How Do Smoke Alarms Work

How Do Smoke Alarms Work – All newly built homes – residential and private – will have to be fitted with smoke detectors from next June when the fire code is updated, The Straits Times understands.

The devices, called home smoke alarms, cost between $60 and $80 for the basic version. Installation can cost another $50 or more.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

The cost may be borne by homebuyers, although officials, led by the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF), are working with grassroots leaders to identify elderly and poor families who need financial help to do so.

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Battery operated devices are designed to alert passengers when smoke is detected and operate independently. They are not connected to emergency services or a central fire alarm system.

Currently, fire alarms are mandatory for commercial, industrial or mixed-use buildings above a certain size. The interior of the house is exempt from this.

ST understands that the change has been in the works for more than a year and is not tied to a specific event. But two-thirds of the fires last year – or about 2,800 – were in homes, with landfill or dump fires the most common. There were 4,114 cables last year, the lowest number recorded since 1978.

Benedict Koh Yong Pheng, president of the Association of Fire Safety Directors, which represents fire safety managers here, said authorities have been encouraging the voluntary use of alarms and fire extinguishers in homes for years, but the participation rate is low.

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Making smoke detectors mandatory in new homes will help raise fire safety standards here, said Koh, who is on the technical committee of the code of practice for electrical fire alarm systems published by SPRING Singapore.

He said: “In many house fires, there are cases of injury or death from smoke inhalation, which can happen while the driver is asleep. Local smoke alarms will alert people so they can respond to the fire in the early stages.”

Countries such as Australia require new and renovated buildings to have smoke alarms. The evidence so far is that it can help: In the United States, the 2015 death rate from fires in homes with working alarms was less than half the death rate in homes without them.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

Ideally, smoke alarms should be installed in every room except the kitchen — to avoid false alarms caused by kitchen smoke, Koh said. However, under the new rules, only one device per household may be mandatory due to cost concerns, ST understands.

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Lili Pan, whose company Fire Safety SG sells fire safety equipment, said the cost of installing alarms in several rooms can run into hundreds of dollars. “It can be very expensive, so people don’t buy it if they think it’s an option,” he said.

However, general manager of fire safety services provider Chubb Singapore, James Ong, said fire alarm systems can be cost-effective if properly managed by developers through thorough construction assessment, proper product installation and regular maintenance.

“(There are) other costs to consider, including the cost of reputation and compensation in the event of an incident. The cost of lost lives is incalculable,” he added.

Although installing smoke alarms in homes raises fire safety standards, their effectiveness is limited, experts say.

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That’s especially because the equipment proposed for new-build homes from next June is a stand-alone device that doesn’t typically connect to the central system or emergency services — which will be more expensive, said Dan Chong, C2D engineering solutions director. Solutions.

This means that even if the alarm goes off in one unit, people in neighboring units may not be notified because the devices are not connected to each other, said Lili Pan, director of SG fire safety.

Another concern is that the device, so basic, could cause false alarms, Chong said. They can be caused by activities such as cooking, smoking, fogging or even burning incense.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

And because each device needs to be checked and batteries replaced regularly, it can also be difficult for seniors to maintain and repair their smoke alarms.

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Ms Pan said: “There are many challenges associated with maintaining a ceiling-mounted smoke alarm by the elderly or disabled – which generally involves manual battery changes and pressing the test button on the device.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for property developer Frasers Centrepoint argued that well-designed escape routes would be more useful than smoke detectors and fire extinguishers because they would require no maintenance.

Chong added that officials should properly examine the potential problems of the system before using the new equipment.

“From a safety point of view, these smoke alarms are a good idea. But they have to be sustainable – implementation is the key.”

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The question of whether Singapore’s oldest building is fire-safe under lights After a serious fire in a tower block in west London last June.

And the answer depends on who is asking. The management of some buildings built before 1974 – exempting them from current fire safety regulations – claims they are safe because they have been renovated over time. These older properties only need to be upgraded for fire safety if they undergo major renovations. Otherwise, they don’t have to follow the fire code, created in 1974 after the Robinsons store fire that year, which killed nine people.

The Straits Times examined 7 buildings before 1974, but could only enter 3: People’s Park, People’s Park Center and the Afro Asia Building. They have code-required features such as fire extinguishers, hose pipes and emergency lights.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

However, experts pointed out that its implementation may not be up-to-date due to factors such as cost and technical limitations.

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There may be other old buildings that have not yet undergone major renovations and need to be modernized in terms of fire safety. Chan Kok Way, founder of SD Architects & Associates, said they may have design problems such as inadequate fire placement – which prevents fires – and outdated automatic fire extinguishing systems.

Mr Chong Kee Sen, former president of the Singapore Institute of Engineers, noted that the old Housing Board buildings have been improved, such as the installation of dryers on each floor. This allows firefighters to connect their hoses to draw water. But some pre-1974 buildings may not have similar improvements.

In the near future, everyone may have to. Mr K. Shanmugam, Minister of Law and Home Affairs, told Parliament last month that the administration was considering changing the law to require pre-1974 buildings to undergo fire safety upgrades, despite modern renovations. He didn’t set the time.

At the People’s Park Center in Chinatown, completed around 1973, a building management spokeswoman said the building had been retrofitted with fire protection systems from “day one.” It has a full portfolio of features including liquid risers, fire service lifts, automatic sprinklers and a fire alarm system. It employs a fire safety contractor to ensure all features are in satisfactory condition and engineers carry out annual inspections and tests.

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The spokesman said: “As a mixed development consisting of residential flats, commercial space and offices, all of these fire and alarm systems are important and necessary.”

But she admitted that few of her seniors attend annual fire drills, which are designed to familiarize them with evacuation procedures. Fewer than a quarter of its more than 400 residents show up for the exercise each year, raising concerns that some could be left defenseless in a real emergency.

In the nearby public park, completed in 1973, A.P. Soo, 70, a longtime resident, had no idea that a fire in his building’s parking lot in 2010 had prompted the mass evacuation. She remained in her corner apartment on the 18th floor, only to learn of the incident later on the news. . Flame does not affect its level.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work

Madam Sue, who lives alone, said: “If there really is a fire, I don’t know if I will be able to get down to ground level.”

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There is no smoke without fire, which is why all new homes must install smoke alarms from June next year, The Straits Times understands.

This warning device, mandatory in some countries, helps prevent fire injuries, two-thirds of which occur in the home.

“Often, the deadliest fires are small fires that burn quietly and (cause) smoke while people are sleeping or in different rooms,” said James Ong, general manager of fire safety solutions provider Chubb Singapore.

Without early warning from an alarm, people could have overcome the smoke before the fire was discovered, he added.

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In the United States, smoke alarms sounded in 53 percent of fires reported to U.S. firefighters between 2009 and 2013, according to the Consumer Safety Commission. Death rates are twice as high in homes without smoke alarms.

But smoke alarms are not foolproof. After

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