Smoke alarms offer vital protection as they provide an early warning of trouble, and will alert you to a fire even if you are asleep. They should be tested regularly, but it is also essential that you and all other members of your household understand how to react should the alarm sound.
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Where to put your smoke alarm
The Fire Service recommend that you install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. In addition, it is wise to install extra alarms in rooms containing large appliances, such as TVs or freezers. Fit smoke alarms where you can hear them if you are asleep – on an upstairs landing close to the bedrooms, or in the hallway between living and sleeping areas if your living space is on one floor. Don’t install smoke alarms in the bathroom as steam may set these off accidentally.
Fit your smoke alarm to the ceiling, as close to the centre of the room or hallway as possible. Try to keep at least 30cm away from the wall or any light fittings.
Smoke alarms should not be installed in kitchens or garages where they can be set off accidentally by steam or exhaust fumes. Instead, install a heat detector – not intended to replace smoke alarms elsewhere in the home, but designed to notify of a fire in this room. This will allow extra time to evacuate the building or to put out the fire if possible.
A smoke alarm could save your life – test it, change it, replace it
- Fit a smoke detector on every floor of your home, ideally on the ceiling of a hallway or landing
- Don’t put a smoke detector in the kitchen where it can be set off accidentally
- Test the batteries once a week (by pressing the test button) and change them once a year. Some detectors have long life batteries and automatic testing facilities but it is better to be safe than sorry
Low frequency, vibrating and visible alarms
There are a wide range of specialist products to help make sure all members of your household are aware of any potential dangers. Low frequency alarms produce a lower tone than regular smoke alarms, meaning they are much more likely to wake younger children, those with hearing difficulties and older people. Strobe alarms flash repeatedly to alert the household to the alarm, whilst vibrating pads can be placed under a hand or pillow whilst sleeping to provide an additional warning. Use these in conjunction with regular smoke alarms to be sure that everyone in the home is aware of a fire.