BSI response to Which? article on smoke alarms

24 August 2017

BS EN 14604 is a well-established and respected standard that has been utilized by government, regulators and the industry alike for a number of years to define best practice for smoke alarm devices.

The standard covers the main two types of smoke alarm, optical and ionisation, and clearly recognizes that they will behave differently depending upon the type of fire scenario they are being tested to.  This latest research by Which? attempted to compare these two different types of alarm side by side across 4 differing test scenarios.  The Which? article itself very clearly explains the difference in performance between the two types of alarm, and suggests where each might be best used in the home.

The test fires set out in the standard are designed to ensure that whichever technology is used, or the type of fire encountered, the smoke alarm provides adequate warning in the event of a real fire.  The tests conducted are designed to measure the smoke alarms response to the very early stages of a developing fire. This is to ensure the smoke alarm provides adequate warning in the event of a real fire.  

BSI provided these facts to Which? in response to an enquiry last month. The standard is currently under review, as part of a normal review process, and therefore we have offered Which? the opportunity to present their latest findings to our expert committee to see if anything might need to be done, and suggested that they might also wish to consider joining the committee that compromises a range of experts and public interest groups. BSI looks forward to hearing from Which?. 

BSI has not KitemarkTM certified all of these products and BSI did not certify the Devolo alarm that Which? claimed failed two of the four tests.  Others may have been tested and certified by different independent third parties to check it meets the requirements of the standard.