Vindaloo anyone?

So after the epic England Match yesterday, some of the boys on the Oaks and Acorns Unit have decided to make their own version of Vindaloo, to support England in Euro 2021. That meant that this afternoon, I had to go back into work to get the camcorders from the AV Cupboard in the Main School. (They have since been locked in the filing cabinet in the Unit Office and our Young People were fully supervised while using the cameras.

So far, the kids have recorded parts of the music video in the corridors on J Block and D Block and dragged staff into the video, including myself and Sam. The kids managed to catch me walking down the stairs singing along and Sam singing and dancing with a mop. I am going to try and drag other staff into the video, including a few teachers and our Head Karen!

I know Karen is very into encouraging the Performing Arts side of things and she will definitely get involved with the video., I might also suggest that we do a video for 3 Lions, which is something we can get the whole school involved with. (Staff and Pupils)

I have posted the link to the music video below. (The song was originally released in 1998. This UK No. 2 hit single is probably the most popular England Football Anthem ever and was by the band “Fat Les”. The music video for the song is a parody of the video for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve, which was itself inspired by the music video for “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack. The video features a drummer, Sumo Wrestlers, Hockey Players, loads of kids, a bloke with a piece of paper with the photo of David Walliams on it, a Vicar and a drunk woman, among many others.

Meanwhile, I am currently sat on the Children’s Assessment Unit at the Hospital with Josh. He may require an appendectomy and is currently on a drip of Paracetamol and fluids, while they decide if they need to operate or not. If he does, it will be likely that they will operate in the morning and of course, I will update the blog as soon as I can, regarding this. For now tho, I got some work I can do on my laptop, 🙂

A Guide to Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers, where would we be without them? They are an important piece of Health and Safety equipment, to keep our schools, homes businesses and vehicles safe. But what are the different types and what are they used for? In this guide, I will take you through each category extinguisher, what’s in it and what it is used for.

Let’s start with the basics. A Fire Extinguisher is basically a canister, which contains the extinguishing agent in one capsule and either compressed air or another compressed gas, such as Nitrogen in another capsule. (Except C02) Once you have removed the safety tag, pulled the pin and squeezed the handles, the compressed gas or air, will spray the extinguishing agent at high pressure, through the nozzle on the neck of the extinguisher.

OK, now we know how they work, let’s look at the different types of extinguisher.

Water

Water Fire Extinguishers are just that… More or less, the same water that comes from the tap. Water cools burning material and is very effective against fires in furniture, fabrics, etc. (including deep-seated fires). Water-based extinguishers cannot be used safely on energized electrical fires or flammable liquid fires.

These extinguishers are used on organic materials, such as wood, paper and fabrics.

Powder

This is a powder-based agent that extinguishes by separating the four parts of the fire tetrahedron. It prevents the chemical reactions involving heat, fuel, and oxygen, thus extinguishing the fire. During combustion, the fuel breaks down into free radicals, which are highly reactive fragments of molecules that react with oxygen. The substances in dry chemical extinguishers can stop this process.

These extinguishers are used on organic materials, such as fabrics, paper and wood) paints, flammable gasses, (EG: Butane and Methane) flammable materials, such as Magnesium or Lithium and electrical equipment that is not energised.

Foam

Foam Extinguishers are applied to fuel fires as either an aspirated (mixed and expanded with air in a branch pipe) or non aspirated form to create a frothy blanket or seal over the fuel, preventing oxygen reaching it. Unlike powder, foam can be used to progressively extinguish fires without flashback and also cannot be inhaled, thus preventing breathing difficulties if breathed in.

These extinguishers are used on organic materials (wood, paper and fabrics) only

Carbon Dioxide (C02)

These extinguish fire by displacing oxygen CO2 or inert gases), removing heat from the combustion zone They are referred to as clean agents because they do not leave any residue after discharge, which is ideal for protecting sensitive electronics, aircraft, armored vehicles and archival storage, museums, and valuable documents. This is often seen in Server Rooms, Plant Rooms and other areas, where there is sensitive equipment. It is normally connected to a Fire Suppression System.

