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  #41  
Old 14.11.2007, 23:03
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

Realising my building also seems to lack fire/smoke alarms...and like AbFab, I need keys to exit the main door in the night....hm....

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Throughout western europe smoke alarms in appartments will be a very very rare occurence, and if I am not mistaken, not legally prescribed.
In Sweden it is legally mandatory since a few years to have a smoke alarm in apartment houses - but it was widely used before that also.
Something I was kind of glad for any way - used to live next door to an old man who fell a sleep and forgot what was on the stove.... a few times...
His smoke alarm was heard through music, tv, telephone conversations in all 6 floors of the apartment building - but he continued sleeping, and was quite irritated that the fire fighters broke in to his apartment when it was completely filled with smoke - he thought the neighbours should mind their own business....
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  #42  
Old 15.11.2007, 07:58
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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and smash it to pieces.
This way, if the smoke don't kill you, the radiation leaking from the smashed detector will!!!
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  #43  
Old 15.11.2007, 19:30
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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You can also get carbon monoxide alarms. Not sure how many people die of this poisoning in CH each year but in my home country it happens way too often...
The same in the UK, although I believe a mixture of regulation and education has helped in recent years.

I have a gas fire in my present place and noticed that when I switched it on a few weeks ago I felt lousy the next day. I asked the landlord to get someone in to inspect it, and it was condemned. The result was that all three apartments in the building got new gas fires.
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  #44  
Old 17.11.2007, 12:24
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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Apart from metrosexuals with low IQs.
I know. I totally empathise with your neighbors.
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  #45  
Old 19.11.2007, 16:43
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

I wasn't in the mood to answer to this thread last week but I can't leave the remark that there's a short sighted victim mentality in Switzerland unopposed.

Every building in canton Zurich is insured by law against fire and earthquake damage and the situation probably doesn't differ in any other canton. With this protection comes the obligation to follow the fire protection rules of the insurers. The 19 insurances make these rules on the intercantonal level.

Each insurance has inspectors who control if the buildings comply with the regulations (which at least in AbFab's case is doubtful). As far as public buildings in canton Zurich are concerned, the inspectors have the reputation of working carefully (or even nit-picking). They have to check everything from the presence of adequate extinguishing devices to obstacle-free evacuation routes and compliance with the specified number of persons allowed in a room (which for example was also communicated to Uncle Max when he rented the accommodation for the EF Christmas party).

The rules are arguable but as a matter of fact do exist. Also there aren't many fire ladders but there are stricter rules for staircases in large buildings.

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You can also get carbon monoxide alarms. Not sure how many people die of this poisoning in CH each year but in my home country it happens way too often...
Carbon monoxide alarms are useful in garages and maybe in the industry, but in other situations smoke alarms probably are the better choice.
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  #46  
Old 19.01.2010, 07:55
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

I have read through all the replies and I don't know where you can buy a smoke detector --- and advice on where I can find a few in Zurich?

Thanks!
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  #47  
Old 19.01.2010, 08:11
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

Any DIY shop, Bau Haus, Jumbo, Bau & Hobby
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  #48  
Old 19.01.2010, 08:13
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

I thought that most apartments don't need fire alarms because they are built from reinforced concrete. Yes? No?

But, my house in the US has at least 7 smoke alarms. Yes I really do have that many rooms and other air spaces.
Seems like every month or so I hear the beep, beep of batteries needing to be replaced.
Brian.
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  #49  
Old 19.01.2010, 08:47
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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I thought that most apartments don't need fire alarms because they are built from reinforced concrete. Yes? No?

But, my house in the US has at least 7 smoke alarms.
Brian.
No, the paint and coatings on the walls, plus the other combustables in the areas can all burn.
Smoke alarms are not an obligation by electrical codes here, but fire extinguishers for family dwellings certainly are for more than 2 families. If you do not have one, get one (or tell the landlord) and know how to use it. keep it no more than 1-1.5m off the floor and by an access point not hidden in cupboards.

smoke alarms are a cheap early warning to save lives. Research where to install them and never closer than 50 cms from any corner on the ceiling
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  #50  
Old 19.01.2010, 08:58
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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No, the paint and coatings on the walls, plus the other combustables in the areas can all burn.
Smoke alarms are not an obligation by electrical codes here, but fire extinguishers for family dwellings certainly are for more than 2 families. If you do not have one, get one (or tell the landlord) and know how to use it. keep it no more than 1-1.5m off the floor and by an access point not hidden in cupboards.

smoke alarms are a cheap early warning to save lives. Research where to install them and never closer than 50 cms from any corner on the ceiling
Sorry, I know about the combustibles stuff. I was asking for the legal justification as to why it is not required in this country.

I know it is the Fire code in Canada and the USA and the Fire Prevention Act in the UK rather than the electrical code. Ironically enough the electrical code in the US and Canada are promulgated by the National Fire Protection Agency. I just don't know how things stand in Switzerland.

Oh, and nice image. That is what my house looks like. Finished attic and all.
Thanks,
Brian.

Last edited by the_clangers; 19.01.2010 at 09:24. Reason: avoid double post
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  #51  
Old 19.01.2010, 09:32
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

In NEW constructions, there is a system in place, but it depends on canton and what type fo building it is constructed from. Various percentages of combustables require different rules. Have a look around in various public places, can you locate the sprinkler systems???

