Could Multi-sensor Smoke Alarm Save you Money?
Perhaps the most significant development in fire detection for landlords of domestic
properties in the past 12 months has been the introduction of the Ei2110 Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm. This device, which combines a Smoke Alarm and a Heat Alarm in a single unit,
marks a serious step forward in home fire safety. Previously, Multi-Sensor Alarms
were only available to use on big panel-based systems like you'd expect to find
in hotels or commercial offices. Now, they're available for use in home environments
So, what is a Multi-Sensor, what can it do and what does that mean for the landlord?
The Multi-Sensor, as we've said, incorporates two alarm types into a single unit;
it features both an Optical Smoke Alarm and a Heat Alarm. It's important to understand
that not all fires are the same. Some, for example start off slow and smouldering
and produce more smoke and relatively little flame at first; this would be picked
up by a Smoke Alarm but not so easily by a Heat Alarm. On the other hand, fast
flaming fires with a corresponding fast rise in temperature would very probably
set off a Heat Alarm before a Smoke Alarm. By combining the two, a Multi-Sensor
offers the best – and crucially the fastest – possible warning if there is a fire.
The benefits of this are obvious.In a fire, every second counts and it's vital
to give people the earliest possible warning and the greatest time in which to
As a landlord, under BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004, you're required to conduct a Risk Assessment
of both your property and your tenants and to provide protection accordingly.
You may not be an expert on fire types or potential dangers, but you are nevertheless
legally responsible. Looking around your property, can you be sure where a fire
will break out? Can you know if it will be a slow smouldering type or a fast
flaming fire? So which alarm type should you install to meet your Risk Assessment:
Smoke or Heat? The new Multi-Sensor is designed to meet this problem head on.
Fit one and you've covered all eventualities, protecting your tenant and yourself.
The Multi-Sensor is also relevant when it comes to Risk Assessing your tenants.Some
need protection over and above the minimum. A thorough reading of the government's
Fire Statistics will reveal that the elderly, the infirm and families with young children will
all need extra time in which to escape. Fitting a Multi-Sensor can help give them
that time by providing the earliest possible warning. By giving the best protection,
you are less likely to have to make changes to your alarms later on when tenants
change, as everyone benefits from the best protection.
A little known benefit of the Multi-Sensor is that it can also reduce the number
of false alarms your tenants may experience. Persistent false alarms can be an
expensive problem for landlords: you may get called out by your tenants; you may
need to employ an electrical contractor to discover what's going on; you may find
that you need to buy replacement alarms; you may even find that your tenant has
decided to silence the alarm himself or herself – permanently. It's not uncommon
for persistent nuisance alarms to provoke the tenant into damaging or disabling
the offending alarm, leaving them totally unprotected. Were this to be the case,
you may still be responsible.
False alarms can sometimes be the tenants' fault, perhaps because they never
clean their units. Sometimes they're caused by environmental factors in the property.
Whatever the reason, because it detects two different elements of fire, the Multi-Sensor
is less prone to many of the most common causes of false alarms – such as contamination
– and is therefore ideal for use in more 'difficult' applications.It can be sited
in an area where problems are anticipated or used as a substitute for an ordinary
alarm which is giving problems due to its position.
Aico – the UK's largest supplier of domestic mains powered alarms – is the first
company to launch a Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm in to the UK residential market. The
Ei2110, as it is known, provides all of the benefits outlined above and then some.
The Ei2110 Multi-Sensor comes with a totally unique 'Dust Compensation' feature,
for example, that automatically adjusts for any contamination within the sensor.
This significantly reduces the risk of false alarms while retaining the correct
level of sensitivity to a real fire position.
The Ei2110 Multi-Sensor offers some other significant benefits to landlords.
Wireless interconnect versions are available, which means that alarms can be connected
together by radio frequency signals instead of hard-wire cabling, with all the
cost and damage to property that can entail. Furthermore, the built in Remote
Control functionality allows tenants to test and hush the unit from an optional,
conveniently placed, wall switch. This encourages tenant compliance, reduces
the nuisance caused by any false alarms and helps prevent any potential accident
caused by tenants trying to stand on chairs and reach up to the ceiling!
As you'd expect, the new Multi-Sensor is more expensive than a standard Smoke
or Heat Alarm – but it has a lot to recommend it to the landlord. With more and
more emphasis being put on Risk Assessment by BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004, anything that
can cover significantly more risks in a single unit has got to be welcome news.
By providing the earliest possible warning, it provides better protection for
both tenant and property. Statistics show that the earlier a fire is discovered,
the less property damage there tends to be, which is only common sense.
Perhaps the less obvious benefit is the reduction in the false alarms it can
offer, which can be an expensive problem for landlords if problems start to occur.
In difficult applications (or with difficult tenants), choosing a Multi-Sensor
is likely to more than pay for itself quite quickly.
It is too early to know how BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 will respond to the introduction
of the multi-sensor but a future draft could well see it becoming an integral
part of any strategy to enhance tenant safety. Until then, it's really rather
a useful way for landlords to deal with the twin headaches of Risk Assessment
and false alarms.
Reviewed: 09/02/2017 (doc:125 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.