HOME AD­VICE Cause for alarm over smoke de­tec­tor tests?

Vari­ances in the length of time mod­els take to reg­is­ter threat mean it’s vi­tal to do your re­search when buy­ing one

Glossop Advertiser - - Property & Living - TRUST TRUS­TEES PASS­ING STRANGERS AGE NOT AT IS­SUE

moke de­tec­tors are es­sen­tials in ev­ery house­hold. They save lives. How­ever, de­spite the fact that they are cheap to buy and must be fit­ted in new homes, and loft ex­ten­sions, many homes do not have fully func­tion­ing alarms.

In 2010, the Lon­don Fire Bri­gade found six out of 10 fire/smoke deaths were in homes with­out alarms. And Der­byshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice at­tributes 70 deaths a year to alarms which don’t func­tion, of­ten due to flat bat­ter­ies.

There is a wide va­ri­ety of smoke alarms on the market – ev­ery­where from DIY su­per­stores to on­line spe­cial­ists- cost­ing from un­der a ten­ner to more than £100 each.

The Bri­tish Stan­dard Kitemark is a le­gal must. But a new Which? in­ves­ti­ga­tion found wide vari­a­tions in the times de­tec­tors took be­fore sound­ing the alert – even though all were Kitemark ap­proved.

It looked at 15 widely avail­able alarms, test­ing them on four types of fire – smoul­der­ing wood, plas­tic, cot­ton and sol­vent. In tests in­volv­ing wood, it found wide vari­a­tions in re­sponse times. The Nest Pro­tect 2nd Gen­er­a­tion Smoke and Car­bon Monox­ide alarm, us­ing the newer smart op­ti­cal tech­nol­ogy took five min­utes and 13 sec­onds to sound the alert. It costs £100.

But two mod­els from El Elec­tron­ics – the Ei100B and the Ei3500S – took over nine min­utes to raise the alert. These are less ex­pen­sive, us­ing older ion­i­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy. Ev­ery sec­ond is vi­tal in a fire/smoke emer­gency – over four min­utes could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death.

Most alarm­ingly, one sam­ple of the Devolo Home Con­trol Smoke De­tec­tor com­pletely failed – de­spite pass­ing the Bri­tish Stan­dard test. Devolo said: “We are con­cerned by these results. The alarm passed stan­dard safety tests at two cer­ti­fied lab­o­ra­to­ries.”

Which? is now call­ing for tougher tests that only pass mod­els that sound more quickly. It has passed its find­ings to trad­ing stan­dards. BSI, which is­sues the of­fi­cial smoke alarm Kitemark says “what­ever tech­nol­ogy type is used, the alarm gives ad­e­quate warn­ing when there is a real fire”. But it added that it is draft­ing a new smoke alarms stan­dard. of shares and sav­ings and any of the contents taken from the home, with a view to de­ter­min­ing your claim gen­er­ally. A CLAUSE in my will gives my trus­tees carte blanche to deal with my es­tate, in­clud­ing the right to in­vest in un­se­cured, in­ter­est-free loans and to han­dle my af­fairs ‘with­out any of the con­sents re­quired by sec­tion 41 of the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Es­tates Act 1925’. What does that mean? The 1925 Act laid down a nar­row range of in­vest­ment op­tions which are com­monly re­garded as out of date nowa­days and which might make it Ev­ery sec­ond counts when a fire breaks out in your home, so an ef­fec­tive smoke alarm is an es­sen­tial pro­tec­tion dif­fi­cult for your trus­tees to han­dle your fi­nances ef­fi­ciently; for­tu­nately, statute has been al­tered since then and now the in­vest­ments per­mit­ted by law are much wider. The aim of the clause is to give your trus­tees, or ex­ecu­tors, full and un­re­stricted free­dom in ad­min­is­ter­ing your will and trans­fer­ring as­sets. WE HAVE lived on a council es­tate for 40 years and bought our house ten years ago. Since a new neigh­bour moved in, a large num­ber of peo­ple have be­gun us­ing the pas­sage­way we share with next door as a short cut into the next road. When I ques­tioned one of the 1. Fit smoke alarms in po­si­tions where you will be able to hear them through­out your home. 2. En­sure de­tec­tors are within easy reach – that way you will be able to test them and re­place bat­ter­ies. 3. You should test alarms on a weekly ba­sis – re­place bat­ter­ies yearly (un­less they are five or ten year bat­ter­ies). 4. You need at least one alarm for each level within your home. men, he told me he knew the girl next door and she didn’t mind, but I find it fright­en­ing to have large num­bers of strangers pass­ing my back door. Whether any­body can come and go up and down the pas­sage­way will de­pend on whether or not there is a right of way. You will need to check your deeds. If the right of way is just for your­self and your neigh­bours, then un­less the peo­ple us­ing the right of way are guests in­vited by your neigh­bour, then you are en­ti­tled to put a gate or a door on the pas­sage­way, and lock it, so long as your neigh­bour has a key. If they are peo­ple who have been in­vited by your neigh­bour The re­ac­tion times of smoke alarms vary con­sid­er­ably 5. Don’t fit alarms near cook­ing areas or bath­rooms – they could be set off by fumes and steam. 6. If you, or fre­quent vis­i­tors, suf­fer from any form of hear­ing loss, buy alarms which have vi­brat­ing sig­nals or flash­ing lights. 7. Some in­sur­ance poli­cies may be in­val­i­dated if you fail to have smoke de­tec­tors in your home or fail to main­tain them once in­stalled. then the right of way will prob­a­bly mean you have to per­suade your neigh­bour to ask them to use an­other route. MY SIS­TER claims that, be­cause she is the old­est, my mother’s house will go to her. In her will my mother leaves the house and contents to my fa­ther, with ev­ery­thing else to be shared be­tween us. How­ever my fa­ther has died since she made the will, so surely the house will go into mum’s es­tate and the pro­ceeds will be shared? Un­less your mother is a duchess and your sis­ter is due to take the land and the ti­tle that goes with it on her death, the fact that she is older than you is ir­rel­e­vant. Your mother’s will prob­a­bly con­tains a clause an­tic­i­pat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that your fa­ther would die first, and stat­ing what will hap­pen to the prop­erty in that event. Fail­ing that, the house will, as you say, form part of your mother’s es­tate and be di­vided equally among the chil­dren. Call Brom­leys Solic­i­tors LLP on 0161 330 6821 or visit www. brom­leys.co.uk If you have any le­gal ques­tions, write to Prop­erty Law, MEN Me­dia, Mitchell Henry House, Hollinwood Av­enue, Chad­der­ton OL9 8EF, or email mail@lawQs.co.uk

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