Fire safety is a must, especially in the case of rented places; it is imperative for landlords and tenants alike to know what alarms landlords need to install. The regulations have been amended and updated in 2022 and can be found via, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants. Fire kills, and a fire alarm can save your life. The UK government's campaign, Fire Kills, shows that a smoke alarm that works can save your life and that it is important to test your smoke alarms at least once a month to make sure they work properly. Especially when it comes to rented properties, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (if applicable) need to be fitted. And from 1 October 2022, the regulations have been extended to cover social housing also. In this article, we would like to see what alarms the landlords need to install or provide, how interconnecting the alarms can help, and what are the most common questions related to fire safety in rented properties.Fire Safety: What Alarms are Required in Rented Properties?The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 1 October 2022. From this date, all the relevant landlords must ensure three main things:1. At least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the rented property where the room is used as living accommodation. Since 2015 this has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector. The rules do not specify what type of alarm (such as a main-powered or battery-powered alarm) should be installed. It only says that each storey of the rented property needs to have one. It is recommended, however, that landlords choose the type of smoke alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants. All smoke alarms need to be compliant with British Standards BS 5839-6. If a battery-powered alarm is used, they need to come with sealed-for-life batteries rather than alarms coming with replaceable batteries. Both Aico and BG Electrical offer a wide range of smoke alarms for rented dwellings - see them here.2. A Carbon Monoxide alarm needs to be installed in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers). As in the case of the smoke alarms, the regulations don't stipulate what kind of CO alarms (such as mains-powered or battery-powered) should be installed. The landlords are required to make an informed decision and choose the type of carbon monoxide alarms they need to install based on the needs of their building and their tenants. This kind of alarm needs to be compliant with British Standards BS 50291. It is recommended that the battery-powered Carbon Monoxide alarms would be the "sealed for life" kind rather than the alarms with replaceable batteries. Some of the best Carbon Monoxide alarms can be found on this list here.3. All smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms need to be repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty. It is one thing to have a smoke alarm or a CO alarm installed, but it is something else to make sure they work. Local authorities can impose a fine of up to £5,000 when a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice. Where do the Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms need to be Located in Rented Properties?The current regulations don't stipulate where the smoke alarms, heat alarms, and Carbon Monoxide Alarms should be located. They only say that at least one smoke alarm should be installed on every storey which is used as living accommodation. Also, a CO alarm needs to be installed in every room used as a living accommodation and contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers). Landlords need to follow the individual manufacturer's instructions when installing the alarms. In the case of the smoke alarms, they should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space such as a hall or a landing. A Carbon Monoxide alarm generally should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or on the shelf, approx. 1-3 metres away from a potential source of Carbon Monoxide. When you fit a heat alarm in the kitchen, you will have a warning when there's an increase in temperature caused by fire, but it will not be set off by cooking fumes; this reduces the risk of false alarms. However, it is not recommended to install a smoke alarm in the kitchen, as it will lead to frequent false alarms when cooking. Fire Safety in Rented Properties: Interconnected Alarms are SaferLong gone are the days in which you install a smoke alarm here, another CO alarm there, and yet another heat alarm over there. Nowadays most alarms are interconnected, thus offering you a safer way to be protected against fire. When the smoke alarms and the CO alarms are interconnected, what happens is that each alarm tells you when there's smoke or Carbon Monoxide in any room that contains that alarm. We recommend using interlinked alarms in rented properties, such as the Aico RadioLINK alarms or the BG Electrical interconnected alarms. When the smoke alarms, heat alarms, and Carbon Monoxide alarms are interlinked and one goes off, they all go off, so you will always hear it no matter where you are in the house. This makes interconnected smoke alarms safer than standalone smoke alarms. We have written before on the RadioLINK technology from Aico and the AudioLINK newest updates.Frequently Asked Questions on Fire Alarms in Rented PropertiesBoth on the side of the landlord and on the tenants' side there are many questions regarding fire safety, the landlord's responsibility and the tenants' duties regarding the fire alarms. