By September 24, 2015 Read More →

New alarms legislation will result in sales opportunities for wholesalers

Kevin McCann, of Sprue Safety Products, explores how the new alarms legislation for private rental properties is driving sales for wholesalers this autumn.

Act Now

For some time, smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms have been a legal requirement in social and new-build housing, so it comes as no surprise that legislation is now being passed to make alarms mandatory in privately rented homes too.

This month will see the introduction of new regulations that require private sector landlords to install working smoke alarms on each floor of a property and a CO alarm where solid fuel appliances, such as log burners and coal fires, are present.

Landlords will be responsible for ensuring all alarms are in full working order at the start of every new tenancy, after which it becomes the tenants’ responsibility to regularly test their alarms. All alarms must meet the relevant British Standards and any landlord found to be breaching the regulations could receive a fine of up to £5,000.

The legislation is another welcome step towards protecting more people and property from fire, and the regulations are good news for wholesalers too, with many landlords turning to their maintenance teams and electrical contractors for advice on alarm solutions that are reliable, cost-effective and easy to install.

Best practice

The minimum requirements laid out by government will undoubtedly improve protection for renters. Individuals are four times more likely to die in a house fire if there isn’t a working smoke alarm fitted and accidental CO poisoning typically kills one person per week on average in England and Wales.

However, the ACT NOW! Campaign, led by FireAngel, has been urging landlords to go further and install a more comprehensive package of smoke, CO and heat alarms that will provide optimum protection for tenants.

Landlords have been advised to install CO alarms in any room at risk of potential CO leaks, including those where gas appliances such as boilers, cookers and fires are installed.

Without a CO alarm, tenants living in properties with gas appliances are unprotected from CO; an invisible toxic gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted.

CO deaths have occurred as a result of leaks from neighbouring properties, making it essential that all homes have an alarm fitted, irrespective of the appliances installed.

Similarly, landlords have been encouraged to install heat alarms within kitchens to ensure renters are not solely reliant on smoke alarms to alert them to a fire. Most domestic fires begin in the kitchen and yet it’s often impractical to install smoke alarms here, as they can be accidentally triggered during cooking. Heat alarms are a highly effective alternative, alerting tenants to rapid rises in temperature and providing an early warning of the dangers of fire, whilst avoiding nuisance alarms.

The benefits of battery-operated

Battery-operated smoke, CO and heat alarms represent the ideal solution for landlords, particularly those with larger property portfolios. Quick, easy and cost-effective to install, they allow landlords to swiftly upgrade the fire and CO protection within homes in line with the new legislation.

Alarms with tamperproof 10 year sealed for life batteries are recommended, providing a fit and forget solution that delivers peace of mind for landlords and tenants alike.

Landlords are also being encouraged to look for toast proof devices to help avoid nuisance alarms and smoke and heat alarms with ‘sleep easy’ functionality to help silence low battery warnings, once occupants have been made aware that a replacement battery is required. Alarms with advanced sensing technology are also being recommended for a fast reaction to different fire types and early detection of CO.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that where matters of safety are concerned, brands are extremely powerful. Landlords and tenants are looking for alarms they can trust, which is why brands used by the UK Fire and Rescue Services prove to be such a popular choice.

Spotlight on safety

The new legislation is placing a spotlight on fire and CO safety not only for private landlords but for other audiences too. Publicity campaigns are raising awareness amongst renters, homeowners, electrical contractors and other trade professionals, encouraging people to review their level of protection and take steps to do more.

Awareness of smoke, CO and heat alarms as a ‘whole house’ package of protection is growing, and there are real opportunities for wholesalers to advise on this best practice approach and drive sales as a result.

To learn more about the ACT NOW! Campaign and smoke, CO and heat alarms, visit the following website.