. For example, 1 hour duration should only be used in premises which can be evacuated immediately. 3 hour duration emergency lights should be used in premises which will not be evacuated immediately e.g. sleeping accommodation. A risk assessment should determine the required duration.

What Are Remedial Works?

Remedial works are required if there is failures in any part of the system during testing. Failures would include; a luminaire completely failing to luminate or not staying luminated for the required duration. A competent person should carry out the repairs to the system. The responsible person of the premises should consider alternative procedures until the system is repaired. Alternative safety procedures could include the following:

  1. Issuing torches to all occupants
  2. Inform occupants to be extra vigilant until the system is repaired
  3. Carry out extra safety patrols
  4. Limit use to parts of the building

The competent person should also update your log book with the repairs which have been carried out. Here at Fulcher Edwards, your local, reliable and trustworthy electricians in London, St Albans and Hertfordshire, we also issue certificates of repairs to show due diligence.

This week we have carried out emergency lighting remedial works in a restaurant in London. Their 3 hour testing highlighted 30 failed luminaires! This could have caused potentially serious visibility issues during the event of an emergency. We hope this emphasises the importance of testing your emergency lights, but also carrying out repairs if necessary.

If you require assistance with the testing of your emergency lights or remedial works then please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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School Emergency Lighting Testing

Last week our Electrician Barry spent 2 days carrying out emergency lighting testing in a school in North West London. We carry out maintenance works for a variety of schools across London and Hertfordshire. Our Electricians are DBS checked and can attend during school holidays if preferred.

What is Emergency Lighting?

Emergency lighting is a legal requirement for all businesses and organisations as defined by the Fire Regulatory Reform Order 2005 and British Standards BS 5266 Part 1: 2016 (Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises) and BS EN 1838.

Emergency lighting is a back–up for when the main power supply cuts out, resulting in darkness. This could present a danger to the occupants of a building. Therefore emergency lights must operate automatically in all circulation areas and escape routes. They must also be adequate for people to see clearly enough to navigate obstacles and find a way out of the building safely.

Emergency Lighting should be inspected and tested at regular intervals. A monthly function test should be carried out in-house or by a professional. A full 3-hour duration test should be carried out annually by a professional. A certificate should also be issued for your records.

Emergency Lighting testing needs to be documented into a logbook. An Emergency lighting logbook provides the facility to record alterations, repairs, maintenance, and inspection and testing of emergency lighting installations. It will also provide details of the certification issued. The maintenance company carrying out the yearly emergency lighting testing should supply you with a logbook.

If you require emergency lighting testing at one of your properties then why not contact us HERE for a free quote? If you choose Fulcher Edwards to carry out your emergency lighting installation or maintenance in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire,  we can provide you with a logbook, certificate for your records and training if required. We can also assist with any remedial works that may be necessary to keep you compliant with British Standards.

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What Is There To Know About Lot 20?

Last Friday we saw students across the country take part in a global campaign for action on climate change. It was inspiring to see children of all ages walking the streets urging the government to declare a climate emergency. Equally, it’s disappointing that students feel they have to miss out on their education time in order for the government to take action. Especially as they are suffering for the previous generation’s mistake.

Despite the fact that majority of the harm has already been done, most of us are trying to take little steps forward to slow down the damage which is being done to our planet. Electric cars are all the rage with Audi most recently revealing their first electric model – the E-Tron. Within our homes we are reducing our plastic usage, using energy efficient lighting, and an initiative which has most recently come to my attention… Lot 20.

What is Lot 20?

As of January 2018, a new EU legislation was put into effect called Lot 20. Lot 20 aims to reduce energy which is produced from sources which use electricity, gas, or liquid fuels to heat our homes and work spaces. According to Ecodesign half of the energy used within a household goes towards heating the space and water. Therefore improving on energy efficiency within these areas should drastically reduce our carbon footprint.
Lot 20 will affect the following products:

  1. Direct acting heaters
  2. Radiant heaters
  3. Storage heaters
  4. Underfloor heating
  5. Portable heaters
  6. Gas fires
  7. Electric fires
  8. Infra-red heaters

Therefore as of January last year, manufactures will no longer be able to produce the above products if they do not meet the new energy efficient standards. Products produced before this time period will still be able to be sold and used. Eventually that stock will sell out and only new compliant models will be available.
According to Ecodesign, new compliant heaters will have the following smart technology built within them:

  1. Electronic time and temperature controls
  2. Open window sensing technology
  3. Predictive start functionality
  4. Remote app based control

I think it’s great to see that more and more companies are making changes to assist with carbon reduction and hitting energy targets. If you’re a supplier, installer, or customer you can check whether your product is compliant to Lot 20 HERE.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for assistance with electric heater installation in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire, or any other electrical services which we provide.