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on fire alarms in rented properties.Do we need a Carbon Monoxide Alarm when you have a decorative fireplace?Some homes and rented properties have a decorative fireplace that is not used and doesn't constitute a fixed combustion appliance. The question is, does a CO alarm need to be installed in that room? In such cases, the landlord needs to put in the tenancy agreement that the fireplace must not be used and therefore a CO alarm is not required. Is it OK to disable a fire alarm because it keeps going off?One of the most common practices, unfortunately, is for tenants to simply disable or take off the fire alarm. They may say it keeps going off, or they may just uninstall it for a different reason. Either way, this is not allowed; all smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms need to be in working condition, especially in rented dwellings. If the alarms keep going off, the battery might need to be changed, or there may be smoke or CO in the surrounding areas, which needs to be dealt with. Should we test the alarms? How often?The landlord or a representative of the landlord is required to test the smoke and CO alarms periodically to make sure they work. On the first day of the tenancy, the alarms need to be tested, and then periodically (once a month is best) they need to be tested to make sure they are in good working order. It is important to check the expiry date printed on the detector and press the TEST button to make sure the audible alarm sounds. The tests need to be recorded and kept in a file safely. Once someone moves into a rented property it is usually the tenant's responsibility to test the smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms. They can test them weekly or at least monthly, and it's good to practice doing this according to a schedule. During interim inspections it is essential to test smoke and CO alarms, keeping records to show when the tests were done. We have written more on testing the alarms here.What to do when an alarm is faulty?Sometimes a smoke alarm or a Carbon Monoxide alarm may be faulty; this may be reported either by the tenant or by the landlord when they do the regular tests. In such cases, from 1 October 2022, the landlord is responsible to repair or replace the defective alarm as soon as reasonably practicable. Does replacing the battery count as repair, and who is responsible for it?Landlords are responsible for repairing or replacing any faulty alarms. If the alarms are not working properly, the landlord needs to fix them either by replacing the battery or by replacing the alarm. If changing the battery doesn't fix the problem, it is the landlord's duty to replace the alarm.Who enforces the rules and where to report illegalities?The local housing authorities in England are responsible to enforce these regulations. And if landlords fail to comply with such requirements, the local authority can serve them a remedial notice by which they require the landlord to fit and/or test the alarms within 28 days. If this does not happen, the local authority can issue the landlord with a civil penalty notice of up to £5,000, and then the local authority must carry out the work specified in the remedial notice to ensure the tenants are safe. The landlords, however, can dispute the civil penalty notice by writing to the council and requesting a review within 28 days of the notice being served. Furthermore, if a landlord remains unhappy with the outcome, he can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Are specialist alarms required for people with disabilities?The landlord is responsible to install and provide fire safety for their tenants. If the tenants are deaf or hard of hearing, specialist smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms may be required. These alert by vibration or flashing lights, as opposed to by sound alerts. Landlords should and must consider their duty under the Equality act 2010. Aico has a wide range of disabled fire alarms which can also be interconnected.Can a heat detector replace a smoke alarm?A heat detector cannot replace a smoke alarm. Where a smoke alarm is required, you cannot install a heat detector. What kind of housing do these regulations apply to?The regulations outlined in this article apply to all homes that are rented by private landlords or registered providers of social housing, unless excluded. The excluded tenancies are detailed in the current regulations and includeshared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s familylong leasesstudent halls of residencehotels and refugescare homeshospitals and hospiceslow-cost ownership homesother accommodation relating to health care provisionDo these regulations apply to live-in private-sector landlords?If the tenant shares the accommodation with the private landlord or his family, these regulations do not apply. They are not aimed at owner-occupied properties. Do these regulations apply to House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?Yes, they applied to unlicensed HMOs, and no, licensed HMOs are exempt from parts 1 to 5 of the regulations but only because the regulations also amend the HMO licensing obligations in the Housing Act 2004 so as to impose similar requirements.Do these regs apply to owner-occupiers or shared-ownership homes?No, these regulations do not apply to either owner occupiers or occupiers living in a shared-ownership home. Where can we find the current Fire Safety Rules for Rented Properties?There are many resources online concerning fire safety in rented properties, from the current regulations in the UK to websites that interpret and explain these regulations. Here are some places where you can find out more concerning the current fire safety rules for rented properties. Legislation on the smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms (England) 2015 - see here. Amendment to the smoke and CO alarm regulations for rented properties in 2022 via this link.A helpful guide to the regulations: Guidance for Landlords and Tenants from the Government. View it here.Fire Kills: further advice on fire safety; see the government campaign, via this link.Building safety act 2022. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - Understanding the regulations, via, London Property Licensing.Top Ten Landlord Requirements When Letting Out Your Property in 2022, via, National Safety Inspections.Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements - via National Residential Landlords Association. What do you need to know? On this page, you'll find an overview of the fire safety responsibilities of private rented sector landlords. More at, London Fire Brigade.