A bit hit and miss, but certainly not managed by the Federal laws...
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  #52  
Old 19.01.2010, 10:44
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

In the area in Michigan, USA, where I live a few months per year, the regional newspapers are full of homes having burned down every week, and that in an area that's not much more than an average Swiss canton inhabitant-wise.

Compared to that, there seem to be way fewer fires here in Switzerland. Reading the papers, I once said to my American Better Half, "Despite all smoke alarms, it looks like most Americans have nothing better to do than permanently trying to burn down their homes."

Of course that's a bit of an overstatement, but when my ABH is here in Switzerland, it's me who has to make sure she doesn't forget to turn the stove off, that the fireplace damper isn't shut too early, etc..

It really looks a bit like smoke alarms (USA) vs. brains (Swiss). I'm not saying Americans have no brains, mind you, but the safety-overmindedness dictated by authorities, courts, insurance companies etc.(warning against every possible risk using stickers all over the place etc.) somehow teaches them not to use them. It reminds me of "Don't use the iron on clothes that you are wearing" or "Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear."

Back in 2007, Nathu mentioned Swiss fire insurances. They are the ones who have to cough up a lot of money in case of a fire. So prevention is their main means to make profit. I bet the Swiss fire insurance guys have looked at other countries too. They are Swiss, and it's their money, after all. They are not stupid. The simple fact they do not require you to install smoke alarms, let alone integrated fire alarm systems, tells me that those things are not very effective.

Apart from that, I had many sleepless nights in the USA because of smoke alarms beeping in the most impossible and least accessible corners of the house because of low batteries -- even those that are connected to the mains grid but still have a battery to bridge a power black-out. I must admit I smashed quite a few of them. The noise they make is absolutely ear-drum-piercing.
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  #53  
Old 19.01.2010, 13:10
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

Radon gas, used in fire alarms, is one of the leading causes of cancer.
http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html

I guess people think the cost of fire alarms is greater than their benefit.

It would probably cost insurance companies more money to pay for people's cancer treatment.

Last edited by canucktraveller; 19.01.2010 at 13:11. Reason: to add a thought
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  #54  
Old 19.01.2010, 13:29
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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. I must admit I smashed quite a few of them.


hopefully "smashed" means taken down and disposed of properly...

Any signs of cancer?
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  #55  
Old 19.01.2010, 14:00
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

I don't know where that radon myth comes from. Certain smoke detectors use a very weak alpha radiation source like a tiny little bit of (formerly) radium or (these days) americium. Maybe someone mistook radium for radon.

I've never seen any kind of warning against smashing on any kind of smoke alarms I truly smashed. I normmaly aren't that kind of guy, but when you get woken up at 3:30 a.m. by that sound that makes your eardrums meet in the middle of your skull, and you realize you need a special tool to access the battery compartment, you rather use a paring knife to butcher the case and disconnect the wires that lead to the beeper. I know their anatomy.
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  #56  
Old 19.01.2010, 14:04
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

As long as the building commission or insurance companies do not make it mandatory to have fire alarms, it will be up to the landlords.

Those bomb shelters used to be mandatory up to about 10 years ago.

We have a fire alarm and have put a fire alarm in the flat we rent out. Unfortunately, not many landlords think about those kinds of things.
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  #57  
Old 19.01.2010, 14:13
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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. I know their anatomy.
Are you certain? most have very clear warnings of their radioactive content. There are newer high quality ones that don't, but still have contaminants that are harmful to humans and the environment. These should be recycled by the fire department or other waste management companies.
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  #58  
Old 19.01.2010, 14:35
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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Radon gas, used in fire alarms, is one of the leading causes of cancer.
http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html

I guess people think the cost of fire alarms is greater than their benefit.

It would probably cost insurance companies more money to pay for people's cancer treatment.
I don't think radon gas is used in fire alarms. I thought it was Americium.
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  #59  
Old 19.01.2010, 15:00
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

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I don't know where that radon myth comes from. Certain smoke detectors use a very weak alpha radiation source like a tiny little bit of (formerly) radium or (these days) americium. Maybe someone mistook radium for radon.
Checkout the decay path of radium and you'll see. Radium is an alpha emitter and decays to radium so any detectors using it will emit tiny quantities of radon.

Your level of natural exposure is much higher. Hundreds of times higher if you happen to live in a granite rich area (Aberdeen comes to mind if there's any Scots out there).
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Old 19.01.2010, 15:10
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Re: No fire alarms? Alarming!

According to wikipedia: "In the late 1930s the Swiss physicist Walter Jaeger tried to invent a sensor for poison gas. He expected that gas entering the sensor would bind to ionized air molecules and thereby alter an electric current in a circuit in the instrument. His device failed: small concentrations of gas had no effect on the sensor's conductivity. Frustrated, Jaeger lit a cigarette—and was soon surprised to notice that a meter on the instrument had registered a drop in current. Smoke particles had apparently done what poison gas could not. Jaeger's experiment was one of the advances that paved the way for the modern smoke detector."


It seems I was wrong about fire alarms and radon gas. It is Americium which is even worse than Radon. According to wikipedia: "Americium emits alpha and gamma radiation. The alpha decay of 241Am is 3.5 times as active as that of radium. It is associated with 5.48 MeV alpha particles and 59 keV gamma emission, which is a serious health hazard.[4]"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americium
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