Suppliers of Whole House Ventilation and Energy Saving Ventilation
Electrical Design Engineer (University of Birmingham)
In common with other Universities, students accommodation at the University of Birmingham has a significant incidence of fire alarm activations due to cooking fumes in single bedsitting type rooms with integral cooking facilities.
Following a refurbishment of two multi-occupancy accommodation units, Ventmiser automatic controls were fitted to the cooker extract hoods and the local kitchen socket outlets.
In twelve months of operation since the Ventmiser systems were fitted, the incidence of false alarms has been reduced to zero – not one false alarm. The Ventmiser system will be specified as standard equipment for all future new build or refurbishment projects of this nature.
Fire Safety Officer (Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service)
Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service are very active in reducing the burden on society of false alarms from automatic fire alarms systems. Indeed we have enjoyed considerable success in driving these down and the Fire Service, the public and the alarm owners themselves have all benefited as a result.
To manage the problem we study the cause of every false alarm we are called to and try to assist the owner of the alarm system to prevent reoccurrence. One of the main problems we have found is fumes from burnt food (mainly burnt toast) setting off smoke detectors in close proximity.
There are of course various options available to overcome this problem including changing the detector to CO or heat where appropriate (following a robust risk assessment and taking technical advice), or preventing the problem at source perhaps by relocation of the toaster/cooker. This may not always be possible, practicable or desirable and a suitable form of extraction system may be the answer.
It is not our policy to endorse any particular product but I am aware that one product ‘cooker miser’ has been used with good effect in many venues to overcome this problem.
I understand that this has the advantage of operating automatically and therefore does not rely on human intervention.
There may be other such products on the market and it would be inappropriate for me to favour any particular make, however, I would encourage anyone who might influence control over false alarms in premises they have responsibility for to take all measures possible. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has developed a guidance document which explains the magnitude of the problem and offers practical advice on minimising false alarms. This is available for free download on the ODPM website.
Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service
Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service
Whilst it is the general policy of Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service never to officially endorse specific products, it is well known that one of the main causes of unwanted fire alarms is due to cooking fumes, and a remedy to reduce the waste in the use of resources in attending false alarm calls is to be welcomed.
Nottinghamshire has 2 universities, and back in 1999, the number of unwanted fire alarm calls originating from the kitchens in the student Halls of Residence from one university in particular was very high and unacceptable, due to the kitchen doors inevitably wedged open. The introduction of a number of measures by the University management to reduce unwanted calls included the use of the "Cookermiser", designed to automatically switch on the kitchen extractor fan when cooking appliances are used, and a dramatic reduction overall resulted.
I have been developing a "Toolbox of Best Practice and Approaches in Reducing Unwanted Fire Signals" since 1998, which includes reference to the experience of positive results gained from the use of "Cookermiser" in university students' kitchens in reducing false alarms.
The "Toolbox" is intended to be an ongoing vehicle of reference information, and has already been distributed to other Fire and Rescue Services in the East Midlands Region. Plans are being made to enable the "Toolbox" to be more widely accessible throughout the UK fire service.