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New Rules for EICRs in Rental Properties

In recent news, the Housing Minister has agreed to tighten up electrical safety rules in rental accommodation. These extra measures will provide greater protection to the tenants, but also to the Landlords.

Landlords have an obligation to ensure their rental accommodation is meeting electrical safety standards. The British Standards recommend that Landlords have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every 5 years OR at the change of tenancy. However up until now there has been no legal requirement to ensure that the inspectors they use for the EICRs have specific qualifications or a certain level of competence. Therefore, the Housing Ministers will also now be publishing guidance which highlights the minimum level of qualifications and competence required of the inspectors. This provides extra reassurance to both the Landlord and Tenants.

What is involved in an EICR?

An EICR involves a skilled person carrying out inspection and testing to ensure the installation is of a satisfactory condition. The process is mainly a visual inspection to ensure there are no exposed wires, damaged sockets etc. Electrical tests will also be carried out to confirm disconnection times in the event of an electric shock.  The main purpose of an EICR is to test the internal wiring of a building. The inspection should highlight any defects which could potentially cause a fire or affect the safety of persons.

At Fulcher Edwards we take pride in always providing a high standard of electrical safety. This is why each year we undergo rigorous audits to meet NICEIC, SafeContractor, and BAFE accreditations. However not all Electricians put the same level of importance on electrical safety and standards. Therefore these extra measures will provide assurance to the tenants that their home is safe, but also their will be a material improvement to the Landlords property. Failing to comply with these new measures will result in financial penalties for the Landlords.

If you are a Landlord or Tenant and would like to have an EICR carried out on your property. Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

 

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Dont Let Fire Ignite Your Valentines Day!

The day of love is just around the corner, with teddy bears and chocolate covered hearts already filling the shelves. I am of course talking about Valentines Day! The day to show your partner, friends, or even family just how much they mean to you. If you prefer to keep your Valentines Day celebrations slightly more low-key and choose to avoid over-crowded restaurants with expensive set menus, then having a romantic meal for 2 at home is the best solution. However don’t let your passion ignite real flames in your home!

How To Prevent Fire Ruining Your Valentines Day

  1. Candles are perfect for creating a romantic atmosphere, however they can often be a common fire hazard. Therefore its important to never leave a candle lit unattended. Always blow the candle out before leaving the room or house.
  2. If you’re lucky enough to have a fire place in your house, what could be more romantic than snuggling up in front of the fire? However you need to be aware of the hazards of an open fire. Its always a good idea to have a fireguard. Furthermore, keep any flammable materials and pets away from the fire place.
  3. If you like to treat your loved one to a home cooked meal then be sure not to spoil it by burning it! Consider using a timer so you cant forget about your meal in the heat of the moment. Remember to also make sure to turn off the stove/oven when you have finished using it. Also keep any tea towels and flammable material away from a hot stove.
  4. If you want to spoil your partner with the latest gadget. Always buy a genuine product from a reputable retailer. This also includes buying a genuine charger. Many fires are caused by counterfeit/cheap products and chargers as they haven’t undergone thorough safety checks.

Finally, make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your property. Its best to test your smoke alarm weekly to make sure its working and will alert you if a fire occurs. Sometimes fires starting can be out of your control, but a working smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death.

Wishing everyone a lovely Valentines Day with their special someone! Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for all your electrical needs.

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BAFE and Fire Safety in Your Business

Fire alarm maintenance is one of the many services we provide at Fulcher Edwards Ltd. Furthermore, we have proudly been BAFE accredited for the past 3 years. Though how many of you are aware of what BAFE is? BAFE are the independent registration body for third party certified fire protection companies across the UK. Through regular audits and thorough inspections they ensure that companies providing fire protection services are competent and meeting quality standards. You can find your local BAFE registered company here.

