Smoke alarms are the only efficient way of alerting people to a fire in their home
A smoke alarm could save your life! Its an early warning system which warns you almost as soon as a fire starts, giving you time to alert everybody in your household and time to escape.
The risk of having a fire may not be great especially if you are in the habit of taking sensible precautions, but the risk is greater if you or your family:
- Smoke cigarettes, cigars or a pipe
- Cook food in oil at high temperature, for example, chips
- Have electrical appliances
- Use candles
Getting a smoke alarm
- You can buy smoke alarms from DIY stores, hardware and electrical shops
- Also supermarkets, mail order and convenience shops
- If you have access to the internet you can buy them online
Smoke alarm pricing
- A basic battery operated alarm costs from as little as £3.99, however the more features incorporated into the alarm, the more it is likely to cost
Types of smoke alarm
- There are several different types available to suit your needs that have varying features, which might include a 'hush button' or an emergency light
- Battery models are available in standard (1-5 year life) or sealed long-life versions (up to 10 years)
- Others are linked directly to the mains electricity and backed up by a rechargeable battery.
- There are also types that plug into a light fitting with a battery back up
- For the deaf or hard of hearing there are units available with a strobe type light and vibrating pads for under the pillow at night
- An ionisation type alarm is good for detecting free-burning, 'flaming' fires (for example chip-pan fires)
- An optical type alarm is good for detecting slow burning or 'smouldering' fires (for example, foam-filled furniture)
- The 'Hush Button' facility allows you to silence the alarm if it has activated when there is not a fire, for example from cooking fumes or cigarette smoke. Once activated the alarm will silence and rearm itself after a few minutes. The hush system is overridden if there is a real fire.
- Some types can be inter-linked together so that they will all operate if a single unit is activated
Where should they be fitted?
- Smoke alarms come complete with fitting and maintenance instructions
- They will also include a guide on the best locations
- Fit at least one alarm but usually one per floor level
- Secure directly onto the ceiling at the high points keeping at least 30cm from any light fittings
- Do not fit smoke alarms in kitchens or bathrooms
- Never disconnect if the alarm is causing a nuisance. It is probably the wrong type or in the wrong place.
- If it is difficult to fit the alarm yourself, ask a family member or neighbour to help you out
- Never put it off. A smoke alarm can only protect you if it is installed and working.