Do you have enough smoke alarms?

Fri 1 Mar, 2019


Smoke alarms with cheerful faces


Firefighters are encouraging people who have fitted their own smoke alarms to think about whether they have put them in the right places - and whether they need more of them.

Government figures show that although 95 per cent of homes in England have at least one smoke alarm, they don’t always alert occupants to a fire. 

The most common reasons a smoke alarm fails to activate are because of a missing or flat battery, or because the fire is outside its range.

Joanne Cook, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: “Early detection and warning are a vital part of keeping people safe from fire.

"We’re asking people to think about where their smoke alarm is placed, and whether they need at least one more in their home to ensure they have the time to get out, stay out and call 999.

“You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings.  

“Placing smoke alarms near sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time, so whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every 10 years.”

Joanne is also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on less able relatives to check that their homes have enough smoke alarms in the right places too.

She offered these tips:

- Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. The ideal position is on the ceiling in the middle of a room, or in a hallway or landing.

- Consider fitting smoke alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances, and near sleeping areas.

- Don’t put smoke alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms, where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.

- If your smoke alarms have one-year batteries, make sure the batteries are changed every year. Only take a battery out when you need to replace it.

- Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years as the mechanism gradually deteriorates.

- Don’t forget to test your smoke alarms at least once a month.