Kidde Safety helps electrical contractors spot opportunities for adding smoke, heat and CO alarms to domestic contracts, increasing turnover as well as improving safety.
Without doubt, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives. The following guidance is based on BS5839-6:2013 for smoke and heat alarms, and BS EN50292:2013 for CO alarms. Both apply to any domestic properties – whether existing or new, rented or owner-occupied.
Are smoke and CO alarms already installed?
If there is no smoke alarm, ﬁtting at least one should be a priority, as occupants are at least four times more likely to die in a fire in a home where there is no working smoke alarm. In addition, carbon monoxide poisoning causes around 50 deaths and 200 serious injuries annually, so CO alarms should be fitted with any combustion appliances, whatever the fuel.
Are existing alarms working and up-to-date?
Alarms may be missing or time-expired, and should be replaced. They generally have a designed operational life of between 5 and 10 years, and the replacement date should be shown on the alarm.
Consider upgrading to a mains system
Demanded by Building Regulations, professionally installed ‘Grade D’ mains, interconnected smoke and heat alarms with back-up power are also important for existing buildings and BS 5839-6:2013 excludes battery-only systems from all rented homes. Rewiring, alterations and other works provide an ideal opportunity to install a hard-wired system, particularly to cut running costs. For example, it costs less than £1 per year to operate a Firex alarm (March 2016 average kWh cost from the UK’s top 5 suppliers, between £0.099/kWh and £0.109/kWh).
Consider adding CO alarms
Building Regulations and BS EN 50292:2013 allow either mains or battery-only CO alarms. Mains CO alarms are easily installed alongside other works and can offer extra features. For example, Kidde’s 4MCO and 4MDCO alarms can be interlinked not only with each other but also the Firex smoke and heat alarms using ‘Smart Interconnect’, offering a comprehensive package for whole-house safety.
Is the property rented?
Regulations now apply to all private rented premises in England requiring a smoke alarm on each ﬂoor and a carbon monoxide alarm in any habitable room with a solid fuel appliance. But in Scotland, Grade D mains alarms are a legal requirement for all rented properties and more CO alarms are needed too.
Is there a heat alarm in the kitchen?
Although over 60% of all domestic fires start in kitchens, Building Regulations Part B only calls for heat alarms in some kitchens. In contrast, Regulations elsewhere and BS 5839-6:2013 recommend them in all kitchens. Don’t forget, they must interconnect with the smoke alarms.
Is there a smoke alarm in the living room?
For most properties BS 5839-6:2013 recommends a smoke alarm in the living room, as well as in hallways and landings.
Is there a CO alarm in the bedroom?
As well as near combustion appliances, BS EN 50292:2013 recommends CO alarms in rooms where occupants spend time, particularly bedrooms. Using the ‘Smart Interconnect’ facility discussed earlier, Kidde’s hard-wired CO alarms in bedrooms act as sounders for the smoke alarm system as well as protecting sleeping occupants against carbon monoxide.