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Smoke alarms

Did you know that you are twice as likely to die in a fire if you don't have working smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms are there for the safety of yourself and your loved ones, and by making sure that you have them fitted and working, you are giving yourself more time to escape should there be a fire in your home.

Top smoke alarm safety tips:

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month
  • Make sure that there is a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Never ignore a beeping smoke alarm.

How to take care of your smoke alarms:

You want your smoke alarms to take good care of you in the event of a fire, right? Well, the arrangement works both ways. Smoke alarm maintenance is key, and you should never ignore a beeping smoke alarm. If you find yourself in a situation where your alarm is beeping intermittently, so not in a continuous and steady way, this may mean that your alarm needs a new lease of life. It's best to check what kind of smoke alarms you have installed in your home because while some may simply require just a change of battery if you have a 10-year alarm, you will need to replace the whole alarm every 10 years.

It is also just as important to take note of where you place smoke alarms. We would always advise that there should be a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, and hallways between living and sleeping areas are a good place to fit these.

Where can I buy smoke alarms and which ones should I buy?

You can buy smoke alarms from any reputable DIY store, and if you have referred yourself or a family member for a Safe and Well Visit, firefighters will fit smoke alarms in your property as part of the visit. You can find out how to refer on our Safe and Well page.

As a service, we recommend that you fit 10 year sealed battery smoke alarms, and you should always make sure that the smoke alarms you buy have the British Kitemark BSEN14604 : 2005 on them.

I live in rented accommodation, what should I do about smoke alarms?

As a tenant, your landlord is responsible for making sure that there are smoke alarms fitted on every level of the property you are renting, and they are also responsible for offering protection against carbon monoxide.

It is, however, your responsibility as a tenant to check that smoke alarms are in working order and notify your landlord of any faults or queries.

Overall, your landlord has a responsibility by law for the following:

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on each level of the property.
  • Make sure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid fuel appliance.
  • Check that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order at the start of each tenancy. Landlords can be fined £5,000 if they don't comply with this.

Where should I fit my smoke alarms, and how do I do this?

As a minimum, we recommend that you have one smoke alarm on each level of your home. They are best placed in hallways and landing areas instead of in kitchens and bathrooms. Instead, we recommend to fit a heat alarm in your kitchen.

Ideally, place smoke alarms as close as possible to the middle of the room, hallway, or landing, and make sure that they are at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from walls and light fittings.

Simply screw smoke alarms into the ceiling, always following the manufacturer's instructions.