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November 15, 2010

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See hear – Certification for fire alarms

The BSI has launched a new Kitemark scheme for visual-alarm devices that are manufactured in accordance with EN 54-23:2010, which defines the requirements, test methods and performance of visual-alarm devices.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), duty-holders must ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate disabled people. This includes the use of visual alarm devices in certain circumstances to ensure that hearing-impaired people have an equal chance of being alerted to fire risk as other occupants of a building.

According to the BSI, this has led to a number of new products becoming available, such as audible, vibrating and visual alarms that operate in the event of a fire. Previously, visual alarms were only really used to back up the traditional audible alarm systems but now, in buildings where there are hearing-impaired occupants, a visual alarm may also be necessary.

The new scheme adds to the BSI’s Kitemark fire portfolio for detection, fighting and suppression-product certification and, says the Institution, completes its “one-stop shop” for alarm manufacturers seeking testing and certification.

Now that Kitemark certification can be applied to these products, it says, manufacturers can prove that their products meet the requirements of the new standard, specifiers and procurement teams can rely on the integrity of Kitemark to demonstrate quality and fitness-for-purpose of the products, and end users can feel their safety and well-being is assured.

The BSi also points out that its specialist facilities for testing visual-alarm devices at its Hemel Hempstead laboratories can also be used by manufacturers for pre-assessment or developing testing prior to full type approval. These facilities can also be hired by customers to undertake indicative testing for design development in the quest for products to meet requirements of new standards or regulations.

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