CO Advice, Fire Safety

Make Sure Your Fire and CO alarms Are Meeting British Standards

Smoke and heat alarm ownership has risen from just 8% of the UK population in 1988, to approximately 92% in 2014/15 – a key influence in the decreasing number of fire incidents attended by the fire and rescue service (FRS).  However, it is important to note that only working alarms can save lives. It is therefore fundamental that alarms are installed correctly, and regularly checked.

For maximum safety Homeowners should always ensure smoke, heat and CO alarms are purchased from reputable retail branches and products have been third party tested and certified as per latest standards. Fire and CO alarms should be fitted across multiple rooms within a property and regularly testing alarms to ensure they are working.

With regards to private rental properties, it is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their tenants are safe – whether this be in terms of fire safety, or gas and electrical safety. This involves working in accordance with changes to landlord letting legislation (e.g. Law and Housing Acts) and updates to standards. These work to ensure the highest level of safety within rental accommodation; hence why landlords should make it their priority to ensure they are compliant.

Within the property and fire safety sector, the European (EU)/ British Standards (BS) represent a fundamental level of ‘know-how’ for landlord reference. They both simplify and clarify the contractual conditions, providing essential guidelines for industry officials to follow. With this in mind, here are some of the key standards to consider for fire safety.

Product standards & Certification

It is paramount that fire safety products are third party accredited and tested/certified to the latest European and British Standards. This ultimately ensures they are safe and reliable to use. Symbols that demonstrate this include the BSI kitemark symbol and the CE Mark, which shows that products meets European safety standards.

When implementing fire safety products and systems, the fire Building Regulations and BS5839-6 are key documents to refer to. They provide guidance specific to the type of property, and the level of protection required.

Third-party Product Testing

When testing the technicalities of a smoke alarm product, it is fundamental to use third party accredited test houses such as BSI, LPCB, Intertek.

Where smoke or heat alarms are required to be installed under the Building Regulations, they should be mains-powered and conform to the following:

In order to detect carbon monoxide, and so prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, the fire Building Regulations recommend the use of CO alarms. These should conform to the following:

  • EN50291-1:2010 for CO alarms (EN50291-2:2010 for CO in recreational vehicles and boats)

Furthermore, for specification for alarms for deaf or those with hearing impairments: