Smoke Alarms: Have We Found The Missing Link?

Smoke Alarms: Have We Found The Missing Link?

PE catches up with Nick Ford, Director at Regent Electrical, to find out why the company’s search for quality interlinked alarm solutions has now borne fruit. 

Tell us more about the Sentinel Fire Products brand

About two years ago we were becoming increasingly aware of a persistent problem affecting electricians and home occupiers, namely that they wanted adequate protection from smoke and fire for themselves, their family and their property through the interlinking of alarms. 25% of fatalities occur during night when we are asleep in our beds, and people will often fail to hear the alarm go off downstairs. Unfortunately the disruption of wiring and, most importantly, the cost has made interlinking alarms too expensive for many.

We then began searching for a suitable manufacturer with a proven track record to deliver what we and our customers wanted – namely a product with the highest quality components, well manufactured, rigorously tested, reasonably priced and aesthetically pleasing for the discerning UK end user. We’ve now found the ideal brand in the form of Sentinel Fire Products. 

What products does the range consist of?

In the first instance we wanted to focus on the most common pair of detectors which would be linked – the smoke and heat detector.

The Photo-Electric Optical detector is by far and away the most suitable smoke alarm for the vast majority of houses. Although more expensive than ionisation detectors, optical units are less prone to false alarms. The ideal locations for these are landings, hallways and living rooms, which provides adequate protection in most cases. A fixed temperature heat detector then completes the pair, mainly for use in kitchens, garages and attics.

At this point we have deliberately not invested in a linked CO alarm (carbon monoxide) as, in our experience of refurb and replacement applications, the three are rarely purchased together (although this is different in the specification market). Moreover we question the sense in linking a CO, say in a utility room, with a smoke detector on the landing. If you hear an alarm in the middle of the night, you really should just get out of the building as quickly as possible. If you mistakenly think it’s the CO detector then you may open the windows, which in the case of a fire would be disastrous.

The focus of this offering is the interlinking of the alarms and the speed of the installation. As such, we feel that smoke and the heat alarms are sufficient for now, however we would potentially like to add a CO detector to the range over time, along with a remote test and locate switch.

What other benefits come with the Sentinel range?

One major benefit worth mentioning is that all detectors in the range have a non-removable, sealed-in (tamperproof) Energiser branded Lithium battery. An amazing statistic is that the majority of fatalities that occur in dwellings protected by battery-only detectors are caused by the batteries having been removed or died. That’s a scandalous waste of life so, to combat this occurence, the batteries in Sentinel products cannot be removed.

All products come with a ten-year product life and matching product warranty (including the batteries), which is supported by both the distributor and manufacturer.

Why is it important for installers to use quality, rigorously tested fire safety products?

BSI certification has to be the absolute minimum standard required and Sentinel products are manufactured to the highest standards with complete attention to detail. Each unit is thoroughly tested at every stage of the process and any failures either discarded or reworked.

We all know the potential tragic consequences of the use of poor quality or inappropriate fire protection products and the tragedy at Grenfell Tower brought this into sharp focus. Manufacturers, distributors and installers have a responsibility to their clients – the public, as we all do.

The Fire Service attends 600,000 fires per annum, which cause 800 deaths and 17,000 injuries. While less than 8% occur in the home, these domestic fires cause over 60% of the deaths and injuries. All could be preventable if people had an early warning and therefore time to escape. It’s fact that you are TWICE as likely to die in a fire in a house which has no alarms than a protected one.

With the Sentinel Fire range, whether your customer is a private landlord, home owner or tenant, they can now afford to put in place the protection they desire.

For more information about the Sentinel Fire range of products or to find your local wholesaler stockist visit:

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