Smoke & Heat Alarms
Smoke alarms save lives and with most fires at home start accidentally it is important you are warned as early as possible providing valuable time to escape.
What are smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms are self-contained devices that detect smoke from a fire giving a warning alarm usually in the form of a very loud beeping sound.
They are small devices about the size of a hand and normally fitted to your ceiling
As a minimum a smoke alarm should be fitted to each level, the landing & hallway etc but do not stop there, fit them in rooms that have electrical equipment where a fire can start such as bedrooms and living rooms
Smoke alarms are not suitable for kitchens due to cooking and steam, but heat alarms are.
Fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen will give you warning of an increase in temperature caused by a fire but will not be set off by cooking fumes.
Some battery and mains alarms can be interlinked, so that when one alarm detects a fire they all go off together, giving you warning wherever you are in your home which is especially relevant to those that may take longer to escape they are alerted to a fire as soon as possible.
If you choose to have a mains-powered alarm it should only be installed by a qualified electrician.
Types of smoke alarms?
Ionisation are the cheapest and cost very little to purchase and are very sensitive to small particles of smoke produced by fast flaming fires, such as paper and wood, and will detect this type of fire before the smoke gets too thick. They are less sensitive to slow burning and smouldering fires which give off larger quantities of smoke before flaming occurs and can also be over sensitive in areas closes to kitchens.
Optical are more expensive but more effective at detecting larger particles of smoke produced by slow-burning fires, such as smouldering foam-filled upholstery and overheated PVC wiring. Optical alarms are the best choice to be installed near kitchens as they are less likely than ionisation alarms to go off when toast is burned but should not be used inside the kitchen itself.
Heat alarms detect the increase in temperature from a fire and are insensitive to smoke. They can therefore be installed in kitchens. They only cover a relatively small area of a room, so potentially several heat alarms need to be installed in a large kitchen.
Combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are alarms that combine both smoke detection and CO alarm protection in one ceiling-mounted unit which in turn reduces the cost and number of units you have to install.
Where should I fit them?
Smoke alarms are normally screwed into the ceilings but if you do not want to drill into your ceiling special sticky pads can be used that are strong enough to secure the alarm in place.
The smoke alarms and should be fitted as close to the centre of the room as possible, but at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from any wall or light fitting. You should always make sure that your alarm is fitted in a place where it can be heard throughout your home – particularly when you are asleep.
Ideally there should be a minimum of 1 smoke alarm per level in the landing and hallway.
If you have TV’s or other electrical equipment in your bedroom or other rooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too.
Tips for your smoke alarm
Fit a minimum of 1 smoke alarm per level in your home but also consider other areas.
Make sure any alarms you purchase carry the current British Standards or European (CE) safety mark, which shows they are approved and safe – all our alarms carry this.
Fit smoke alarms on a ceiling where possible.
Follow the instructions that come with the alarm when it comes to installation and operation.
Use screws to secure the alarm in place where possible.
Try and fit alarms away from kitchens and bathrooms where cooking & steam can accidentally set off the alarm.
Fit a heat alarm in the kitchen not smoke.
Test your smoke alarm every week
Choose smoke alarms with a 10 year or long-lasting sealed battery
If not a 10 year long lasting battery change the battery once a year.
After 10 years it’s best to get a whole new alarm