SPECIAL FEATURE FIRE DETECTION & SAFETY Category LD2 is now considered the norm for most domestic properties. SAFE AS HOUSES Rex Taylor, technical support manager at Kidde Safety, unravels the current tangle of requirements and guidance for smoke, heat and CO alarms in housing, exposing opportunities for electrical contractors. S moke and heat alarms are essential in minimising domestic fi re fatalities and injuries, while CO alarms play an important role in reducing instances of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Alarms may be Building Regulations requirements but the most comprehensive guidance can be found in the Code of Practice BS5839-6:2013 for smoke and heat alarms, and BS EN50292:2013 for CO alarms. Both apply to existing or new, rented or owner-occupied properties. Professionally installed alarms BS5839-6:2013 defi nes ‘Grades’ and ‘Categories’ of systems comprising smoke and heat alarms. Essentially, ‘Grade’ addresses the reliability of a system in terms of its power sources. All the national Building Regulations and BS5839- 6:2013 are agreed on Grade D mains, interconnected smoke and heat alarms with back up power for all new builds. 34 | July 2017 The Code also recommends Grade D for most existing housing – and all rented properties. Of course, Grade D mains systems should be professionally installed. ‘Category’ defi nes in which areas alarms are required for detection. Typically, for new houses up to three storeys and most existing homes, the Code recommends Category LD2 – now considered the norm for most domestic properties. This means smoke alarms in all escape routes and any areas where fi res might start, such as living rooms, plus heat alarms in all kitchens. Low running costs Building Regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland effectively mirror the recommendations of BS5839-6. However, Approved Document B for England and Wales falls short with only Category LD3 – alarms in escape routes and some kitchens. But the Code stresses that LD3 ‘might not prevent death or serious injury of occupants of the room where fi re originates’. Clearly, it makes sense for installers to promote Category LD2 with more hard-wired alarms, wherever possible. Here, energy saving products are important to homeowners and tenants, such as the latest generation of Firex alarms, manufactured and supplied by Kidde, and offering low running costs – less than £1 per year. Kidde’s 4MCO and 4MDCO hard-wired CO alarms can be interlinked with each other but also with Firex hard- wired smoke and heat alarms, using the unique ‘Smart Interconnect’ feature.