Therefore, with all this in mind it is a good idea to contact BAFE registered companies when requiring fire protection services at your premises. Many insurance companies are now insisting their clients only use companies with BAFE accreditation. So now you know what BAFE is, but are you aware of the fire safety responsibilities in your company? Take a read below to find out!

Fire Safety Responsibilities In Your Company

  1. Firstly, ensure there is a responsible person for fire safety on the premises. The responsible person can either be an employee who is appointed to the role, or alternatively it falls to the employer/person who controls the premises.
  2. The responsible person should carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises. The fire risk assessment will highlight precautions and actions which need to put into place, these assessments should be recorded and regularly reviewed. Especially if the building layout changes.
  3. Ensure there is appropriate fire fighting equipment on the premises. E.g. Fire extinguishers, fire blankets, etc.
  4. There should be an adequate amount of fire alarms/smoke detectors on the premises. Regular maintenance of the alarms/detectors is important to ensure they are working correctly at all times. The responsible person can carry out weekly tests on the fire alarm call points. They should do this by triggering a different call point each week to sound the alarms, and then recording this test for due diligence. Furthermore, a company which carries out fire alarm maintenance can test the alarms every 6 months. This will be a thorough test of the whole system and the engineers will also carry out battery maintenance on the alarms. An alarms battery should be able to stay in standby for 24 hours and then ring constantly for 30 minutes without failing.
  5. Emergency exits out of the building which all members of staff are aware of.  Emergency exits should be illuminated with emergency lights and the running man exit signs. Furthermore, a company such as Fulcher Edwards can install the emergency lights and maintain them for you.

If you would like further guidance and details on fire safety responsibility in your premises, it would be worth reading the Regulatory Reform Order (FSO) 2005. The FSO is the legislation for fire safety in non-domestic premises in the UK.

Please do not hesitate to contact us here if you would like further guidance on fire alarm maintenance, emergency lighting maintenance, and all other electrical services.

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Electrical DIY – Should you do it yourself?

When it comes to DIY, many people think that it is cheaper to do it themselves not realising the financial and safety implications involved. What can on the outset look like a relatively easy job, could turn out to be far more complex! That is why it is always best to leave it to a qualified, experienced electrician in London.

Below you can check out an infographic that reveals some worrying results about DIY electrics and also to highlight the serious consequences that this can have.

Electrician in Hertfordshire

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E-Cigarette Electrical Safety

The Office for National Statistics recently confirmed that 60% of smokers wish they could give up. Therefore with New Years Resolutions into full swing, many people will be attempting to give up smoking this January.  Some people will go cold turkey, while others might use the alternative of e-cigarettes. Especially with Public Health England stating that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than regular cigarettes. However are they safe? Especially with reports emerging of them causing fires and injury.

Keeping Your E-Cigarette Safe

We fully support these tips and advice provided by Electrical Safety First:

  1. Don’t leave your e-cigarette charging for a long period of time. According to e-cigarette manufacturers ‘blu’ it should only take 4 hours to fully charge. Overcharging the battery can result in damaging it.
  2. Ensure the charger has the CE mark on it. The CE mark states that it complies with European Safety Standards.
  3. Don’t leave your e-cigarette charging overnight or when you’re not in the house. As if any dangers occurred you would be unaware.
  4. Keep your e-cigarette and batteries stored in a safe place. Any damage could result in them becoming unsafe to use.
  5. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully. You want to make sure you are using the correct charger voltage to eliminate potential danger.

We also suggest that you only buy genuine chargers, ideally from the manufacturer. Fires are more likely to be caused by fake chargers. Furthermore, they could cause internal damage to the e-cigarette. Making it more likely to explode and injure you in the process.

Electrical Safety First have created this video to highlight the dangers of e-cigarette chargers. You can watch it HERE.

If you have been a using a fake charger, then it would be a good idea to call a qualified and registered electrician to check if any damage has been caused. They’re likely to suggest an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) which will involve inspecting the wiring in your home to see if any damage has occurred. It is better to be safe than sorry as electrical fires can start unnoticed inside walls.

For any electrical assistance in your home or workplace, speak with your local registered electrician in London and electrician in Hertfordshire or please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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