- Fire Safety At Home
- Bedtime Checks
- Bioethanol Liquid Fuel
- Candles, Lights And Decorations
- Carbon Monoxide
- Cooking Safely
- Electrical Safety
- Escape Plans
- Independent Living
- Lithium Batteries
- Oxygen Therapy
- Smoke Alarms
- Outside The Home
- If You Have A Fire
- Community Fire Safety
- Business Fire Safety
- Product Notices and Recalls
You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got a smoke alarm. A smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you precious time to escape.
Getting a smoke alarm yourself
We recommend that you buy your smoke alarms from Bluewatch, or alternatively you can get them from most supermarkets and DIY shop.
How many smoke alarms should I fit?
The more alarms you have, the safer you’ll be. At minimum you should have one on each floor. However, if you have only one alarm and two floors, put it somewhere you’ll be able to hear it when you’re asleep. If you have a TV or other large electrical appliances (such as a computer) in any of the bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too.
What type of smoke alarms should I get?
There are two types of smoke alarm:
These are the cheapest and most readily available and are very sensitive to flaming fires (ones that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires). Ionisation alarms will detect flaming fires before the smoke gets too thick.
These are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture or overheated wiring). Optical alarms are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.
For the best protection, you should install one of each. However, if you can’t have both, it’s still safer to have either one, rather than none at all. Whichever model you choose, you should make sure that it meets British Standard 5446, Part 1 (BS 5446-1) and ideally also carries the British Standard Kitemark.
Installing a smoke alarm only takes a few minutes – just follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with it. The best place is on the ceiling, near or at the middle of the room or hall. The alarm should be at least 30cm (one foot) away from a wall or light.
Maintenance of a smoke alarm
To keep your smoke alarm in good working order, you should:
- test it once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds;
- change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm);
- replace the whole unit every ten years.