Thursday, October 1, 2015

Detecting Fire and CO

We learned about fire detection at an Annapolis Sail & Power Squadron meeting this year, presented by John McDevitt. John has worked in the past with fire departments and participates in NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) and ABYC standards writing. He said that most standards are written for fire suppression, which means that a fire exists and you're trying to put it out. That's likely to be a losing proposition on a fiberglass boat. His view was the fire detection was more useful.

FirstAlert Onelink Smoke & CO Alarms
He recommended wireless smoke detectors to provide early alert to a developing fire situation and showed us the Onelink Wireless smoke detectors in operation. These detectors communicate with one another wirelessly and when any one of them alarms, they all alarm. The feature that he likes is that you can program the alarm to verbally announce the location of the alarming device. These devices are built for home use, with verbal announcements like "Livingroom", "Child's Bedroom", or "Basement".

We just installed a genset on LUX and are also concerned about Carbon Monoxide. While the genset is diesel powered and has a lower threat of CO, it doesn't eliminate the threat. So we started looking for detectors and found these: "Onelink Wireless Talking Battery Operated Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm SCO501B2 - 2pk", available from Amazon. They are around $100 for a pair.

We had eight places to put them: Four cabins, two engine rooms salon, and forward locker with the genset. The cabins are small, so we felt that mounting them on the ceiling was acceptable and would still alert us in a CO situation even though CO is heavier than clean air. We mounted them to the inboard wall in the engine compartments. Each alarm is programmed with a different verbal location.

Cabin Mount Location
Engine Room Location
We then made up a laminated "cheat sheet" for each cabin and for the salon, showing what location corresponds with each alarm's verbal announcement.

Alarm Verbal Announcement Cheat Sheet
We feel that the addition of smoke and CO alarms on board will make us safer.


Neville said...

The installation of those smoke and CO2 alarms will make it a lot safer for sure. The wireless option is the way to go as it avoids all those nasty wires that need to be placed everywhere. I will be considering using that Onelink model very soon in my own home. Thanks for the idea, great post keep it up.

Neville @ Electrical Experts

Terry said...

The battery terminals should be coated with dielectric grease to help prevent corrosion. We had one corrode, which resulted in a low battery alarm.