By February 3, 2015 Read More →

Smart thinking with Kidde

With growing demand for carbon monoxide alarms alongside smoke and heat alarms in housing, Kidde’s unique Smart Interconnect facility offers better audibility and whole home protection, increasing the appeal of its hard-wired ranges. And it’s not just products where Kidde is adding value, with new customer service initiatives as well.

BS 5839 Part 6: 2013, the current Code of Practice for fire alarm systems in domestic premises, is recognised as the authoritative guidance for all housing. Typically, for new and most existing houses up to 3-storey and individual flats, the Code recommends smoke alarms in all escape routes and any areas where fires might start, such as living rooms, plus heat alarms in all kitchens. But it fails to address the problem of occupants being able to hear triggered alarms, particularly to wake them at night – an issue that Kidde has been pressing to have resolved.

Reduced audibility

The drive for better acoustic privacy within housing is leading to increased sound reduction from partitions and, particularly, internal doors and doorsets that can substantially reduce audibility of landing-located alarms at the bed-head where it is needed. This is also reflected in Building Regulations Part B. Smoke alarms in circulation spaces must be within 3m of all bedroom doors and generate 85dB(A) at the doorway.

Part 1 of BS 5839 recommends a sound level of 75dB at the bed-head. But the Code itself recognises that doors attenuate sound by at least 20dB, so this cannot be achieved without another smoke alarm – or sounder – inside the bedroom. Nonetheless, it dismisses this as a recommendation, presumably on cost grounds, justified by a lack of evidence that lives are being lost. However, the new edition of the Code does recommend an interconnected alarm or sounder in the main bedroom of sheltered housing units.

Carbon monoxide

Similar issues are found with carbon monoxide alarms which, unlike smoke or heat alarms, do not necessarily have to be interconnected – in itself increasing audibility issues. The latest guidance on CO alarms in domestic and other residential premises is provided by BS EN 50292:2013. Ideally, a CO alarm should be installed in every room containing a fuel burning appliance and in other areas to give warning, such as well-used remote rooms and all bedrooms. If this is not viable, CO alarms should be considered in any room containing a flueless or open-flued appliance and where the occupants spend most time. Alarms should also be installed in rooms through which an extended and/or concealed flue passes.

Although not requiring interconnected alarms, BS EN 50292 does highlight the essential, dual requirements for carbon monoxide to reach the alarm to trigger it and for the alarm sounder to alert or wake occupants. To resolve this issue, Kidde’s hard-wired CO alarms can be interconnected with each other. But, importantly, they can also be interlinked with both the company’s Slick® and Firex® ranges of hard-wired smoke and heat alarms, using the unique ‘Smart Interconnect’ feature.

Smart Interconnect creates a comprehensive system for whole home protection. With this feature, when a smoke or heat alarm is triggered, all the interconnected alarms – including CO alarms – activate to alert occupants of fire. When a Kidde hard-wired CO alarm is triggered by carbon monoxide, all the interconnected CO alarms activate – but not smoke or heat alarms.

Making the right choice

co08alt CO Fire Insert

Crucially, the CO alarms have different, distinct alarm sounder patterns for carbon monoxide and fire, as required by BS 5839 Part 6:2013 – supported by different display messages on the digital model. So, without the need for any further operation of the system (such as remote switches), Smart Interconnect automatically alerts occupants of the specific hazard that confronts them. This allows them to respond quickly, making the right choice from the very different alternative actions for either fire or the presence of carbon monoxide.

Using Smart Interconnect, Kidde CO alarms in bedrooms act as sounders for the smoke/heat alarm system as well as warning of carbon monoxide. This solves the problem of limited audibility of landing-located smoke alarms at the bed-head, resulting from sound-reducing doors. Smart Interconnect provides another benefit for Kidde’s two ranges of hard-wired smoke and heat alarms.

Cost-effective Firex


Firex® is a popular range of cost-effective optical and ionisation smoke, and heat alarms. The cable-harness wired alarms are interconnectable, and manufactured and supplied exclusively by Kidde. The current range offers a choice of sealed-in rechargeable lithium cells or loose battery backup.

Kidde’s premium Slick® is the only range of fast-fit rechargeable smoke and heat alarms guaranteed for 10 years. With Slick®, the separate base plate can be installed and its integral terminal block wired at first fix if appropriate. Then, near completion, the alarm simply slides onto the base plate hinge flap and locks into place by default, also making maintenance simpler. And all Slick® alarms have an integral, double-decker, screw-less terminal block on the base plate for fast, push-fit connection, as well as extra space for cables in the base plate.

First class service

Kidde is a member of the United Technologies Corporation (UTC), alongside iconic brands such as Chubb Security, Otis Elevator Company and Sikorsky Helicopters. The company is committed to providing first class service to all its customers and trading partners. Recently, many changes have been implemented to improve the quality and responsiveness of services across the board. This follows consolidation of the company’s safety and protection products under the single Kidde brand (omitting the previous ‘Fyrnetics’ name).

Kidde Displays PR

An annual Customer Satisfaction Survey has led to a number of improvements being introduced, including: automated order processing with rapid and accurate order confirmations; improved information and literature; and enhanced inventory availability to help delivery on time. Kidde’s customer service centre – available on 01753 766 392 – has also been improved, with trained advisors to handle orders, confirm stock availability and provide help and information, with access to technical specialists.

Supporting stockists

With a focus on supporting stockists, Kidde has also developed eye catching point-of-sale material, ranging from floor-standing and counter-top merchandising units to brand banners and counter mats. During 2014, an impressive, comprehensive and up-dateable ring binder – Kidde’s Product Reference Guide for Wholesalers – was launched. Kidde is committed to supporting wholesalers in any way that it can and recently became an Affiliated Member of the Electrical Distributors Association.

During all these improvements there has been expansion of the Kidde Sales Team as well, as Sales Director Freddie Collins explains: “The addition of our second key account manager, Paul Bedelle, in January signals another stage in our development. We also have 14 representatives providing full coverage of the UK and Ireland under the stewardship of National Field Sales Manager Alan Dick, ensuring comprehensive support for all our customers at local, regional and head-office levels.”