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john stones
john stones
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john stones
COGDEM are a trade body representing and financed by CO alarm and other related manufacturers. Their main objective is to "protect the commercial interests of their members" by representation in Standards bodies, trade associations and government. Since 2000 there have been numerous independent reports which have found an average of 45% of installed CO alarms in the USA and UK are no longer sensing gas. Hackney Homes had 26% of 23,000 Kitemarked CO alarms not sensing gas after just 2 years into a 7 year warranty. This year West Sussex Trading Standards found 80% of new CO alarms bought from high street retailers and sheds were not working to BS EN 50291. Some were Kitemarked models from CoGDEM members who have been under criminal investigation. A major U.K. Housing Association have recently tested their installed CO alarms (manufactured by a CoGDEM member and Kitemarked ) to find 53% not sensing gas. All within warrantee. Information acquired via the Freedom Of Information Act found that the HSE report on CO alarm reliability refered to was incorrect. HSE Laboratories and BSI are members of CoGDEM. The HSE responded that the figure quoted of 1% was due to a typographical error but have never amended the report which continues to be sited by CoGDEM who never mention the other reports. We were told that the alarms submitted were subjected to pre selection so the actual failure figure was probably higher still. Too many vested interests at play here. In the USA the Standard (NFPA720) for CO alarms requires all alarms to be sensor inclusively tested on installation and at least annually thereafter. This is not reflected in BS EN standards. The test button only tests the electronic circuit, NOT the sensors ability to sense gas. Why ? CoGDEM represent the CO alarm manufacturers on the BS EN Standards commiteees and block any move to sensor test CO alarms. Most CO alarms now carry a 10 year warrantee but most Sensors, the critical component in all CO alarms only have a 2 year warrantee. Most sensor manufacturers advise that due to the nature of CO sensors they could fail at any time and for any reason and that they should be tested with gas before use if used as a life saving device. CO alarm manufacturers give up to 10 Year warranties on products mass produced mostly in China for a few pounds. Why ? To give the impression of low cost of ownership to unwitting Social Landlords, utility companies and consumers. 33 million CO alarms sold since 1996. Half are most likely no longer sensing gas. Just last month a CoGDEM member was forced to recall 5 million CO alarms due to sensor problems. A few years ago the same company were forced to recall 1 million CO alarms due to...sensor failure. The issues around CO alarm failures are well known,well documented and easily found on any Search Engine yet CoGDEM blindly support their members commercial interests whilst portraying themselves as "industry experts". Trade bodies financed by manufacturers look after their members interests. This is generally fine but not when life saving devices are being sold under false pretences putting lives at risk. Social Landlords have been installing CO alarms in volume since 1996. Most are now waking up to the problems, risks and liabilities with law firms lining up to sue landlords who have been mislead by an industry obsessed with profits rather than the safety of the public. Sensor manufacturers warn against storing sensors in low temperatures. This was highlighted by the National Caravan Council this year and probably accounts for the high number of non sensing CO alarms found in Caravans after being winterised. CO alarms do save lives but only when they are sensing gas. After nearly 20 years of denial by CoGDEM the cat is out of the bag and to retain some credibility CoGDEM need to re consider their stance and legal position or face the consequences.

From: john stones 20 December 2016 11:58 AM

john stones
Kenny, you are right but the Law was rushed through. The issue of sensor inclusive testing was much discussed in the debate in the House of Lords on September 6th. You can see this in Hansard. I was asked to write a brief on the subject for the debate by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and she put forward a good case. A period of grace was requested by Lord Marlseford to allow landlords to meet their obligations but this was declined on the basis that landlords will have 28 days to comply if found in breach. We are being asked to supply Detectagas to various councils to enable them to sensor inclusively test. Councils have been told to pay for this work by self financing i.e. fines. On top of all that Trading Standards announced last Monday that 80% of the alarms they tested were not working. Had alarms been sensor inclusively tested in the first place the industry would not be in such a pickle. The government has been mislead by the industry who have infiltrated committees as technical experts to further their commercial interests. David, Smoke alarms have a different technology and can last over ten years although the recommendation is to then replace. CO alarms have a sensor which ages due to exposure to ambient CO, heat and moisture. They have a filter which can become blocked with cigarette tar, cooking fumes and other airborne particulates. Of course, the outer case can become blocked too. I am afraid that the only way to ensure that your CO alarm is fully working is to sensor inclusively test. I invented Detectagas for this purpose 15 years ago after I sat on the first British Standard committee. At least you can return it for a replacement if it's in warrantee.

From: john stones 30 September 2015 15:15 PM

john stones
Although the law commences October 1st if a landlord is found in breach they will have 28 days to put things right. Environmental Health seem behind the curve too so I would not expect 1000's of EH offices knocking on doors October 2nd. It has been suggested to the LGA's by government that they finance the extra work through fine revenue so beware, they have to do the work and they have to cover the cost. Some LGA's are buying our product Detectagas which sensor inclusively tests CO alarms and proves that they are working i.e. sensing CO. The test button does not fully test the sensor only the battery, buzzer and electronics and the sensor has a limited and indeterminable life. One independent test showed that 16% of CO alarms do not work out of the box. The alarms must be seen to be working at the beginning of each tenancy. This applies to Holiday Parks who can experience a change over every week. The law does not apply to residential park homes, nor student halls or properties primarily let to students. Nor doe s it apply to gas only solid fuel. This despite 35% of all deaths recorded by coroners being due to mains gas. Interestingly, the largest park operator in the UK with 23,000 caravans considers LPG as a solid fuel fit 2 x CO alarms in each caravan and sensor inclusively test with Detectagas as part of their gas safety policy. They have been ahead of the game by two years. Hackney Homes fitted 23,000 Kitemarked CO alarms with a seven year warrantee in their properties but found after two years 26.9% were no longer working. See The Journal of Environmental and Public Health report on CO alarms. The alarm in question was a brand leader. It is vital to test CO alarms properly, they will not go off like a smoke alarm when you burn the toast. If your alarms are not WORKING you will be liable.

From: john stones 17 September 2015 16:15 PM

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