Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2016 - Page 50

SPECIAL FEATURE FIRE DETECTION & SECURITY Beyond recent regulations These sensible measures are generally in line with the latest British Standard guidance – EN50292:2013 – and both go much further than recent regulations in England. The continuing toll of deaths and illness resulting from carbon monoxide incidents from other fuels and types of appliances, including cookers, makes a strong case for installers to promote installation of more CO alarms in line with the British Standard wherever possible. This is worth keeping in mind when wiring-in boilers and other combustion appliances, and working on kitchens. All the Regulations and the British Standard EN50292:2013 are unanimous in allowing either mains or battery-only CO alarms. Battery powered alarms should incorporate a battery designed to operate for the working life of the detector. With this in mind, the latest long-life carbon monoxide alarms, enjoying a full 10 year guarantee covering both the alarm and sealed-in lithium battery, help landlords meet their obligations cost effectively over the longer term. The requirement for a working alarm at the start of every tenancy applies to CO alarms as well. Hard-wired systems alarm wherever there is a combustion appliance, including in interconnected spaces such as integral garages. Appliances include a boiler, fire, heater or stove – whether using gas, oil, wood or other fuels – although, unfortunately, it does not cover fittings used solely for 48-50 FD&S – Kidde.indd 50 cooking, despite recent deaths from misused gas cookers. A CO alarm is also needed where a flue passes through ‘high risk accommodation’ such as a bedroom or main living room. And potential risks to and from adjacent properties or shared spaces should be considered. However, mains powered hard-wired (not plug-in) alarms, fitted with a sensor failure warning device, are ideal as part of an electrical installation or re-wire, particularly with interconnection. Here, there are also opportunities to take a ‘system’ approach to protection. For example, some hard-wired CO alarms can not only be interlinked with each other but also matching hard-wired smoke and heat alarms. Here, it is essential that products have different, distinct alarm sounder patterns for carbon monoxide and fire, sometimes supported by different display messages. Some systems of this type can automatically alert occupants throughout the property of the specific hazard that confronts them, without the need for any further operation of the system (such as remote switches). This allows occupants to respond quickly, making the right choice from the very different potential actions for either fire or carbon monoxide. It also enables installers to offer a comprehensive package for wholehouse safety to their customers. Rex Taylor is technical support manager of Kidde, covering technical matters, regulations and training. He has been involved with the Fire and Electrical Industry for some years as a technical support engineer. He was an instructor at Pembrokeshire College in Electrical Engineering delivering courses covering the Wiring Regulations 17th Edition BS7671, Inspection and Testing 2391, Portable Appliance Testing 2377 and 2330, to electricians. He is a qualified electrician and an associate member of the IET. He has also lived in and worked in France. 11/04/2016 14:33