The matter of siting the alarms at home is very important, and Aico is kind enough to provide a great guide on where to site your Aico smoke, heat, and CO alarms. It is crucial to site the alarm correctly in a property to ensure they provide life-saving detection and respond as quickly as possible in the event of a fire or a CO leak. When there is a Carbon Monoxide leak or a fire in a property, properly sited smoke, heat, and CO alarms prove to be life-saving. Of course, every property is different, but there are some basic rules to follow when considering where to locate your alarm. Best place to Position the Aico Smoke and Heat AlarmsWhere should we site the smoke alarm or the heat alarm? This kind of alarm needs to be positioned on the ceiling, as centrally as possible within the room or area where they are installed. The alarms should be located 300mm from walls, light fittings, or any other obstructions. This is so that you make sure they are outside of any "dead air" spaces that occur in corners and spaces where the airflow may be blocked. Furthermore, there should be an alarm within 3m of every bedroom door to ensure it is heard - audibility is very important. If there are high-risk rooms, it is recommended to position alarms between such rooms and bedrooms. However, it is not recommended to locate smoke and heat alarms in the bathroom or shower or too close to a bathroom or shower door, since the steam and moisture can affect them. Choose the desired Aico Heat Alarm or Aico Smoke Detector on our website. Siting Smoke and Heat Alarms - in BriefAlarms should be on the ceiling, central location300mm from walls, light fittings, or obstructionsThere should be an alarm within 3m of every bedroom doorPosition the alarm between high-risk rooms and bedroomsDo not locate alarms within bathrooms or too close to a bathroom door.Siting Smoke and Heat Alarms near Staircases, Sloped Ceilings, and BeamsIf there are stairways, it is best to site the alarms on the flat ceilings at the top and bottom of the stairs. We do not recommend siting fire, smoke, or heat alarms on the sloped ceiling directly above the stairs. If there are peaked and sloped ceilings, it is recommended that the smoke alarms are positioned at max. 600mm vertically down from the apex, while the heat alarms at max. 150mm vertically down from the apex on the slope. If there are beams present, where the depth of the beam is less than 10% of the room height, it's best to site the alarm at twice the depth of the beam or 500mm, whichever is less. If the depth of the mean is more than 10% of the room height, you should treat the beam as a wall, and you can fit alarms on both sides of the beam. If the beam is less than 600mm deep, you can locate an alarm on the underside of the beam. Positioning Fire Alarms near Staircases, Sloped Ceilings, and Beams - In briefIn stairways: locate the alarm on the flat ceiling at the top and bottom of the stairsPeaked and Sloped Ceilings: Smoke alarms sited at max. 600mm vertically down from apex, heat alarms at max. 150mm vertically down from the apex on the slopeBeams with depth <10% of the room height: alarm sited at twice the depth of the beam or 500mmBeams with depth >10% of the room height: fit alarms on both sides of the beam, or if the beam is less than 600mm deep, on the underside of the beam.Best place to Position the Aico Carbon Monoxide AlarmsThere are a few considerations to pay attention to before siting Carbon Monoxide alarms (CO alarms), depending upon if the alarm is installed in the room with the fuel-burning appliance or not. There are different siting requirements depending on where the CO alarm is installed - whether the room has the fuel-burning appliance or not. If the room has a fuel-burning appliance, the CO alarm should be installed on the ceiling, and it should be fitted between 1-3m from all potential sources of Carbon Monoxide. Also, the CO alarm needs to be positioned 30mm from walls, light fittings or any other obstructions. In this way, you ensure that the CO alarms are outside of any "dead air" spaces that occur in corners and spaces where the airflow may be blocked. If the fuel-burning appliance is in a confined space (such as the boiler room), the CO alarm should be located on the ceiling just outside the room. If you want to install a CO alarm in a room that does not have a fuel-burning appliance, it should be sited at breathing height. And if you want to install the alarm within a bedroom, this could be at the height of the bed. Aico Carbon Monoxide alarms can be purchased on our website, and for any enquiries do not hesitate to contact us.Siting Carbon Monoxide Alarms - in BriefIn a room WITH the fuel-burning appliance: The CO alarm should be on the ceiling, 1-3m from all potential sources of COThe CO Alarm needs to be 300mm from walls, light fittings, or obstructionsIf the room is small/confined, the CO alarm should be on the ceiling outside the roomIn a room WITHOUT a fuel-burning appliance:The CO Alarm needs to be positioned at breathing heightIn a bedroom, the CO alarm needs to be at the height of the bed.You can find the full guide to installing Aico Alarms and where to Site your Aico alarms via their website. To purchase fire detectors, smoke detectors, Carbon Monoxide alarms, and heat alarms, head over to the Domestic fire alarms section on our website.
