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How To 'Learn In' Smoke Alarms To Create An Enhanced Fire Safety Network

Posted | 12-Dec-2017 09:18:00

What is the 'Learn in' process to interlink alarms ?

The process of 'learning in' is a simple and intelligent way of wirelessly interlinking up to 50 different Wi-Safe 2 fire safety devices in a property. Interlinking alarms is highly beneficial to residents as, when one alarm detects a problem, all the smoke/heat/ carbon monoxide (CO) alarms within the wireless network will sound. Not only with this alert occupants (regardless of where they are in the home) but for Wi-Safe 2 products, this will also exemplify the type of problem.

The sound pattern of all the interlinked alarms is dependent on the originating alarm, meaning that each unit will have a different sound for either a smoke/heat or CO incident. This means the occupant will quickly know if CO or fire has been detected, allowing them to quickly respond accordingly.

Interlinking Standards

Building Regulations in England require all dwellings to be fitted with a fire safety network or system in accordance with BS5839-6: Grade D-category LD3 standards. This recommends interlinking alarms in:

1) All new premises.

2) All Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), other than houses with long-term lodgers and houses shared by six people or less, who are generally living in a manner similar to that of a family (e.g. houses rented by students).

3) All rented maisonettes and rented two (or more) storey houses.

4) All houses of three (or more) storeys.

5) All sheltered housing.

However it then says - “It is preferable that, in all premises (including premises other than those described above), all smoke alarms and heat alarms (if provided) are also interlinked; this advice ought to be incorporated in instructions to householders (see Clause 24)”.

Why wireless interlinking?

Whilst standalone alarms are limited in the surrounding area they can detect and the distance their sound can travel, interlinked alarms provide enhanced safety as they are continuously sending and receiving wireless signals, to constantly monitor and communicate with the other alarms in the network. Furthermore, by using wireless alarms that interlink via radio-frequency 'learning in' as opposed to hard-wired interlink (whereby alarms are physically connected with cabling) you can really reduce installation time, and it’s a much less destructive process than channeling wires from alarm to alarm or as unsightly as plastic trunking.

Note: SONA by FireAngel has mixed system capability, allowing for the interlinking of FireAngel battery, mains and Wi-Safe 2 alarms within one network.

Just one Wi-Safe 2 mains alarm is required to adapt an established FireAngel hardwire interconnected system to communicate to other Wi-Safe 2 wireless FireAngel products. It also allows you to connect separate hardwired interconnected networks (such as upstairs and downstairs) into one single network by adding just one Wi-Safe 2 alarm to each section.

Video: How to 'Learn In' smoke alarms

For a quick overview of how to 'learn in' and even ‘unlearn’ alarms please see the video below.

NB: The ‘learning in’ process is the same for both mains and battery powered FireAngel (and SONA by FireAngel) products.

 

Diagrams: How to ‘Learn In’ smoke alarms

Whilst this is the general 'learn in' process for interlinking 2 FireAngel alarms, please make sure you consult your alarm user manual in addition to these diagrams.

 

Instructions for learning in smoke alarms

  1. Install alarm 1 as described in the product manual
  2. Install the base plate for Alarm 2 in recommended location (don’t attach the alarm yet!)
  3. Using a ballpoint pen (or a small screwdriver/opened paper clip) briefly push and release the 'learn button' on the back of Alarm 2 - this is a small circular hole
  4. The red LED next to the learn button will flash briefly then light up for about 5 seconds, meaning that Alarm 2 is now ready to receive the 'learn in' signal
  5. DURING these 5 seconds you need to briefly press the TEST button on Alarm 1- this will wirelessly interlink the 2 alarms
  6. Alarm 1 will now give an audible sound: 2 cycles of 3 loud beeps
  7. On the wireless module of Alarm 2, the red LED will now flash to indicate that it has been 'learned-in' successfully
  8. You can now fit Alarm 2 onto the base plate

It is important to note:

  • If the test button is not pressed within the 5 second window, the ‘learn in’ process will fail. Please repeat the process.
  • Any additional alarms in the network can be 'learned in' in the same way, with any alarm already in the network used as ‘Alarm 1’
  • Once ‘learned in’ with one alarm, the additional alarm becomes part of the network. It does not need to be ‘learned in’ multiple times with all the other alarms in the network.
  • FireAngel Wi-Safe 2 products can only wirelessly interlink with other Wi-Safe 2 products

 

How to ‘unlearn’ Wi-Safe 2 products

For a quick video on how to ‘unlearn’ fire safety products from the network, please see Craig Lainnie’s overview here:

 

Benefits to vulnerable tenants

Interlinking alarms provide an enhanced level of safety for all residents, but can be particularly beneficial to vulnerable tenants, such as children, the elderly, and those living with a disability or a illness such as dementia. This is as specialised products can be interlinked into the system:

 

Low frequency sounder

More likely to wake high-risk individuals (such as children), those with mild to moderate hearing loss, or those under the influence of alcohol.

 

Strobes and Vibrating Pad

For those who have severe hearing loss or are deaf. The strobes will provide a visual warning of fire/CO during waking hours, whereas vibrating pads (placed under a pillow) will provide a physical vibrating disturbance during the night.

Here is a quick installation video of how to ‘learn in’ these products to the Wi-Safe 2 network:

Please see our blog post fire safety measures for adults at risk for more information on fire safety products for vulnerable tenants.

 

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Topics: Information For Installers & Specifiers

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