The extinguisher discharge the clean agent through and hose and out through a horn at the end of the hose. Because CO2 is extremely cold, users are told not to hold the horn, when discharging.

These extinguishers can be used on flammable liquids and energised electrical fires.

Wet Chemical

These extinguishers are more often than none, seen in Commercial Kitchens, on as Fire Bottles on Diesel Trains. (On the underside of the train)

Wet chemical (Potassium Acetate, Potassium Carbonate, or Potassium Citrate, extinguishes the fire by forming an air-excluding soapy foam blanket over the burning oil through the chemical process of saponification (a base reacting with a fat to form a soap) and by the water content cooling the oil below its ignition temperature.

Sometimes, the extinguishers may be in the form of a Fire Bottle, for automatic or manual discharge. This is common where there are Deep Fat Fryers in a Commercial Kitchen, (Activated, by pulling the pin out of it’s casing) or mounted to the Chassis of a Diesel Train, which can be automatically discharged by the Train Management System, or manually activated by pulling a pin. This type of equipment can be classed as Fire Suppression, which is a type of sprinkler system, which uses a wet or dry chemical, to extinguish a fire.

These extinguishers can be used on organic materials and cooking oils.

How to use an extinguisher

Fire extinguishers should only be used if the fire is small and that it will not put YOU or anyone else in IMMEDIATE DANGER. If you don’t feel that you can tackle the fire yourself, or there is a lot of smoke, Evacuate the building and call the Fire Brigade, by dialing 999.

All extinguisher have the same operating instructions, using the “P.A.S.S Protocol”.

  • Pull out the Pin that is locking the handles
  • Aim at the base of the fire. (This is where the fire is at it’s hottest.)
  • Squeeze the handles
  • Sweep side to side

The difference between Wet and and Dry Risers

There is one main difference between a Wet and a Dry Riser. One is connected to the mains water supply and is constantly kept at Mains Pressure (Wet Riser) and the other is a empty tank, which is connected by a hose, to a Fire Engine or to a Fire Hydrant.

All Risers have the same principle, regardless if they are wet or dry. The system contains a pipe, which runs up the inside of the building. In most buildings, the connection valve is kept in a cupboard, which requires a Firefighter to break the glass door, to connect the hose. Then, the valve is turned and water will fill the hose. At the very top of the building, there is a Air Valve, to release any air, which has got in the system and could cause a airlock. This could prevent the Riser from working properly.

Wet and dry risers - Vapourmist Solutions
A typical Wet Riser. Image courtesy of Vapour Mist. https://www.vapourmist.co.uk/

Wet Risers require mains pressure to work and are normally connected to the mains water, which is fed from the nearest Fire Hydrant. In some buildings, there is a water tank present, which the Wet Riser feeds from. Connecting your Wet Riser to the domestic Water Supply is not practical, as the dimensions of the pipe are too small, to allow enough water to flow through.,

What Is A Dry Riser? | Elite Fire Protection Ltd
A typical Dry Riser. Image Courtesy of Elite Fire Protevtion (www.elitefire.co.uk)

Dry Risers on the other hand, do not require connected to the main supply. However, there may be a nearby Fire Hydrant, which can be connected to the inlet, by Fire Fighters. If there is no hydrant near by, Fire Fighters can connect the other end of the hose to the Fire Engine and use stored water, from the tank on the Fire Engine itself.

In my school, we have mainly Dry Risers, but there are Wet Risers in D Block, which is where the Gym, Swimming Pool, Drama Studio and Dance Studio are.

Before we conclude, I will mention that Fire Sprinkler Systems are a form of Wet Riser, as the system is always pressurized and is activated when the heat builds to a dangerous level, which causes the vapour in the glass plug (Which is connected to the sprinkler head) to evaporate. This causes the plug to shatter, allowing water to flow.

Dry Systems are usually used in Fire Suppression Systems, in Server Rooms and Plant Rooms. This system is similar, except the system is not pressurised and there is no plug on these systems. Once the system detects rising smoke, the system switches off any ventilation systems, sounds an alarm and opens a valve, which allows the dry agent to flow through the sprinklers, at high pressure.