Sometimes the simplest of things can be very complicated if you don't know how to begin. It is the same with testing the fire alarms in the house: if you don't know how to do it, it is very complicated, but if you learn the simple way of testing the fire alarms, it is so simple. Aico is keeping you and your family safe from Fire and Carbon Monoxide since 1990. They make both fire alarms, smoke alarms, heat alarms, and Carbon Monoxide alarms - home life safety products - that your household can rely on. With their cutting-edge technology incorporated into their alarms, Aico leads the way in domestic fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) protection; they are here to protect your loved ones and make sure your home is equipped with the highest quality smoke alarms. If you own an Aico fire alarm - a heat detector, a smoke detector, or a CO detector - you need to know how to test it from time to time. How do I test my Fire Alarm? How do we test our fire alarm? How can we make sure the fire alarm we have is working properly? These are valid questions and there's a very simple way to answer them: press that button to test your alarm! Aico put out a small video detailing the main steps to take in order to make sure that you test your fire alarm properly. There's always confusion about how to test the fire alarms, but we always recommend a button test. Whether you have a smoke, heat, multi-sensor, or CO detector, we recommend a button test to make sure the alarm is working properly. For a guide on what kind of fire alarms you need for your property, see this guide via London Fire.Step 1. Check the green light of the alarm is onFirst of all, you need to look at the fire alarm and make sure the green light is on. The light closer to the edge of the fire alarm should be green, showing that the alarm is ON and ready. If the green light of the alarm is on, you can proceed to the second step.Step 2. Press and hold the TEST buttonSecond, if the green light of the alarm is green, you simply need to press the TEST button. Depending on the model of the alarm - fire alarm, heat detector, smoke detector, CO detector, or multi-sensor fire alarm - the button is round and right in the middle of the fire alarm. Once you press the TEST button, there will be a loud beep from the alarm you're testing and also from the interconnected alarms. All the interconnected alarms will sound loud. The Aico fire alarms - especially the Aico 3000 range - are interconnected throughout the home, and once one fire alarm is tested, all the others will sound loud.Step 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with each alarm on the propertyAfter testing the first fire alarm, you can move on to the second alarm, then the third, then the fourth, etc until you have tested each alarm on the property. Testing a fire alarm is very simple; it is as simple as pressing a button because all you do is press that TEST button. In other words, simply put, testing a fire alarm from Aico is as simple as pushing that button. Push that TEST button to test your alarm and make sure you are safe! Video on how to Test your Aico AlarmsHere are a couple of videos detailing how to test your Aico Alarms - whether it is a smoke alarm, a heat alarm, a multi-sensor alarm, or a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.
When it comes to fire safety and electrical fires, we can become very complacent due to a feeling of familiarity. However, overlooking important security issues such as electrical safety can be fatal. Every year, around 70 people are killed and 350,000 injured due to home electrical accidents. Electricity causes almost half of all accidental house fires in the UK; they threaten both your property and your possessions, and possibly your life. The reasons behind these frightening statistics become obvious if you consider the typical, modern lifestyle. We use an array of appliances and gadgets in everyday aspects of our lives including cooking, washing and gardening, and many of these can pose an electrical fire risk. Thankfully, we here at Sparks can provide you with advice that will enable you to avoid the likelihood of an electrical fire in your home. Our tips for keeping on top of electrical safety in your home Ensure you have at least one Residual Current Device (RCD) An RCD is a potentially life-saving device, for it is designed to prevent you from receiving a fatal shock at home (if you were to touch a bare, live wire, for example). It's primary purpose is to turn the electricity off automatically if it detects a fault. This means that an RCD will provide some degree of protection against electrical fires. RCDs provide a higher level of protection than ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers. Under UK safety standards almost all sockets in new electrical installations (and new sockets) must be protected by an RCD. There are three main kinds of RCD: fixed, socket-outlet and portable. Fixed RCDs are the most important kind of RCD to have installed in your home. They are placed in the consumer unit (fusebox) and provide protection to individual or groups of circuits. The socket-outlet type has an inbuilt RCD, which offers protection to the person in contact with equipment plugged into the socket, as well as from the lead. Portable RCDs will plug into any standard socket-outlet, and you can then plug your appliance into the RCD. Portable RCD types are commonly used for outdoor appliances, such as mowing the lawn or trimming hedges. Have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) periodically An EICR is a periodic inspection report on a property's safety in relation to its electrical wiring . This report has also been called the ‘Landlord Safety Test’ or the ‘Homebuyers Test’. The tests are carried out by qualified electricians. We would highly recommend that you have an EICR inspection carried out every 10 years for your home. The