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FIRE SAFETY & DISASTER RECOVERY


MAKING A NOISE ABOUT A SILENT KILLER


With new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations having taken effect from 1st October 2015, John Stones, Managing Director of Gas Safe Europe explains how FMs and residential landlords could be falling short when it comes to protection from the `silent killer’ and introduces Detectagas® `spray test’ product that can save lives.


, the simple


Carbon monoxide is invisible and deadly. Every year across the UK around 50 people die from accidental CO poisoning. Many of these tragedies are avoidable, firstly by making sure all appliances are properly installed and maintained and then crucially by fitting a working audible alarm that will immediately detect and alert in the event of a problem.


Changes to the law now make it mandatory for all private sector landlords - including those managing large residential facilities, to install working and regularly tested smoke and CO alarms in all rented properties. The move is expected to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.


Smoke alarms have to be fitted on each storey of the property, along with a CO alarm in all rooms considered to be most at risk from high CO levels where a solid fuel appliance is installed. Landlords are required to check and provide evidence to local government officials that alarms are in working order at the start of all new tenancies and further checks can be done during regular property inspections. Those not abiding by the regulations face fines of up to £5,000.


The British Property Federation says the crackdown is necessary to force the small number of landlords,


32 | TOMORROW’S FM


who did not install alarms in their properties, to bring them up to standard. It added that although most landlords do everything necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of their tenants, making the installation of working CO and smoke alarms compulsory will give tenants peace of mind and provide clarity to landlords.


While there is still a way to go, campaigns and actions over many years to bolster the use of smoke alarms have thankfully seen usage in homes rise from just 8% in 1988 to over 90% today. In spite of high profile CO deaths hitting the headlines however, the reality is that not only have there been far too few working CO alarms in operation in premises across the UK, but too many are just not fit for purpose. Indeed it has been reported that up to 16% don’t work straight out of the box when they are first purchased and two fundamental operational issues threaten their ongoing efficacy.


Firstly, the sensor inside the alarms has a limited and indeterminable life. Under laboratory conditions they may last a few years but many of the alarms already installed in the UK could be over 19 years old – the majority carrying just a seven year guarantee. Independent


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