Kidde encourages electrical contractors to look for opportunities to improve safety and increase package value.
According to Kidde, electrical contractors should look for opportunities to add smoke, heat and CO alarms and related accessories to domestic installation and rewiring projects.
Of course, current Building Regulations demand interconnected smoke alarms in new homes. But alarms in existing homes may be missing or time-expired and ready for replacement.
Anyway, Building Regulations Part B, applying in England and Wales, falls short of the current Code of Practice, for example in kitchens. With over 60% of domestic ﬁres starting in kitchens, heat alarms are essential in all new and existing kitchens and there is a strong argument to add them to kitchen installations and upgrades. After all, the additional cost, compared with a complete kitchen ﬁt-out, is negligible.
Heat alarms should always be interconnected with smoke alarms elsewhere. But there are both practical and aesthetic reasons to avoid interconnect cabling in existing homes. Here, wireless interconnection is an ideal solution, for example using Kidde’s Slick Wireless Alarm Base to interconnect Slick smoke or heat alarms, with each alarm powered from a lighting circuit nearby. The Wireless Alarm Base can also be used with another innovation, the Remote Test & Hush switch, to communicate with a Slick alarm which might otherwise be difficult to access. This is particularly useful for elderly or disabled people, or where alarms are ﬁtted on higher ceilings.
“Heat alarms should always be interconnected with smoke alarms elsewhere. But there are both practical and aesthetic reasons to avoid interconnect cabling in existing homes.”
Alternatively, wired remote test and hush units are available. They can also be used with Kidde’s low cost, low energy Firex range which offers long-life lithium battery back-up options, alongside the usual loose battery and integral rechargeable battery versions. This provides back-up throughout the whole alarm life, without the need to change batteries, at a much lower price than rechargeable products.
Think Carbon Monoxide
There are similar opportunities with CO alarms to protect occupants against the risks of carbon monoxide, which comes from a surprisingly wide range of sources. Again, Building Regulations in England and Wales fall short, only requiring CO alarms with solid fuel appliances. But there is a convincing case for them when installing and wiring-in any combustion appliance. And, again, kitchens are particularly important, as cooking appliances are not covered by Building Regulations and annual gas safety checks may exclude a cooker where it is not the landlord’s property. Worryingly, there have been several instances of modern cookers causing deaths.
Fitting a battery-only CO alarm may be the simplest solution and, of course, quality is key to long term, problem-free performance, addressed by the latest generation of alarms. For example, Kidde’s 10LLCO is the only range of 10-year guaranteed alarms with CO sensors – the key component – actually tested throughout a 10-year period or longer. Alternatively, hard-wired CO alarms can be used, in some cases offering extra functionality. For example, Kidde’s 4MCO and 4MDCO can interconnect with the company’s hard-wired Slick or Firex alarms using the unique ‘Smart Interconnect’ feature, creating an optimised system for whole home protection.
With Smart Interconnect, when a smoke or heat alarm is triggered, all the interconnected alarms – including CO alarms – activate to alert occupants of ﬁre. So, without the need for any further operation of the system (such as remote switches), Smart Interconnect automatically alerts occupants of the speciﬁc hazard that confronts them.