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Building Products April 2017

SECURITY AND FIRE PROTECTION <<< Continued from page 57 disruption or the need to redecorate. Each alarm manufacturer has its own wireless interconnection technology, with some putting the technology in the alarm base, some in the alarm itself and others using a plug in alarm module. The essential thing to look out for here is that the RF technology used is robust and easy to set up; the alarms must be able to recognise each other but not neighbouring systems. A House Coding method is quick and simple (and does not involve any coding on the installers part – just a screwdriver inserted into a slot on the alarm). When interlinking CO and smoke/heat alarms on the same system, a method of identifying the source of the alarm – smoke or CO – is essential. The resident needs to know what action to take – ventilate the property if CO has been detected (but definitely not if it is a fire). Wall mounted alarm controllers are available for this exact purpose, many of which have added functionality such as enabling residents to test and silence alarms on the system from a single safe location. 58 BUILDING PRODUCTS | APRIL 2017 Once all these points have been assessed, it is time to select an alarm, but should this be done on price, brand, alarm features or a combination? As we are dealing with life safety protection it is vital that a good quality CO alarm is chosen that is able to provide reliable protection to occupants. Buy a low cost alarm with poor quality and it might fail to sound at the critical time of a CO leak. A good quality alarm on the other hand has been made with reliable components that are designed to function to a high performance and to last; look for alarms with a full ten year life which go through rigorous testing procedures at all stages of manufacture. Poor quality, cheap alarms can also lack added functionality and accessories such as the ability to wirelessly interconnect alarms, and data extraction technology - one of the key new features to hit the market. This facility provides the ability to quickly and easily retrieve useful and meaningful data from the alarm, such as battery life, alarm sensor status, number of times tested, if it has ever been removed and any alarm activation with details of when it occurred. In addition it can even provide information on detection levels of CO during any activations and background CO. This is important as long periods of exposure to low levels of CO, especially for vulnerable people, can cause long term health issues and can also indicate a developing maintenance issue. Ensure the data is quick and simple to extract and is formatted in such a way that it is easy to understand. According to data obtained under a Freedom of Information request by Project SHOUT, a campaign group designed to raise awareness of the dangers of CO, there has been a 10% rise in recorded incidents of suspected CO poisoning. Cases of CO poisoning in children are up by 20% and cases among the over 60s has increased by 17%. Fitting a CO alarm is imperative where a property has fossil fuel burning appliances if you are to ensure the safety of the residents, young and old. Martyn Walley is National Technical Manager at Aico


Building Products April 2017
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