primary purpose of an EICR is to guarantee the safety of the resident and to ensure they are not susceptible to electrical shocks and/or fires. You can have one arranged by clicking on this link. Precautions when using portable heaters Place the heater on a level surface, away from anything that may knock it over. Make sure the heater is at least a metre away from combustible materials, and do not use it to dry your clothes on. Do not leave the heater ON and unattended for an extended period of time. Never power a heater from an extension lead. These leads can become overloaded and start electrical fires. Electrical Safety First (ESF) has a free online ‘Product recall checker’ where you can find if your portable heater (or any other item) has been recalled. Other general tips for preventing the occurrence of electrical fires Ensure that you have conducted an EICR in due time, you are RCD protected and use portable heaters safely; these are some of the crucial steps to take in preventing electrical fires. Here are some other general tips: Don’t overload electrical adaptors by plugging too many appliances into one socket, especially those with a high electrical current rating such as kettles, irons and heaters. Visit this link from ESF to ensure your sockets are safe. Check flexible cables for damage, wear and tear, and see that the plug is fastened securely to the cable. Don’t use the appliance unless both it and its cable are in adequate condition. Don’t store combustible materials, such as clothes, papers or cleaning materials close to your service head (cutout fuse), electricity meter or fuse box. Hand-held electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and straighteners get heated during regular use. Make sure that when you have finished using them, you switch them off, unplug them and store them away safely. Check your sockets regularly – if you see burn marks or they feel hot, get a registered electrician to check if they need repairing or replacing. Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your property – if a fire does start, this will give you a chance to get out safely. If you follow these tips, you should have significantly reduced the risk of an accidental electrical fire in your home.
Every Tuesday there's a great reminder hashtag via Twitter, which is #TestitTuesday. From the different local fire departments to the responsible electricians and the Electrical Safety First, everyone reminds you: test your fire alarm, smoke alarm, or Carbon Monoxide alarm! We all follow quite a wide range of people on twitter or on Facebook, but what is warmly recommended is to follow your local police department, your local fire department, and the Electrical Safety First, all of which inform you of emergency and useful information you need to know. A regular testing of your alarm or those of family and friends will provide you with the peace of mind that, should a fire start, you will be warned ahead of time and you can escape. This is the basic idea behind the #TestitTuesday, and every Tuesday we test the alarms and we spread the word! Test-it Tuesday - It's time to Check your Smoke Alarms! It only takes a minute (or less) to test your smoke alarm, fire alarm, or carbon monoxide alarm: you simply have to press the button on the surface of the alarm for peace of mind! Most smoke alarms and CO alarms come with a 10 year battery back-up, and it will take quite a while until these need to be changed; what is needed, though is the periodical testing of the alarm to make sure it works. It is good to test your Carbon Monoxide alarm and Smoke alarm today, for the working alarms can save lives - and the life they could save can be your own! Simply by pushing the button on the smoke alarm could double your chances of survival, and it is recommended to do it every week. Since today is Tuesday - why not make it #TestitTuesday and test your alarm today! If the smoke alarm works, it saves lives; but if it doesn't work, lives may be in danger. How do I Test my Alarms? Advice from Aico A very frequently asked question is, I want to test my alarm, but how do I do it? Aico has a very helpful video explaining what needs to be done when you test your smoke alarm or CO alarm. Simply put, you can press the button in the middle for 10 seconds with your finger, or if you have an alarm controller, you can press the Test button. Similarly, you can test your alarms via the Aico Ei529RC/Ei410 fire alarm control switch by pressing the appropriate button. Tips for Testing the Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Every smoke alarm, fire alarm, and CO alarm has to be tested regularly to make sure they work properly. There has to be a working smoke alarm on every level in the house. Don't put it off: why not setting up a reminder on your phone that, when you know you're home, you test your alarm - and do it #TestitTuesday Be safe when you test the alarm: make sure you use a solid ladder or chair to reach the smoke alarm or CO alarm and test it. A smoke alarm will alert you at the earliest stage of a fire, giving you vital extra time to escape. Make sure you have one fitted on every floor of your home and test it every Tuesday! A carbon monoxide alarm will detect the colorless, odorless, and tasteless CO which may leak, and it will let you know when there's a risk. Test your CO alarm weekly! Clean the CO alarm / smoke alarm by gently wiping them with a cloth or with a soft vacuum brush, as dust can clog the alarms. Better safe than sorry! TestitTuesday for your elderly relatives or friends: why not make sure that they are safe too? If you don't have a smoke alarm, we recommend the RadioLINK enabled Aico smoke alarms which can wirelessly interconnect with similar alarms around the house. Find them here. What is a Carbon Monoxide alarm, what is Carbon Monoxide, and how can we get one? - read here more. Photo credit: ElecSafetyFirst here.