Dealing with Body Fluids

I have just come back from dealing with someone on Sick Bay, who had vomited all over the floor. Our school policy is to bleep Domestic Services during the day (7am – 3pm every day) or page me out of hours on a body fluid spill. So being that it was 11pm that this happened, I got paged to come to Sick Bay  to clear it up.  (I only live round the corner from school.)

So, I attended and needed the following kit:

  • Body Fluids Kit (We have one on each unit, including Sick Bay)
  • Blue Mop Bucket and a Blue Mop
  • 2 Bleach Tablets dissolved in 5L of water
  • Blue Paper Roll
  • Disposable Apron
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Wet Floor Sign

Once, I had everything I needed and I had the correct PPE; (Personal Protective Equipment) I put up a yellow “Wet Floor Sign and  sprinkled the absorbent powder onto the vomit. Using the paper roll, I slowly  scooped it up. and then used the spills kit hazardous waste bag to dump the blue roll and the vomit. Then using a socket mop and bucket, I washed the area of floor with diluted bleach solution, leaving the wet floor sign in place; until the floor has dried. The mop head went into the red infected laundry bag in the sluice room and will be taken down to the laundry, by the Unit Housekeeper in the morning.

Remember: When dealing with any body fluid, (regardless if it is urine, vomit, blood, faces or semen) you must wear PPE. It is safety first. – Wear disposable \ thick rubber gloves, an  apron and goggles. (when working with chemicals) You must also remember to stick to the correct colour coding of equipment. Please read this post, to find our  more information about colour coding when cleaning.

Cleaning Colour Coding

In a school or professional environment, it is important that we use the correct colour coded equipment when cleaning. This helps to stop cross contamination of germs and pathogens from getting to other surfaces in other parts of the building. This isn’t currently law, but is common practice in most workplaces.

So roll on the many colours:

Red Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Red coloured equipment must only be used in bathrooms, (Including bathtubs,  taps, shower fixtures, Shower curtains, taps, sinks plugholes, pipes, mirrors, tiles, window sills, window frames, door handles, locks, and floor)  toilets, (Including the inside and outside of the bowl, cistern, chain, pipes, seats, basins, window frames, window sills, sink, taps and pipework, mirrors, tiles and the floor. Also red mops can be used in changing rooms too. )

Yellow Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Yellow coloured equipment must be only used in areas of isolation. We only use those in single rooms in Sick Bay or in the event that Sick Bay has a Nova Virus outbreak. (This doesn’t happen often.

Green Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Green coloured equipment must be only used in a kitchen on all surfaces.

White Dish Cloths with a Red Trim: x These cloths must only be used for washing up in a kitchen environment.

Yellow Dusters with a Red Trim: Dusters can be used universally, but must not be used in a kitchen \ bathroom \ toilet or isolation areas.

We also use colored Tabards too:

Red: Toilets \ Bathrooms

Blue: General Purpose

Yellow: Sick Bay Ward Areas \ Isolation Areas

Green: Kitchens

These guidelines are not law, (Apart from the use of green equipment being used in kitchens. ) but are recommended by the British Institute of Cleaning Science. These guidelines apply to cleaning cloths, mops, buckets, brushes, gloves (unless the gloves are disposable) and sponges. You will also need to change your PPE, (Personal Protective equipment) every time you switch areas. (IE: if you go from a bathroom to a general low risk area, such as a office.) This helps to reduce cross contamination.

So that’s Sam’s guide to cleaning colour coding for cleaning. 🙂

Operation Deep Clean!

It’s been a very busy few weeks for the Domestics Team and I, as we have been preparing the school for the new school year. This is a task that should not be taken lightly,  as it is the only time of the year, we can perform a deep clean of the school. It takes me and 15 Housekeepers, with the help of a fgew volunteers (Mum, some of the Teaching Assistants and a few off duty Care Staff) to perform the yearly “blitz” of the school.

