Wireless smoke alarms selection tool launched

wireless-system-selector-toolInterlinked smoke alarms notify residents of a building if a fire breaks out in a distant room, where there could be a risk of not hearing the smoke alarm. Here is an example: a fire starts in the kitchen at night while the occupants of the house are asleep in bed. The alarm in the kitchen detects the fire and starts beeping, this message is relayed to the interconnecting alarms throughout the building to alert all occupants and will also rouse them from their sleep, allowing for a safe escape from the fire. An interlinked system for such a scenario will consist of at least one heat alarm in the kitchen and a smoke alarm in the bedroom or on the landing.

There are different ways of interlinking smoke alarms, most of them involve cabling between each unit. Wireless smoke alarms, however, do not require a cable between each alarm; they pass the signal between the different detectors as a radio frequency signal. This way of passing a signal is accepted by British Standards as an alternative to wiring between alarms.

Wireless smoke alarms,have broadly speaking, four power supply options:

The mains powered alarms, while using RF (radio frequency) signals for the communication between themselves, have, of course, some wiring for the power supply. Each of these smoke alarms is supplied with power from either the nearest light fitting or a separate mains power supply circuit.

Mains powered wireless smoke alarms fully satisfy the standard BS5839-6:2013 Grade D, however the sealed ten year power supply of the Ei600TYCRF wireless fire alarm series is usually also accepted as Grade D alternative by Building Inspectors and fire safety officers. Please ask your Building Inspector or fire safety officer before installing the ten year Ei600TYCRF series if your building requires Grade D alarms.

Each of the above smoke alarm series include a range of different fire detection sensors, usually:

  • Ionisation smoke alarms – Detect the electrical property changes of the air in case of a fire
  • Optical (photoelectric) smoke alarms – ‘See’ smoke when it enters its detection chamber
  • Heat alarms – Detect the increase in temperature from a fire

Depending from the application and the room, a specific sensor type is necessary. This can be quite confusing if you are not an expert.

To aid in this selection process Safelincs has developed a website dedicated to explaining wireless smoke alarms. We have also created a system selector tool to help you pick the correct units for your building. Just select the power supply type, enter the number and type of rooms to be protected and the system will place the correct smoke alarms into your basket.

If you still have questions, please contact our friendly customer service on 0800 612 6537 and we are happy to help you.

Nearly £3000 cost savings achieved for guest house

When Kim and Terry of the Ramblers Guesthouse in Trusthorpe on the Lincolnshire East Coast contacted us, they had just received a request by a County Council Fire Protection Officer to upgrade their existing alarm system to standard BS5839 pt 1 2002. This would have meant that they would have had to install a central fire control panel and interlinked fire and heat detectors. The installation of this system would have made it necessary to lay cables throughout the two storey building with its 6 guest rooms during the main holiday season! The thought of all the upheaval and possible loss of revenue coupled with the cost of this system led the owners to seek our help.

Safelincs looked at the option of using a wireless system to BS5839 part 1 but the cost for this was still similar to a wired system with central alarm panel. The MD of Safelincs then rung the fire safety officer in question who, after initial hesitation and after some internal discussions, agreed that the guest house, having only two floors and a relatively small number of bedrooms could be downgraded to a domestic fire alarm system falling in category BS5839 part 6 grade D. It was agreed that the Ei radio-interlinked system with guaranteed 10 year lithium batteries was equivalent to a Grade D system. This system contains radio-interlinked manual break points as well as smoke and heat detectors. The installation was soon after carried out by Safelincs in the space of two hours without any electrical tools being required, as the alarms and break points were all installed with adhesive tape. Apart from the obvious substantial cost savings, the system has numerous other advantages. The maintenance of the system can be carried out by the guest house owners by simply pressing one of the test buttons (of course a different one each time the system is tested) and each smoke detector has an integrated sounder, which improves general sound levels significantly.

This case shows that fire risk assessments allow room for discussions and as long as the safety of the people within a building is not compromised, the fire services and the councils’ fire protection officers are happy to discuss the best and most appropriate solution.

New radio-interlinked smoke alarms from Kidde

Kidde have added mains powered radio-interlinked smoke alarms to their range of 230V smoke alarms. The new slimline design offers customers an additional choice in our smoke alarm range. The alarms conform to BS5839-pt6 grade D, E and F and are installed in new residenatial conversions and extensions, small to medium offices and many HMOs.

The Kidde Slick smoke and heat alarms can be wired from the nearest light fitting, making them cheaper to install and less intrusive than other hard wired smoke alarms. They are fitted with an alkaline back up battery as standard but this can be upgraded to a 10 year lithium battery if required.  The alarms have a unique fast-fitting base and a screwless connection block making installation as easy as possible.

The units talk to each other through a wireless connection. This means that when one alarm detects fire all the alarms will be activated and begin to sound within seconds. Up to 15 alarms can be interlinked together in one system and the   house coding process is very simple.

With their new design Kidde have really thought of everything: the alarms are fitted with an LED that will enable you to identify the initiating smoke alarm.  The alarms also have a flashing LED that will give you silent notice for 30 days that the batteries are getting low. After this 30 day period the alarms will then give off the usual warning chirp.