‘The only way to properly test a CO alarm is to test it with a known source of calibrated test gas’

Published:  21 February, 2012

Mounting recognition for the CO safety test product campaigning for life-saving change: Detectagas shortlisted for two more awards

Late last year Gas Safe Europe celebrated after Detectagas was chosen as Installer Live’s ‘Safety Initiative of the Year: 2011’ and Landlord and Letting Magazine’s ‘Supplier of the Year 2011/12’.  In the wake of last year’s wins Detectagas is now the most acclaimed product in the category for the industry and its inventor John Stones is hoping for a good performance at the H&V News awards where Detectagas has now been shortlisted in two categories, ‘Domestic Product of the Year 2012’ and ‘Safety Initiative of the Year 2012’. 

The product is used to test the sensor element of CO alarms, and it has seen its manufacturer go from strength to strength, in step with a safety campaign that is attracting mounting support.

John Stones – who brought the product to market more than 15 years ago – celebrated this latest industry recognition as Detectagas moves into international markets for Gas Safe Europe. “Even though Detectagas has attracted numerous high profile award nominations and wins over the years it is particularly rewarding to be recognised here, especially for an awards scheme that attracted so many entries.

 “This sector is aware of the need to sensor-inclusively test CO alarms on installation and annually thereafter, and these efforts should be acknowledged.  But resistance to this kind of testing continues from some CO alarm manufacturers and major gas utility companies - some of whom have sold millions of CO alarms - and the government and standards legislators in the UK and Europe.

 “At the same time our industry is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers presented by inadequate testing of the CO alarms people rely on to guarantee their safety.  Testing these alarms’ sensors regularly is critical if we are to protect ourselves, and the reason we continue to strike a chord with award initiatives celebrating excellence is that Detectagas makes it quick, cost effective and simple.

 “We stopped selling CO alarms in 1996 when we became aware of the problem that the ‘test button’ only tests the circuitry, buzzer and battery, not the sensor. I developed Detectagas to enable our customers to test their alarms and patented the idea. Our work since has been to increase awareness against opposition from the remaining CO alarm manufacturers who seem reluctant to have their alarms tested within warrantee.  Our product is even used by BSI to check the continuing performance of CO alarms.

 “We persuaded the authorities in the USA to recognise the need for sensor inclusive testing and it become a regulation on Jan 1st 2012.  We are looking forward to the UK catching up, in the meantime we estimate around 10 million CO alarms in the UK may appear to be working when the so called ‘test button’ is pressed but may not in fact be sensing gas.”

  • Operation Florian

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