Towards the end of the Spring Term, we begin planning a deep clean operation. It takes a team of cleaners to get our school deep cleaned and to leave it fresh and clean for the beginning of term. Below are some statistics of what has to be deep cleaned every year, which gives you a flavor of how big a job deep cleaning really is!

  • Around 8 miles of carpets have to be steam cleaned every summer. (This includes classrooms, Corridors, stairwells and boarding units.
  • 275 windows were cleaned internally and externally
  • Over 600 desks, tables and chairs were steam cleaned through the site
  • All surfaces in the kitchens were deep cleaned, using high pressure water, mixed with heavy duty cleaner.
  • Over 500 light shades and light fittings are deep cleaned. (This includes florescent lights)
  • 200 toilet bowls, cisterns and urinals deep cleaned, along with 110 sinks, 30 showers,  and 8 bath tubs!
  • We used 20L of chewing gum remover to remove chewing gum from the bottoms of tables, chairs and other fixtures.
  • We used around 50L of descaler on sanitary fittings
  • We used a fleet of 20 vacuum cleaners, made up of “Henry’s” and Serbo’s, as well as 3 industrial wet and dry machines
  • We used over 200 hoover bags, during deep cleaning
  • We use over 50L of water to steam clean the corridors, offices, boarding units and classrooms
  • Every mattress on the units and Sick Bay were taken outside and are sprayed for bedbugs.
  • To deep clean a unit, takes around 8 hours. Once the borders are up, dressed and had breakfast, they are asked to vacate the unit. There personal possessions are noted down and carefully put in boxes and then the unit is cleaned top to bottom. By evening, when the boarders return from their activity off site, the unit is fully cleaned.
  • To deep clean the Residential block from top to bottom, takes around 8 days to complete. Sick Bay is the hardest area to clean, as it is constantly in use. So top deal with that, one side is closed while deep cleaning is carried out. Once on side is done, we close the other side and repeat the process. The unit deep cleans have to be planned carefully as well!
  • Several pairs of socks and other items of clothes were uncovered while cleaning the school and Junior House
  • 15 miles of pipework is thoroughly cleaned during the deep clean, including  water, radiator and drain pipes!
  • Talking of drainpipes, we used 20L of sink & plughole unblocker to remove hair and grease from several sinks, showers and bath waste traps and plugholes.
  • I repaired several plugs on sinks and bathtubs, where the chain had come loose.
  • I fixed 13 “Pull & Clank Iron Bell” High Level Toilet Cisterns, which were in need of attention, due to the kids pulling the chain too hard and causing the flush handle to fall into the cistern. (You can’t beat the sound of a “pull and clank” cistern when it is being flushed!)
  • 200 vertical blinds are carefully dismantled, cleaned and put back up.
  • Even the swimming pool does not get away with not being deep cleaned! The pool was drained in July, the tiles checked and the whole interior of the pool jet washed before refilling! The poolside also was jet washed, as well as the changing rooms being deep steam cleaned and the plant equipment serviced.
  • The laundry machines were disinfected, along with the floor and drainage channels
  • The 5 sluice rooms in Junior House were deep cleaned, using high pressure water. This included the sluice sinks, the interior of the Macatator machines (with disinfectant) and the walls, which were manually washed down.
  • All ventilation vents were cleaned and any dust harboring round the vents removed.
  • The curtains in the Hall were all taken down and sent for dry cleaning. The curtains require scaffold towers to take down and put back up; so it is good they only need a clean once a year!
  • The majority of furniture from classrooms were put either in the corridors or in other classrooms while deep cleaning was carried out.
  • Over 1000 electrical items got PAT Tested (Portable Appliance Test) while we were deep cleaning. (We had a company come in to do this)
  • Finally, the chandler in the entrance hall of the school had to be cleaned while in situ. Again, we had a specialist company to come in and do this for us and meant that for 6 hours, the front entrance to the school could not be used, as we had a scaffold tower erected.

So we are nearly finished with deep cleaning. I just have a little bit of painting to do and a few cracked tiles to replace, but it has been an exhausting few weeks through August, to get the school spick and span. I know I only just had a holiday, but I could do with another – I am knackered!