Ahead of new alarm legislation, SELECT and SCOTSS issue urgent alert over sub-standard and potentially unsafe heat, smoke and carbon monoxide products

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INFLUENTIAL trade association SELECT has joined the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) to warn that all heat, smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms being fitted under new legislation must comply with the relevant product standards.

The leading bodies’ joint alert about sub-standard and potentially unsafe products comes as the February 2022 deadline for compliance with new Scottish Government guidance for all Scottish homes gets ever nearer.

The warning also echoes guidance from SELECT and SCOTSS about what householders and landlords should do to comply with the new rules – and why they should use a competent person, such as a professional electrician, to carry out any necessary installation work.

SCOTSS Chair, Graeme Paton, said: “This is a major change to what is required in terms of fire and CO detection in dwellings and we must get the message across that all new and existing systems have to be wholly compliant.

“There is a risk of scammers taking advantage of this situation so we would also urge householders to only use genuine SELECT members or local firms that are approved by Trading Standards to do this work.”

SCOTSS is now advising all homeowners to make sure all alarms are labelled and marked with the following:

  • Manufacturer’s name and address
  • Batch code/date of manufacture
  • Model number and type
  • The relevant standard number for the type of alarm installed.

For heat detectors, products should be identified as compliant with ‘BS EN 5446-2’, while  smoke alarms and multi-sensor alarms should be identified as compliant with ‘BS EN 14604’ and CO alarms should be identified as compliant with  ‘BS EN 50291-1’. Multi -sensor alarms may also be identified as compliant with ‘BS EN 54-29’.

Anyone coming across non-compliant products should contact the Scottish Government-funded consumer helpline Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 and information will be passed onto local trading standards where appropriate.

The warning follows the launch by SELECT last month of a new public safety campaign to help raise awareness of the new legislation, including an engaging and informative animation and a dedicated page on its new website which offers FAQs and a range of downloadable resources for the public and electrical contractors.

Bob Cairney, Director of Technical Services at SELECT, said: “The clock is ticking. February will be upon us before we know it and it is of the utmost importance that both householders and those installing the alarms clearly understand what is required for compliance.

“SCOTSS has rightly warned consumers of the danger that unscrupulous people might try to take advantage of those who are unsure about how to comply and about the need to use trusted sources of information.

“For mains-powered alarms or where householders need help to install battery-powered alarms, we would ask that they use a qualified electrician, with SELECT able to put them in touch with their nearest professional.”

The Tolerable Standard, which comes into effect from 1 February, 2022, requires that all homes in Scotland must have satisfactory equipment to detect and give warning of fire and CO.

In practice, this means a smoke alarm on every storey including hallways and landings, a smoke alarm in the most frequented part of the house, e.g. the lounge, a heat alarm in the kitchen, and a CO alarm wherever there is a fuel burning appliance or flue.

In addition, to ensure there is an effective warning system to keep everyone and their property safe, all the heat and smoke alarms must be interlinked and be either mains-powered with battery back-up or battery powered by a tamper-proof long-life battery.

The new joint warning is the latest initiative from SELECT, which has a long track record of promoting safety messages around the industry and safeguarding the welfare of customers as well as the 15,000 people and 3,500 apprentices who work in it.

The association has also been leading a long-running campaign with other leading industry bodies to ensure that those who work in the industry do so in a safe and competent manner. It currently is engaged with the Scottish Government over the regulation of the industry.

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